One hard truth about wedding expenses is that flowers add up more than you think they would. I learned that years ago when I worked in the wedding industry, and I was certainly reminded of that when planning our own mini wedding.
I consider myself a Budget Bride (have you seen my DIY flower veil?) but certain things are worth spending a little more on.
I believe that beautifully curated fresh flowers designed by a professional florist is one of them.
When it comes to your wedding, or honestly any day for that matter, nothing compares to fresh seasonal flowers in bloom.
So, since beautiful bridal flowers cost so much…why not preserve them?
Preserving your wedding flowers isn’t just to stretch your dollar, it’s a way to actually keep your wedding flowers.
The time and effort you put into figuring out your colour palette and your floral selection, wouldn’t you want to save them as a special keepsake?
How heartbreaking would it be to just throw out your beautiful bridal bouquet in the trash?!
A little part of my soul crumbles whenever I have to throw out flowers or greenery, so over the past years I’ve been practicing the art of preserving them.
Below, I will share the two methods I use to preserve flowers, followed by four ways to decorate and display them.
Hanging Upside Down
I dry flowers hung upside down in a dark and dry place, away from sunlight and humidity. Depending on the flowers, it can take up to 7 to 10 days for the flowers to dry completely.
You may find that some may rot in the process or some may give off a bad odour, so you can discard those ones if they didn’t preserve well. Some may even droop down once you flip them upright. Don’t worry, that can happen!
In my experience, the flowers and greenery that dry upside down the most successfully are roses, eucalyptus, sage, baby’s breath, ranunculus, carnations, gomphrena and billy balls flowers.
I wrote a detailed blog post about pressing flowers that you can check out here, but in summary, the method I use is the old fashioned way: tucked between the pages of a heavy book.
I use parchment paper as a protective barrier to make sure the excess moisture from the flowers or greenery don’t smear and stick to the pages. Depending on the flower, it can take 5 to 7 days for them to be pressed and dried completely. My advice? The longer they’re pressed, the better!
In my experience, the florals that press well are eucalyptus, sage, daisies, Queen Anne’s lace, tree leaves, delphinium and wildflower orache.
A Few Tips
- You don’t need to preserve all of your wedding flowers. Choose the ones that you love the most, or that have the most meaning for you.
- Preserve your flowers and greenery when they are still fresh! You want to conserve their shape and colour when they are at the peak of their bloom.
Once your flowers are preserved, you can create such unique decor pieces for an earthy, rustic or romantic vibe. You can even offer as a gift to someone or make it part of a gift packaging.
Below I share four creative ideas you can decorate and display your preserved wedding flowers, or any other flowers you will ever receive or buy from now on.
Display on a Bookshelf
My bridal bouquet was really special to me. It was one of the items that I wanted to preserve as much as I could.
I hand picked the eucalyptus and the spray roses that ended up drying perfectly intact. These were preserved upside down.
To decorate, I tucked my rustic dried bouquet on top of our vintage radio. That vintage radio was used as our welcome sign for our virtual wedding. This makes this display even more meaningful.
Arrange in a Vase or Planter
Eucalyptus was the main botanical of our wedding decor and colour palette.
This calming plant dominated our greenery theme on our signing table, our dining table and I had small versions of them in my bouquet. Even the name of our Vow Book ribbon colour was called “Eucalyptus”, and it was incorporated in our Evite design.
Since fresh eucalyptus dries perfectly when hung upside down, it was easy and fun to create an earthy arrangement of these beautiful branches in a terracotta planter that blended perfectly with our existing home decor.
A minor side note: you can also preserve flowers you receive as a wedding gift!
We received a burst of whimsical yellow flowers from our dear friends. They preserved so nicely hung upside down, and I am beyond impressed at how the colour did not fade. Look at how bright and fiery that yellow still is!
Display in a Frame
Getting a glimpse of my bridal bouquet when I wake up in the morning, when I’m fixing up my hair or spraying some perfume adds a big boost of joy to my every day.
Framing pressed flowers was my favourite DIY project last year, and I am beyond joyful that I was able to extend the preservation of my bridal bouquet into this method as well.
The flowers I handpicked from my bouquet were the eucalyptus and the Queen Anne’s lace. They press really well, and I love how the Queen Anne’s lace look like delicate little snowflakes.
Display in a Shadow Box
Aside from my bridal bouquet, my husband’s boutonniere was another important keepsake I wanted to treasure.
My florist created the most adorable and elegant boutonniere. The dominant floral was the eucalyptus, and she added tiny little ranunculus and spray roses. She chose a blueish grey ribbon to match my husband’s grey vest and dark blue suit pants.
I hung the boutonniere upside down to dry, and preserved and protected it in a shadow box, along with a mix of ivory and blush ranunculus from my bouquet, the remaining eucalyptus from the signing table florals, and those bright yellow ranunculus from my friend’s flower delivery.
The shadow box is from HomeSense that I also got years ago. I used it to display postcards and Polaroids in my non-married life, but now its purpose has changed to conserving really special petals.
Shadow boxes are perfect to display on a book shelf, directly on the wall or even on a table or dresser.
I am so pleased with how my wedding flowers preserved, and I hope this brings some helpful tips or inspiration to anyone who’s looking to trying this out.
The thing that struck me the most about these florals as I handled them with delicate care was just how strong and resilient they actually are. Even the most fragile-looking petals ended up preserving the best. I think that’s a beautiful reminder, however which way we apply it.