How to Preserve Your Wedding Flowers

Image by Thomas Beck Photo on FlickrYour wedding bouquet is one of the most special floral arrangements of your life. It is one that you will want to save forever. If photos just won’t be enough for you, why not preserve the whole bouquet? You can have it done for you easily.

Unless you are going straight home after your wedding ceremony, it’s probably best to let a professional handle the preservation of your wedding flowers for you. You’ll need to get your bouquet preservation underway while the flowers are at their peak of freshness, so if you’re going on a honeymoon, you won’t have time to do it yourself.

Preservation specialists are available throughout the country. Search online or ask your florist for the name of a reliable preservationist. Make sure you do this along with your other wedding planning before the wedding, as afterward is too late to start looking. Make arrangements to get your bouquet to the company right away. You can ask a bridesmaid to bring it over in a cooler the morning after the wedding or you can have it overnight shipped if it’s not local company. Either way, you want to pack your bouquet in a cooler that has ice packs in it. Place a layer of plastic over the ice packs and then place the bouquet, wrapped loosely in tissue, on top of it.

Once your bouquet arrives at the preservationist’s shop, there are three ways she can preserve it for you. Discuss these in advance so you’ll be sure of what you’re getting. The first method is silica gel. This is a process where the archivist will place your flowers in a silicone material that resembles sand. The flowers will dry relatively quickly (a few weeks) compared to other processes.

Image by Graham and Sheila on FlickrThe second process is pressing. You can opt to have a few blooms pressed or you can have your entire bouquet pressed and framed. Just be aware that any process will change the color of your flowers and they will not look exactly like they did when you shipped them.

The third method of preservation is freeze drying. This professional process includes a spray starch that sets the bouquet. It then goes into a freeze dryer and the process becomes permanent. Your flowers will dry just like they were arranged in your bouquet, but again, expect color changes.

Be mindful of the costs for having your bouquet dried and framed. You could pay anywhere from $60 to $350 and up, depending on how complicated and large the job is. Some places will do additional bouquets or boutonnieres free if you have more than one bouquet preserved.

Ask about how quickly you can expect your bouquet back. Most times it’s at least eight weeks before you’ll see it again. The process takes time and can’t be rushed. Ask how your bouquet will come back. Will it be framed or under dome-shaped glass? Will it be shipped via trackable shipping? After you pay all that money, the last thing you need is for it to get lost in the mail.

If cost is a concern, preserve just a few blooms from your bouquet instead of the whole thing. You’ll still have the memories and you can even have those blooms framed along with your wedding invitations and program plus a great photo.

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