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How to Preserve Your Wedding Bouquet Well Past Your I Do’s

Yes, it can be done, with these tips from expert florist Eric Buterbaugh.

The flowers are often the most beautiful part of a nuptial celebration (beside the bride, of course!). But unlike memories, blooms fade quickly. To make them last longer, we turned to the Los Angeles designer, who curates bouquets for eco-friendly floral delivery service The Bouqs, for his advice.

Photography by: Courtesy of Bouqs
Buterbaugh has done the flowers for both Salma Hayek's and Paul McCartney's weddings.

What do you recommend for prolonging the life of your bouquet following your wedding?

Remove the ribbon that will be used to hold the stems of the bouquet together and recut the ends of the stems. Then place them in a vase of fresh water. Change the water daily and every few days recut the bottom of the stems at an angle so that they can take in as much water as possible to stay hydrated. At the end of the day, they are cut flowers, so the expectation shouldn’t be to keep them alive for weeks. Typically, the bridal arrangement won’t be made of flowers at the early stages of their bloom, but rather a more established bud, so the life span expectancy of the flower will naturally be shorter.


What types of flowers last the longest?

Roses tend to last the longest of most of the typical “wedding flowers.” Flowers with more fleshy stems—peonies, hydrangea, ranunculus—tend to go more quickly.


If you are hoping to keep your wedding bouquet, should you skip the bouquet toss?

If you plan to hold on to the bouquet after the wedding, get a separate tossing bouquet for the reception and keep the real wedding bouquet in a safe place with the stems in water.

Photography by: Courtesy of Bouqs

What would you recommend for preserving your bouquet as an heirloom?

If you aim to have your bouquet preserved in its original shape, I suggest either silica-gel drying or freeze-drying, which are done by professional preservationists and will help keep the natural, three-dimensional shape of the flowers. The difference between the two methods is just technical: Silica-gel drying involves burying the flowers in a granular substance until they’re totally dry, while freeze-drying entails slowly dehydrating the blooms in a cold, vacuum-sealed machine. The bouquet is then sealed inside a glass container like a shadow box or a glass dome.

How much does that typically cost?

Preserving your bouquet by either silica-gel drying or freeze-drying is certainly complicated, as you are showcasing a three-dimensional arrangement and, therefore, it is pricier than pressing. A glass dome filled with a freeze-dried bouquet could run up to $500 or more.

Photography by: Courtesy of Bouqs

What types of flowers are the best for this process?

In my experience orchids tend to last the longest and take to the preservation process quickly and seamlessly.


What companies would you recommend?

There are lots of companies out there that can help professionally preserve the bouquet. It is a good idea to start researching companies in the weeks before your wedding so that you are comfortable with your decision as to whom will handle the bouquet. My team suggests Nature’s Beauty and All Seasons Floral Preservation. Everlastings Pressed Flowers specializes in pressed flowers and Freeze Frame It specializes in freeze-drying flowers, but you can always do an online search to see what companies are available in your area if you don’t want to ship your bouquet.


What is your favorite way of displaying a preserved bouquet?

I think that the glass dome is a chic way to showcase the bouquet. We use the glass dome for some of the live arrangements that we send out, although we always have to allow for air to get into the dome. With preserved flowers, there isn’t any water used, therefore it is a cool and easy way to display them.


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