Friday, 6 September 2013

Beautiful Bridal Bouquets and How to Preserve them

Hello all

Hope you've been enjoying this fabulous weather, although as I type the rain is hammering down giving the garden and all the pots and baskets a bit of relief.

Today I'm bringing you a post all about preserving your wedding flowers - I've had quite a few of my Brides get in touch with me over the Summer asking how they can keep their flowers longer than they would usually last. Of course, many of you will have your wonderful wedding album full of lovely photos, but more and more of you are looking for a little bit more than that - a tangible keepsake to pass on in the future.

So here's a few ideas on how to do just this:-

The upside-down method

This is the time-honoured way of preserving your bouquet. Simply hang it upside down in a well-ventilated spot and let the flowers and foliage dry out. You'll find that you will lose some of the colour as the petals dehydrate and become less vibrant. Also you will need to keep an eye on the bouquet and re-tie the stems as they shrink in size the original bindings will loosen.  Bear in mind too that although this is by far and a way the cheapest way of keeping your bouquet, it will be terribly fragile too, so you'll probably need a nice box with a bed of tissue and a couple of those silica gel sachets to keep it safe.

Here's one I prepared earlier (!) using all British grown flowers in a bouquet I made last October - it's stood the test of time pretty well really, especially given it's had to vie for place amongst sheaves of wheat and bunches of Yorkshire lavender in my studio!

Before ...

and after! 

And, although I haven't seen the results yet, I do know that Keli, our lovely May Queen bride also used this method to preserve her bouquet

Pressing the flowers

I used to do this when I was a child - remove chosen blooms and then carefully press them between tissues (I used to use loo roll!) in a really big heavy book and then place weights on them or more books, or just anything you have that's heavy really. When I was a kid I used to put them under the frame of my bed think that my weight when I slept at night would help the process! You'll need to check them after a month or so, I used to leave mine 2-3 months, if I could stand the wait!  The main things to know is that you need to watch that the moisture has been absorbed into the tissue and not produced mould. You can also buy flower presses from good craft shops or on-line and special pressing paper too - I've even seen tutorials on how to make your own press if you'd prefer the real crafty/DIY experience!

Here's a lovely pic from one of this year's brides, Kerry, and what she had to say ...

"I loved my bouquet and was devastated when it died. I pressed some of the flowers from it and have put them in a frame, I though you might like to see. I've never been a particularly creative or crafty person but I loved making this and I'm so pleased with it. The photograph in the middle is one of my favourites from the day, we both look very happy and I think it shows off the flowers beautifully. Love Kerry xxx"

Going to a professional

I've noticed that there are quite a number of professional services out there which you can find through search engines.  Two such businesses follow me through social media and seem really lovely and very professional are Susan Fowler Bouquet Preservation and Petals & Lace.

It's slightly better if you can find out about using these services before your wedding day, but I think that maybe many of you don't really realise you'll want/need this service until you've actually seen your bouquet and then it suddenly occurs to you that you'd like to keep it a while longer! If you do decide to use one of these services, then it's best to ask a trusted family member or friend to package your flowers up carefully and send them asap by mail. They will then be dried (which can take approx 6 weeks or so) and very skilfully re-assembled into a frame of your choice. Expect the whole process to take around 2-3 months in total.  It's a really time consuming process and so the cost of preserving your bouquet will reflect this. Prices are very much dependant upon how large the frame is, the type of material the frame is constructed from, the type of glass used etc etc but you'll need to think about costs starting at around £100.

Here's Claire's bouquet from last weekend - she contacted me just after her wedding asking how to preserve her bouquet and was the catalyst to writing this post!

Well, that's it for today.  Hope this has been an interesting post - if any of you have pics of your preserved bouquets, or stories of what you or any of your loved ones have done recently or in the past, leave me a comment - I always love to hear from you!

We've a little break from weddings this weekend so we've packed out all day Saturday with lots of consultations to meet new Brides just starting their flowery journey - very exciting!

More posts coming up next week and a 'new girl' joins the team too - 'til then, enjoy!

Tracey x

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