The wedding bouquet has long been an important accessory. Aside from the centuries-old history behind wedding bouquets, which were commonly carried to ward off bad luck and spirits, this wedding flower arrangement adds color and personality to your wedding attire. If you’re feeling sentimental and don’t want to throw the flowers away at the end of the night, wedding bouquet preservation is definitely something to consider, but you’ll need to plan ahead! Whether you want to dry the flowers at home or outsource the preservation to a professional, keep reading for all of your options for how to preserve a wedding bouquet.
Wedding Bouquet Preservation Prep
If you’re planning to preserve your wedding bouquet, we recommend skipping the bouquet toss or swapping it for a “dummy” bouquet instead. Using a wrapping paper/ribbon bouquet from your wedding shower, a paper bouquet, or a mini replica of your bouquet from the florist will prevent your actual bouquet from getting damaged and broken.
Depending on the type of flowers used, your bouquet can start to wilt or look a little lackluster a few days (or even hours) after your wedding. Keep in mind that by the time you get the bouquet on your wedding day, there's a good chance that flowers have been cut for at least a couple of days, if not a week or longer. Most florists rely on flowers from all across the country—and sometimes the world—to create their designs, which means that your blooms have already traveled quite the distance to be part of your special day. For locally grown flowers, you might luck out with a little extra time to preserve your wedding bouquet, since they can be harvested more closely to your wedding date, but you’ll still need to act quickly.
With most wedding bouquet preservation options, you unfortunately won’t be able to keep the entire bouquet intact, unless you dry the entire arrangement as-is (more on this in a minute). Otherwise, you’ll need to separate the flowers to keep them as fresh as possible. After the wedding—or even during the reception, when you no longer need your bouquet—remove the ribbon and anything else wrapped around the stems. Be careful to avoid pins or wires your florist might have used to keep things in place. Once the bouquet is apart, snip the ends of the stems (cut about half an inch off, or anything that has turned brown) and place the flowers in fresh, room-temperature water. Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight and change the water daily until you can fully preserve them.
Wedding Bouquet Preservation Ideas
After you’ve prepped your flowers, there are several DIY and professional options for how to preserve the bouquet.
Dried wedding bouquet
This is the simplest wedding bouquet preservation option, since you don’t need any special materials or skills and can do it yourself at home. Drying your wedding bouquet is also the best way to keep the whole arrangement intact, although the flowers will shrink slightly and the colors will fade. Here’s how to dry your wedding bouquet:
- Remove excess leaves, greenery, broken petals, and anything that has already started to rot or turn brown.
- Next, securely tie a piece of twine, yarn, or string around the stems—or if it’s easier, you can loop a rubber band around the stems and tie the string to that (this will also help if the stems shrink during the drying process).
- Hang the bouquet upside down in a dry, dark spot where it won’t be disturbed, like a guest room closet or kitchen pantry.
- Leave the bouquet alone for at least two weeks, although some arrangements can take up to a month or more to dry out completely.
Once your wedding bouquet is fully dry, you can showcase it in a vase or store it in a decorative glass box to protect it from dust, moisture, and bugs.
Pressed wedding bouquet
This wedding bouquet preservation option is perfect if you’re okay with saving a few flowers as opposed to the entire bouquet. If you don’t have an actual flower press kit, choose a thick, heavy book (something similar to a dictionary or an encyclopedia) that will put enough weight on the flowers to press them flat. Place the flowers in between two blank sheets of paper, then put them toward the center of the book. Check on them in about two weeks, and re-press them if they’re not completely dry. Once the flowers are ready, we love the idea of displaying them in a frame. If you’re feeling artistic, gently lift the dried flowers away from the book pages (use tweezers if you need to) and arrange them on a fresh sheet of paper using glue. Not totally confident you can pull this off on your own? Hire a pressed flower artist who can create a custom design for you.
Silica gel wedding bouquet
Silica—the same substance that comes in those little packets you usually find in new shoe boxes and purses—works by absorbing the moisture from the flowers in your wedding bouquet. This wedding bouquet preservation option is the best way to keep the original shape, color, and look of your bouquet, although it might shrink slightly. You can buy silica drying gel at most craft stores, and we’d recommend trying this method with test flowers before using your actual bouquet. Use a paintbrush to cover the flowers with silica powder. Next, place the flowers in an airtight container, fill the empty space with powder (make sure the flowers are completely covered), and seal the lid. Let the flowers dry out for about a week.
Remove the bouquet and gently dust off any remaining powder. If the bouquet is fully dry, you can finish it with a protective sealant spray and showcase it in a vase or display box. The silica gel process works best for flowers that will tolerate a bit of pressure, like roses, ranunculus, and peonies.
Freeze-dried wedding bouquet
While freeze-drying is the priciest option on the list of ways to preserve your wedding bouquet, the bouquet will look remarkably close to how it did on your wedding day. This option will need to be handled by a pro—ask your wedding florist if they have any recommendations or offer something in-house. First, the flowers will be sprayed with starch, then the bouquet will be placed in a freeze-dryer to slowly remove moisture. The process takes up to three months.
Resin wedding bouquet
A final wedding bouquet preservation option (and one of our personal faves) is the idea of encasing your flowers in clear resin. This glass-like material starts out as a liquid, which means you can arrange your flowers in a mold, pour the resin on top, and let it harden before removing the mold to reveal a unique keepsake. Since it takes a lot of practice to get the resin perfectly smooth, clear, and bubble-free, we recommend outsourcing this to someone who knows exactly what to do. Check on Etsy for artists who offer resin bouquet preservation—you can find gorgeous options in all shapes and sizes, from ring holders and initials to decorative bookends.