Forever and Always: 7 Ways to Preserve Your Wedding Bouquet

Bouquets have been an important part of wedding ceremonies for centuries. Ages ago, certain types of flowers and herbs were thought to hold mystical powers. People believed they kept evil spirits at bay and could protect the bride and her soon-to-be husband against misfortune. They were essentially good luck charms. Even today, different cultures feel that various types of flowers have a great deal of symbolism. Some, like roses, represent love while others may signify purity, faithfulness, and couples' new lives together.

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Though beliefs and conventions have changed over time, flowers still hold a certain amount of magic. They're beautiful, and they can help bring together the bride's ensemble with the color scheme of the wedding itself. Bouquets are still very much a part of the wedding tradition, and they're part of the memories of that special day as well. Because of that, quite a few brides want to make their bouquets last as long as possible. If you're among them, consider the following seven techniques for preserving your flowers.

1) Flower Pressing

One of the most common ways of preserving fresh flowers is by pressing them. People often simply cover fresh flowers with absorbent paper and place them between the pages of a book to press them. You can also place them under heavy objects, like cast iron skillets. Specially designed flower presses are also on the market.

Regardless of the pressing technique you use, it involves using weight to flatten the flowers while they dry. With all the moisture gone, they'll potentially last forever. You can then place them in pressed flower frames for display. Keep in mind that smaller, more delicate flowers work best for this strategy. Larger, more bulbous blooms take far longer to press. They can sometimes mildew or start to decay before they're fully pressed and dried.

2) Drying

Drying is another popular method of preserving flowers. While pressing flattens them, drying them retains their shape. This involves simply hanging your bouquet in a warm, dark, dry place and allowing it to dry on its own. You can hang up the whole bouquet, but it's best to take it apart and let the flowers dry individually. That allows air to circulate better, and it can keep mold, mildew, and other problems from working their way into your flowers.

When hanging flowers to dry, you'll need to run a line of string or wire. Then, poke safety pins or florist's wire through the flowers' stems to hang them upside down. This process could take several weeks, so be patient. As an alternative, if you have a dehydrator, and your flowers fit in it, you could use it to dry them more quickly.

3) Freeze-Drying

Freeze-drying your wedding bouquet is another option. This technique entails freezing the flowers and placing them in a vacuum chamber to remove all the moisture from them. That maintains the flowers' shape, color, and some of their texture. This needs to be done professionally. Some florists offer freeze-drying, but you'll need to find one that does and book this service in advance.

4) Silica Gel and Resin

You can also place your flowers in silica gel to make them last longer. As is the case with pressing, drying, and freeze-drying, this draws the moisture out of the flowers so they'll last. You'll need to fully cover them in silica gel in a sealed container for this to work. Silica gel won't keep your flowers in good condition for very long, though.

Once they're dried out, you can encase them in resin to actually preserve them. Trying to preserve your entire bouquet using this technique isn't very practical. It's best to separate the flowers and cut away their stems. From there, you can use resin and molds to create any number of items containing bits of your bridal bouquet. That includes coasters, jewelry, napkin rings, and plaques to name a few.

5) Glycerin

Yet another option is to use glycerin to preserve your bouquet. With this method, you'll need to combine one part glycerin with two parts warm water. Mix those two ingredients well, and place your flowers in the mixture. Again, this needs to be done individually rather than as a whole bouquet. Some experts recommend cutting off the stems as well because glycerin can cause them to become discolored.

As your flowers are soaking in this mixture, they'll absorb some of the glycerin. That pushes out their natural moisture and keeps them from withering or decaying. This process will also keep your flowers soft and flexible. Keep in mind that this doesn't preserve flowers indefinitely. It'll make them last for anywhere from six months to a year, though.

6) Wax Dipping

Dipping flowers in wax can also keep them beautiful for longer. All you have to do is melt wax in a container that's deep enough to dip your flowers into. Then, let it cool for a bit so it won't wilt your flowers when you dip them. With the wax still in liquid form, dip your flowers into it individually, pull them back out, and turn them to make sure they're thoroughly coated. Once they're coated, place them upright in a vase or other tall container. You can double-dip them for extra protection.

Wax will help your flowers keep their shape and color for a while. You can even display them in your home as long as you keep them in a cool place out of direct sunlight. They'll last for several weeks or even a few months when dipped in wax.

7) Synthetic Flowers

Using synthetic flowers instead of real ones is another possible way to go. Granted, some fake flowers just look cheap, so they could detract from your overall motif. These days, though, you might be surprised at how realistic some of the options on the market are. Latex flowers are among the most beautiful and true-to-life options. Some of the have an incredible amount of detail in them, including fine hairs on their stems, ridges in their leaves, and tiny veins in the flowers themselves. They even feel like real flowers.

If you have your heart set on walking down the aisle with a bouquet of real flowers in hand, you could have an identical arrangement of latex flowers made to keep after the fact. They won't fade or turn yellow the way cheap cloth synthetics do. They'll last for years, or even a lifetime, as long as you take care of them.

Making Your Wedding Bouquet Last Forever

Flowers are beautiful and symbolic, and they come in endless colors and varieties. That makes them a perfect complement to a bride's wedding ensemble. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long before they start to fade, wilt, and ultimately crumble. If you want to preserve your bridal bouquet, the options mentioned here will help you do just that. You don't have to watch helplessly as your bouquet loses its luster; you can keep it beautiful for years to come.

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