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Ok, so preserving the top tier of your wedding cake may be your top priority, but don’t forget about your flowers. If you follow the right steps you can easily keep your wedding bouquet in top condition for years to come. That’s right, your beautiful blooms don’t have to wilt! From applying a silica gel to their petals at home to hiring a pro to freeze-dry your roses, you’ve got plenty of options that’ll make your flowers last a lifetime.

Here’s how to preserve your wedding bouquet.

Before preserving…
Keep your flowers as fresh as you possibly can before you move on to the next step. Toss the ribbon or wrap that’s holding them together, recut the stems and get them into some fresh water ASAP (time is of the essence). Note: you’ll want to skip using your bridal bouquet for the bouquet toss if you plan on preserving it. You don’t want to have to pry it out of another lady’s hands or mess up the blooms in the process.

Drying
Drying is one of the more popular preservation methods thanks to how easy it is. All you’ll have to do is hang your flowers upside down in a dry space until all the moisture has been removed. This could take weeks or even months, depending on the types of blooms in your bouquet (just be patient!). Put them inside a preservation box once they’re all dry and you’re good to go. Note: their colours will fade, so don’t expect to have vibrant flowers once the process is finished.

Pressing
Pressing your flowers is the route to go if you don’t want to display your wedding blooms as a bouquet. Choose a few of your favourites and then press them flat by using a heavy book (you may want to stack one or two on top for good measure). Once they’re completely flat you can display them in a frame or shadow box. Ta-da! A new piece of art for your bedroom.

Silica Gel
If you’re feeling particularly crafty, consider going with silica gel. It can bought at almost any old art supply store, so you should have no problem hunting it down. How do you use it? You’ll have to carefully cover each bloom with the silica gel crystals and place them in a container in a warm area for about a week and a half (you can speed up the process with an oven or microwave, but it’s a little riskier). When they’re dried and ready, dust off the powder and spray them with a fixative spray to seal everything in.

Freeze-Dry
Want your flowers to look almost identical to how they did on your wedding day? Get ‘em freeze-dried. Yes, this is the priciest way to preserve your blooms, but you definitely get bang for your buck. Unfortunately, freeze-drying isn’t something you can DIY in your living room, so make sure to hire an expert. They’ll spray your bouquet with starch and then place it in a freeze-dryer to suck out any remaining moisture. Keep in mind that this can take up to three months, so you won’t be able to display them right away.

Hire a professional
Not up to the task of preserving your flowers? Hire a seasoned pro to do the job for you. Many florists offer preservation, so make sure you ask yours if they can help you out after your reception wraps. If not, you’ll have to look into other options. Remember to check reviews to make sure the company you’re going with has a good track record. Tip: book about a month in advance so that you’re not up a creek without a paddle when your wedding rolls around.

Go with an alternative
If you want to skip the hassle of tending to your flowers post-wedding, consider going with an alternative bouquet (you know, one that isn’t made of actual flowers). There are plenty of Pinterest-approved options up for grabs - make faux blooms from paper or tissue, use seashells to craft an arrangement or stack your bouquet with baubles from your own jewellery box. The options are endless.

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