No one wants to say goodbye to their wedding bouquet. Especially not after all of the painstaking planning and flower budgeting that went into carefully choosing each and every bloom, lovingly crafting that floral showstopper that accompanied you down the aisle. After everything that went into creating them, it's no surprise couples are wondering how to preserve their flowers. "A part of what makes flowers so special is their fleeting beauty. After months of metamorphosis from seed to stem, they have finally reached their pinnacle in your wedding flowers," says Shannon Morrow, founder of Arvo Floral Studio. "Couples are always looking for ways to make a keepsake from their florals so that they always have a little bit of their floral design to remind them of their special day."
If you want to keep your blooms forever, you can—and there are numerous ways to do it. Want your flowers to look like they did on your wedding date? Try using the silica gel or wax dipping method. These are the best options to keep the original structure and color intact. Or, turn your bouquet into a work of art by getting them pressed, preserved in epoxy resin, or having them professionally painted. And of course, there's always the tried-and-true hang dry method where endless décor options will ensue.
"My number one tip for someone who wants to preserve their flowers is to decide what way will be most practical and can be easily implemented into your home," says Morrow. "Deciding on an option that will result in a piece of art that can be displayed in your home year-round is truly the best option for couples wanting to have everlasting enjoyment."
Meet the Expert
- Shannon Morrow is the founder and lead designer of Arvo Floral Studio. Founded in 2013, Arvo has served countless couples on their wedding day by bringing their floral dreams to life.
- Sarah Ferrell a flower preserver, presser, and founder of Pressed Floral. Pressed Floral produces bespoke pressed and framed wedding bouquet creations for clients.
Press the Flowers
To press your wedding bouquet, select as many flowers as you'd like, even the entire bouquet as pictured here, and spread them out on clean wax paper so they will lift easily after pressing. Morrow suggests arranging them in a way you are happy with during this step because once they're dried and pressed, you won't be able to manipulate them. "Be sure you are prompt when it comes to pressing your flowers," she says. "You will have the most success when the flowers are still fresh and malleable."
Then, lay the wax paper with the flowers inside the pages of a heavy book, like a phone book or a textbook. Add another piece of wax paper on top to keep the flowers free of ink and shut the book. Then, weigh it down with something heavy, like a vase or more books. You can also simply place heavy objects on top of the wax paper-flower sandwich if you don't have a heavy book. Leave it to dry for seven to 10 days. Once the wedding flowers are flat and dry, you can arrange and frame them however you like.
You can also choose to have a professional press and frame your bouquet for you. "You only have one shot at preserving flowers," says Sarah Ferrell of Pressed Floral. "Find someone whose style you love, and don't be afraid to ask them for customizations. You are the one keeping it forever."
When you preserve flowers, you'll want to start the process when petals are still vibrant, colorful, and unstained. If you wait too long, they'll have more time to die, wilt, and become discolored.
Hang the Flowers Upside Down to Dry
Another simple way to preserve your wedding bouquet is to let it air dry. Unwrap the bouquet and cut away and tape or ties. Instead of lumping the bouquet together, Morrow suggests hanging the stems one by one so each has the best form possible.
Then hang them upside down in a dry, temperate area, such as a hallway closet. Let all the blooms air dry for at least a week and longer if it's cool. "Arrange in a vase or create a wreath with your dried flowers to enjoy," says Morrow. "Bonus, if you kept your ribbon from your bouquet—be sure to use that on your wreath!"
If you're drying the flowers yourself, be sure to handle with extra care as the dried stems will become very brittle and fragile.
Use Silica Gel to Preserve the Flowers
Silica gel isn't an actual gel but a porous sand that works to absorb water and dry flowers in one to seven days. This method keeps your flowers looking the closest to how they did on the actual wedding date. While freezing your bouquet in time isn't an option, silica gel is the next best thing.
You can pick up silica gel at any craft store for less than $10. Form a base of silica gel in an airtight container and nestle your blooms in the sand. Then gently pour the silica gel around the petals, making sure the shape of the flower isn't compromised. Keep filling until the container is full to the top, and seal it with the lid. Be sure the container is air tight or your flowers could succumb to mold from any moisture.
Silica gel preserves the color of the flower nicely, too. When the week is up, remove the flowers carefully and spray them with either an artist's fixative spray or hairspray.
Preserve Your Flowers With Epoxy Resin
You can also use clear epoxy resin to preserve your flowers in decorative shapes. To make a resin paperweight, get a mold from your local craft store in whatever shape you want, like a sphere or a cube. Fill it halfway with the epoxy resin and delicately arrange the flowers in the fluid. Fill it to the top and let it dry. After you take the mold off, you'll have a gorgeous decoration that will keep your wedding bouquet in bloom forever.
Don't want to tackle the project yourself? You can also send off the blooms from your bouquet and have an artist preserve them in resin. The one above was created by Etsy artist Leman Floral who also creates resin ring holders and jewelry trays with wedding flowers.
Dip Your Wedding Flowers in Wax
Wax flowers are not a permanent form of preservation, but they will extend the life of your flowers for up to six months and keep the original integrity and color intact. You won't be able to tell fresh flowers from wax-dipped aside from the feel.
To wax-preserve your bouquet, you'll need paraffin wax and a saucepan. Melt the wax in boiling water until the fluid is even and smooth. Then turn the stove to low so the wax mixture cools down slightly but is still warm. (Check out a video of the process here).
Next, take your best blooms (avoid any that are stained or wilting) and gently dip them into the wax solution. Immediately pull them out and hang them upside down. After they're dry, you'll have beautifully preserved flowers for months to come.
Have Your Flowers Painted
While having your wedding bouquet painted is not preserving the actual flowers, it's still a lovely way to preserve the bouquet. This is one of Morrow's favorite methods, "Since your flowers will never look the same after your wedding day, even with the above preserving options, it is nice to have a permanent reminder of the flowers in all of their glory."
Commission your favorite artist to paint an interpretation of your favorite arrangement or bouquet to live on in your home forever. "It can be as literal or as abstract as you like, and that is probably the best part," Morrow says. "From acrylic to watercolor to minimal line drawings, you are sure to find an option that will fit your style." The beautiful piece of art above is by Salt Stains on Etsy, who creates custom paintings of bridal bouquets.