No bride wants to say goodbye to her wedding bouquet. Especially not after all of the painstaking planning and budgeting that went into carefully choosing each and every bloom, lovingly crafting that floral showstopper that accompanied you down the aisle. While you may love all of your wedding florals, there is a lot of sentimental attachment that goes with that particular floral arrangement. So it's no surprise that it can be a bit emotional to part with it after the big day. But we've got news for you: If you want to keep your blooms forever, you can.
Read on to learn how to preserve your beloved wedding bouquet and hold on to it forever as a keepsake of your special day.
1. Press the Flowers
To press your wedding bouquet, select as many flowers as you'd like, and spread them out on clean parchment paper. Then, lay the parchment paper with the flowers inside the pages of a heavy book, like a phone book or a textbook. Add another piece of parchment 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. 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.
2. Hang the Flowers Upside Down
Another simple way to preserve your wedding bouquet is to let it air dry. Gather up the stems and tie them tightly together. Then hang the whole bouquet upside down in a dry, temperate area, such as a hallway closet. Let all the blooms air dry. Check back on them in a couple of weeks and you'll find your bouquet has dried completely.
3. 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. 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.
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.
4. 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 spherical or cubic mold from your local craft store. 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 GiftswithloveArt.
5. 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. 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. Hang them upside down. After they're dry, you'll have beautifully preserved flowers for months to come.
6. 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. Commission a local or Etsy artist to paint your bouquet and it can live on in your home forever. The beautiful piece of art above is by CanotStop on Etsy, who creates custom paintings of bridal bouquets.
There you have it. If you've been thinking about how to preserve your wedding flowers, you've got six ways to make them last. Whichever route you choose, remember to act fast: When it comes to preserving flowers, the sooner you do so, the better. 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.
If you're jetting off on a honeymoon immediately and don't have time to preserve your flowers yourself, you can also find a local florist who you can hire to do the job, or task your most crafty bridesmaid with the assignment.