If you’re a DIY bride and plan on arranging your own wedding flowers on your big day, you may have some serious questions about what to do if the flowers start looking a little—uh, droopy. Even if you aren’t going to be doing your own florals, most likely you (or your MOH or MIL or mom or sister) will be doing a little DIY flower arranging at one of the pre-wedding parties—little bud vases down long tables for a bridal shower maybe, or larger, branchy arrangements for an engagement celebration?
Whatever you’re doing, for whatever party, you should make sure you’ve got all the helpful hints at hand so that you can perk those flowers right up if they start to die on you! Thanks to one of our favorite cool-girl florists, Emily Buckner of FLWR Studio, we've got all that information and more—including ways to force your wedding flowers open if they haven’t quite bloomed and you start to panic.
Prepping and Keeping Flowers Alive
1. Prepping, or "conditioning," your flowers is one of the most important parts of the process. After you’ve removed the plastic or paper that your blooms are wrapped in, take each stem and gently remove all foliage that falls below the waterline. Foliage that is left in the water will create bacteria that will poison the flowers, which decreases the longevity of the bloom. Once you’re ready to place your flowers in their vase, give each stem a quick snip. Be sure to snip the stems at an angle, as this increases the surface area that your flower can drink from, for happy flowers!
2. When working with cut blooms, it’s really important to keep the water fresh. Flower stems secrete all kinds of nasties that pollute the water, which decreases their life span. The easiest way to combat this is to remove the old water, rinse and fill your vase with fresh water, snip the stems at an angle, and pop them back in for a drink!
3. If something is looking really iffy, I usually take the stem out of the water, remove as many of the browning petals as possible, snip the stem, and place it in fresh water. If the bloom is unsalvageable, a cute alternative is to remove the blooms from water, tie them together at the base, and hang upside down to dry out. I’ve started incorporating a lot of dried elements into my arrangements for a unique twist on the traditional bouquet.
Forcing Flowers to Bloom
1. It’s important to note that all flowers are different. While roses lend themselves to a forced bloom, some other flowers aren’t so happily rushed. For a rose, cut the stems at an angle, and place them in warm water (not boiling) to hasten the process. This technique is particularly helpful for roses that have looser petal formations; garden roses and spray roses are perfect for this technique. If you’re looking to force a tighter bloom, removing the guard petals (base petals) and gently coaxing the face petals to open with your fingers works!
2. Often, the most beautiful flowers have the most fleeting life spans. Hellebores are one of my favorite blooms, but they have a tendency to droop. I find that giving them a cold bath perks them up on the event day. You can take a bucket or large dish, fill it up with cold water, and submerge the entire bloom into the water. Leave it for a few hours and repeat if necessary. Once the blooms feel a little more crisp, dry them off with a paper towel, cut the stem vertically about half an inch upward from the bottom, and place in fresh water.