Here's How to Preserve Your Wedding Bouquet
Something that will always stand out in your wedding pictures and memories is your wedding flowers. According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, couples spent an average of $2,300 on wedding flowers in 2021. On top of the financial investment, flowers are an integral part of your wedding decor and wedding outfits, since they are an extension of your unique style. If you can't bear to throw away your wedding flowers, you may be wondering how to preserve your wedding bouquet. Luckily, there are numerous ways to DIY or enlist a professional wedding florist to help you with the task.
How to Prep for Your Wedding Bouquet Preservation
For the best results, we recommend you start prepping your wedding bouquet for the preservation process once you've finished using the flowers for photos. Here are some easy steps you (or a trusted friend) can take to prep your bouquet before and during the reception.
Request that your florist not spray preservatives on your bouquet since it causes browning when pressed.
Skip the bouquet toss (or use an artificial flower bouquet).
You'll be too busy enjoying your wedding to worry about prepping your bouquet during the reception, so kindly ask a loved one to disassemble the bouquet, remove any ribbons and pins holding the flowers together and to diagonally cut about half an inch from each stem. Then, place the flowers in cool, fresh water.
Keep your bouquet away from sunlight and refresh the water daily until you can preserve the flowers.
Wedding Bouquet Preservation Ideas
Once you've prepped your flowers, you can start trying one of these DIY options for how to preserve your wedding bouquet.
Press your flowers.
This wedding bouquet preservation method is one of the easiest because heavy objects do the majority of the work for you. Select flowers from your bouquet and arrange them however you desire on parchment paper, wax paper or clean coffee filters (avoid using paper towels since their texture can transfer onto your flowers when pressed). Take the arranged flowers and place them in the middle of the heaviest book in your home, like a dictionary, so the weight of the book presses the flowers completely flat. Put another sheet of paper or coffee filter on top of the flowers (this ensures no ink from the book gets onto the flowers). Once you close the book, put additional weights onto it, like a skillet or more books, to help the pressing process. Leave the flowers to dry for about two weeks and, if necessary, repeat these steps if they still aren't fully dry.
When your flowers are pressed to your liking, we suggest you display your preserved flowers in a frame to showcase your DIY skills and special memories.
Hang your wedding bouquet to air-dry.
The simplest way to preserve your wedding bouquet is by air-drying it. This is a good option if you want to keep your flowers' original shape intact (slight shrinkage will occur) and dry the whole bouquet instead of a few flowers.
Get rid of any browning parts of the flowers, along with torn petals and extra leaves. Then, tie a piece of string to each stem (hanging them individually keeps the flowers in the best shape). Hang your flowers upside down to dry in a dark and temperate area that is out of the way, like an infrequently used closet. Let your florals air-dry for at least two weeks or longer—this depends on the temperature of where the bouquet is drying. The color of your wedding bouquet will gradually fade, but it will still look nice in a vase or hanging on a wall in your home (tie any ribbons you've kept from your wedding to help decorate it).
Preserve your flowers with silica gel.
Despite its name, silica gel isn't a gel but porous sand that can be used to absorb moisture from flowers to preserve your bridal bouquet. Using silica sand is one of the best methods to keep your blooms true to form and color. Silica gel can be found at most craft stores, and depending on how much you buy, the cost ranges from $10 to $30.
Grab an airtight container and pour a small amount of silica gel as your base. Then, gently place your flowers faceup in the sand. Try not to overcrowd the container—this way, your flowers don't get damaged when it's time for you to take them out. Next, slowly pour silica gel over your flowers and allow the crystals to nestle into the petals. Fill the container until every flower is covered. Seal the lid to your container and let the flowers sit for one week. If the flowers are dry, dump excess sand and use a small paintbrush to gently brush off any sand left between the flower's petals. Finally, use floral preserving sealant or hairspray to protect your work from moisture.
We recommend you show off your beautiful wedding bouquet preservation in a shadowbox frame. (Psst: The best part about silica gel is that it's reusable. Just heat it up in the oven or microwave to reactivate it—now you can make infinite preserved creations.)
Encase your wedding flowers in resin.
Epoxy resin is another great way to keep your flowers in their original shape and color. You can get creative with this technique by encasing your flowers in different molds, like a sphere or heart shape, and you can even add glitter to your mold.
Here's how to preserve your wedding bouquet in resin: First, dry your flowers (use the silica gel method to accomplish this step). Pour a thin base layer of resin into your mold, then place your flowers faceup into the resin. Using gloves, slowly pour the resin into each flower, being mindful to get into every nook of the flower to avoid air bubbles (which can cause the flower to brown). If air bubbles form during the process, use a small toothpick to pop them, then fill them with resin. Continue pouring resin to the halfway point of the mold and take the time to arrange your flowers perfectly—you won't be able to change them once the resin dries. Once you're satisfied with your arrangement, fill the mold until the resin reaches the top and let it harden for about 24 hours before removing it from the mold. Your resin wedding bouquet keepsake can be used as a paperweight, jewelry holder or centerpiece for your coffee table.
Our tip: Since this method takes patience and finesse, we suggest you practice with non-wedding flowers first before using the flowers from your bouquet.
Dip your bouquet in wax.
Unfortunately, dipping your flowers in wax doesn't preserve them permanently like the other wedding bouquet preservation options. At most, your flowers will last six months, but they will be almost indistinguishable from how they looked on your wedding day since wax helps the flowers keep their exact shape and color.
Melt paraffin wax (or melt wax from unscented, uncolored candles) in a pot. Once the wax is liquified and smooth, pour the wax into a heat-resistant container that is tall enough to dip your flowers. Let the wax cool enough so it's warm (if you dip the flowers when the wax is too hot the flowers will wilt), then dip each flower into the container of wax. When you take the flower out of the wax, turn it slowly and let any excess wax fall back into the container. Dip your flower a second time to ensure longevity. You can hang your waxed flowers upside down to dry or place them upright in a vase so the flowers can dry with the petals open. Put your waxed flowers in any vessel you like, just like you would for fresh flowers.
Make a painting of your wedding bouquet.
The final DIY wedding flower preservation approach is painting your wedding bouquet. This is the perfect fun way to get in touch with your artistic side and have a permanent reminder of your gorgeous blooms. You and your partner can grab a canvas and create pieces that fit your individual styles using any medium, like charcoal, watercolor or acrylic. Find a lovely frame to match your artwork and showcase it in your home for your loved ones to see. If you love this idea but don't want to take on the task yourself, you can outsource the job to a professional wedding painter or other artists.
Where to Get Your Wedding Bouquet Preserved
If DIY-ing anything sends shivers up your spine, no need to worry. Here's how to preserve your wedding bouquet—no materials needed.
Ask your wedding florist if they offer ways to preserve your wedding bouquet. One unique but pricey option that some wedding florists provide is freeze-drying. Freeze-dried flowers look spectacularly close to how your flowers looked on your wedding day. This process takes about three months but it's worth the wait if you want your preserved bouquet to look as realistic as possible. If your florist doesn't offer flower preservation services, ask them if they have any recommendations of pros that do.
Framed Florals is a wedding bouquet preservation company that prides itself in memorializing your wedding bouquet in "a beautiful and modern way." They offer flower pressing and framing services for wedding bouquets for customers that love minimal and non-traditional styles. The company is based in Brooklyn, New York but allows you to ship your flowers from anywhere in the US.
Etsy has thousands of five-star rated sellers that'll satisfy your wedding bouquet preservation needs. Browse through a collection of resin flower preserved serving trays, pressed flower necklaces, custom watercolor wedding bouquet paintings and much more.