How to Preserve Wedding Flowers

Three Methods:Drying Your FlowersPressing FlowersTaking Other Measures

For many brides and grooms, the wedding bouquet is a lovely heirloom to hold onto for years after the ceremony. However, flowers do decay so preservation can sometimes be tricky. There are several methods you can take to help preserve your flowers for years to come. Consider drying or pressing your flowers. Then, look into ways to store them safely and out of harm's way.

Method 1
Drying Your Flowers

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    Air dry your flowers. You can also simply air dry the flowers. This is a simple process that does not require a lot of work, although it can take a long time. Tie the flowers together with a rubber band. Then, hang them upside down. Choose a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.[1]
    • It normally takes around two weeks for flowers to air dry. If your region is more humid, it may take slightly longer.[2]
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    Try silica gel. Using silica gel is a slightly more demanding process when it comes to preserving flowers. However, silica gel can help you better maintain a bouquet's size and colors. Silica gel is a sand-like substance you can purchase at a local craft store.
    • Find a large, sealable container. Fill it with at least one inch of silica gel. At your flowers and cover them in the gel completely. Then, close the container.[3]
    • Usually, the flowers should dry in 2 to 6 days. When you finish the drying process, remove the flowers and gently dust off any extra silica gel. The flowers may lose some color during this process.[4]
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    Get your flowers professionally freeze dried. Freeze drying is method in which a bouquet is sprayed with starch, which helps preserve color, and then baked in a freeze dryer.[5] This is by far the most expensive option as you'll have to pay to have it done professionally. However, if preserving wedding flowers is important to you it might be a good idea to budget for professional freeze drying. While the process can take two or three months, it generally causes the least damage and discoloration to the flowers.

Method 2
Pressing Flowers

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    Choose the right flowers. You can also press flowers in order to preserve them, using books or a flower press. Regardless of which flower pressing method you choose, you need to discard flowers that won't press well. Go for flowers that are not yet fully mature. You should avoid flowers that are particularly thick, like roses. Trim off any unnecessary leaves or petals you do not want preserved prior to pressing.[6]
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    Press using books. One of the easiest ways to press flowers is using books You likely have some heavy books lying around the house. These can be used to press flowers.
    • To start, place your flower or flowers between two pieces of paper. Then, close the paper and flowers between the pages of a book. When pressing multiple flowers, make sure to space them out so they're not touching. Choose a book big enough to close completely over the flowers.[7]
    • Place more books on top of the book you're using. This will help weigh down the flowers. From here, change the paper sheets you're using every few days and then repress the flowers between the book. In two to three weeks, the flowers should be completely dry.[8]
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    Make a wooden flower press. If you're handy, a wooden flower press might be a good option for you. Once made, it requires slightly less maintenance than using books.
    • Use two rectangular pieces of plywood. Choose a size big enough to cover all the flowers you're pressing. Drill holes into all four corners. Make sure the holes line up with one another.[9]
    • Place your flower or flowers between two pieces of paper. Place the paper and flowers between the plywood rectangles.
    • Tighten the boards together using long bolts and wingnut bolts. Set aside for a couple of weeks. Your flowers should dry out.[10]
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    Use a microwave. You can speed up the book drying process by using a microwave first. Put your flower or flowers between two sheets of paper. Then, press the sheets of paper between two books. Then, microwave the books for one minute. Allow the books to cool off and repeat as needed until the flowers are almost dry. Allow them to air dry the rest of the way. Cooking flowers until they're fully dry can cause damage.[11]
    • If you're worried about damaging your books by microwaving them, you can buy a microwavable flower press online or at a local craft store.[12]
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    Handle pressed flowers with care. When they are completely dry, pressed flowers will be extremely delicate and should be placed in an album ,frame, or book for safekeeping. You can remove flowers from between paper using your fingers. However, it may be safer to use tweezers as this minimizes the risk of damaging your flowers.

Method 3
Taking Other Measures

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    Choose the right flowers ahead of time. If you want to preserve wedding flowers, choose flowers that are easy to press or dry when planning your wedding. This will make the preservation process easier down the road. Roses tend to be one of the easiest types of flowers to preserve. Flowers with fleshier stems are also a good choice, such as peonies, hydrangea, and ranunculus.[13]
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    Use a separate tossing bouquet. If you want to preserve your wedding bouquet, have a separate tossing bouquet. Flowers can easily become damaged when tossed, which can make them harder to preserve. Have a separate throwaway bouquet for the wedding and keep the actual bouquet in a vase safely away from the ceremony.[14]
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    Store your flowers properly after preserving them. After you preserve your flowers, consider how you want to store them. A frame or a shadow box can help keep pressed or dried flowers from becoming damaged. It can also help prevent decay and is a good option if you want to display your flowers. You may also want to look into purchasing a bouquet box, a special device designed to keep preserved flowers safe from harm.[15]


  • Cats, mice, and other animals like the taste of flowers, especially roses. Make sure to keep you flowers out of reach of pets and pests to keep them safe for years to come.
  • If you ruin your wedding flowers, all is not lost. You can contact a floral preservation expert to buy replacement flowers and press them for you. Be aware that this will be costly, more so than your original bouquet because your professional will need to buy the fresh flowers, which are sold in bunches of 10 to 25 wholesale, and then press them for you using advanced preservation techniques and pressing methods particular to each flower.

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Categories: Dress Flowers and Accessories