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Bouquet Preservation 101

Your bouquet can be one more great keepsake from your wedding -- read on if you’re interested in holding on to it for the long haul.

Choosing a Method

pressedbouquet\\FloralPreservation\\ The Press and Frame Option
This method simply flattens a few blooms from the bouquet so they can be displayed in a picture frame. You can DIY a project like this by pressing a few petals between the pages of a thick book, but if you’re looking for a really polished look, you can also hand it over to a pro. A professional frame filled with pressed flowers mixed with a few wedding photos will typically cost about $150.

preservedbouquet\\FloralPreservation\\The Glass Dome or Shadow Box Option
If you aim to have your bouquet or a few flowers from your bouquet preserved in their original shape, this is the route to take. Both silica gel drying and freeze-drying, which are done by professional preservationists, save 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. Preserving your bouquet like this is certainly complicated and, therefore, is pricier than pressing. A glass dome filled with a freeze-dried bouquet could run up to $500 or more.

Protect Your Bouquet!

If your bouquet is dried out or crushed, it might be harder (or impossible) to preserve. If you plan to hold on to it as a keepsake, get a separate tossing bouquet, and at the reception, ask your caterer or venue manager to store your real bouquet in the refrigerator. At the very least, stick the stems in water.

Hiring a Preservation Company

How to Find One
You’ll want to choose an established company with positive reviews and make a reservation about a month in advance of the wedding. You can pick either a local company or a nationwide one (for example, All Seasons Floral Preservation and Everlastings Pressed Flowers specialize in pressed flowers, and FreezeFrameIt and Florage specialize in freeze-dry). Check our listings or try a simple web search for "bouquet preservation."

Delivering Your Bouquet
Once you’ve chosen a company, all you have to do is drop off or ship your bouquet to a preservationist as soon after the wedding as possible (a day or two is best). You may have to pack the bouquet in a padded cardboard box or cooler that either you or the company provides -- depending on the policy of the pro you pick.

Photos: Pressing: All Seasons Floral Preservation; shadow box: Bloomingly Yours

See More: Wedding Customs , Wedding Flowers , DIY Wedding Ideas