Wedding crafts: Wedding bouquet preservation options and ideas
Preserve your wedding bouquet yourself, by drying the entire bouquet or making a keepsake using flowers from your bouquet at home.
Wedding keepsakes take many forms, including photo albums and cake cutting sets. One popular wedding memento is the wedding bouquet, which can be preserved in its entirety, or incorporated into a display item, such as a framed ensemble or shadowbox. Many brides are surprised to discover that commercial options for bouquet preservation are more expensive than the bouquet itself, and are preserving their bouquets at home to save money, as well as giving them artistic control over the final product. This article provides ideas and tips for preserving your own wedding bouquet at home.
Whole bouquet preservation: drying
A recent survey of online companies offering wedding bouquet preservation revealed an average starting cost of $250. However, you can dry your own bouquet at home for little to no money. For the absolutely free approach, you can dry your bouquet by hanging it upside down. As soon as possible after the wedding, strip the lower leaves off the flower stems, leaving intact the leaves closer to the flower bud. Gather 7-10 stems and tie them together with a string or rubber band. Hang the bundle upside down in a well-ventilated area for 8-12 days, until the buds have completely dried out. Reassemble the flowers after they have dried, and place in a vase for display. Alternatively, you can use an electric food dehydrator to remove moisture from the flowers. If you are worried about the flower buds shrinking as they dry (as can happen with roses, dahlias and other large, blooming flowers) fill a box with fine, dry sand or a chemical drying agent, such as borax or silica gel. Place the separated flowers in the box with the bud embedded in the sand. Add more sand or drying agent until the head of the flower is completely covered. Allow the flowers to dry for approximately two weeks. After the flowers have dried, use aerosol hairspray to coat the flowers; this will not allow the flowers to harden, but will prevent color fading as well.
Once you have dried your bouquet, reassemble it for display. If you are recreating your wedding bouquet, it is helpful to look at your wedding pictures as a guide. While the easiest display method is a vase, you can also purchase small glass cases to hold you dried bouquet. One creative approach is to purchase a three-dimensional display box that will allow you to mount your bouquet along with other keepsakes from your wedding day, such as the invitation, the wedding certificate, a photograph of the ceremony, his dried corsage, etc.
Whole bouquet preservation: pressing
If you would like to create a flat display with your bouquet that can be framed and hung on the wall, your best approach is to try pressing the flowers. Similarly to dried bouquets, commercial pressing of wedding bouquets costs between $85-200. To press your own flowers at home, choose a background mat in a color that complements your bouquet. Remove any damaged or discolored flowers and/or petals that will detract from the final display. Arrange the flowers and filler material in the desired pattern, and flatten out as many leaves and twigs as possible using your fingers. If you have ribbon from the bouquet, tie it in a bow around the bottom of the bouquet, and spread it out flat for drying. For the best results, try to use material of the same thickness to allow for even pressure during pressing. Using craft glue, attach the flowers and ribbon to the background mat and allow the glue to dry. Place the arrangement between several layers of blotting paper (available at your local craft store), then add a few layers of newspaper on each side, outside of the blotting paper. Place a few heavy objects, such as dictionaries or textbooks, on top of the newspaper. Let the arrangement sit for at least two weeks to flatten and dehydrate the flower arrangement. Once the flowers are dry, you can frame the arrangement for display.
For a beautiful alternative, press a small number of flowers from your bouquet onto a framing mat for photographs. You can then use the mat to mount a wedding photograph, surrounded by flowers from your own wedding bouquet. If you have flowers left over after drying flowers from your bouquet, consider making smaller, complementary pictures using pressed flowers, or making bookmarks to give to your attendants as keepsakes.