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The Ins & Outs of Wedding Bouquet Preservation

Preserved Bridal Bouquet
The idea that thrifty brides might like to get better value from their wedding flowers by having them last longer than just a day, is a trend that is rapidly catching on right across the world although the United States can probably take credit for starting the trend. Nowadays flowers that used to be a transient joy for a day can be preserved to become a treasured heirloom for future generations to enjoy. But what exactly are the options and how does it work?

The best place to find a bouquet preservation specialist is on the Internet. Type "bouquet preservation" or some such into a search engine or log onto one of the many wedding services directories available on the Internet and you will be presented with two basic options, having your blooms freeze-dried or pressed.

The benefits of freeze drying .

Most of the companies offering 3D flower preservation do so by freeze-drying the flowers prior to displaying them in one of two basic designs namely Victorian-style glass domes or framed pictures with bowed glass fronts or deep "shadow" boxes.

The freeze-drying of flowers works by building upon decades of experience of freeze drying foods, which is what the technology was originally developed for. It works by slowly drying the flowers over approximately two weeks in a specialized freeze-drying machine. The flowers are pre-treated with chemicals and left to dry in a vacuum at temperatures between minus 30 and minus 40 degrees centigrade. Once dried, the flowers and leaves are treated with chemicals again to prevent the flowers from rehydrating, which would cause them to spoil and eventually rot. The flowers are then arranged in the your chosen format.

The added benefits of pressing or dry ing your bouquet.

Because of freeze-drying’s reliance upon chemicals, the more natural alternative is pressing. It also happens to have the added advantages of being slightly cheaper than freeze-drying and the finished items also tend to be more easily displayed in the average home too. Also, unlike freeze-drying, the companies at work in this area tend to be independent specialists which makes for a much more varied selection of products and services.

These days modern pressing techniques mean that flower pressing companies can now process flowers in days rather than months whilst maintaining the full color of flowers and leaves like orchids and ivies (which were previously considered very difficult to press successfully) using either high air-flow presses or microwaveable presses. Special framing materials are also available which means that it is now possible to protect flowers from the damaging effects of daylight by eliminating virtually 100% of the Ultra Violet in the light hitting your treasured picture.

Whilst the majority of flower pressing specialists still only offer a limited range of products such as pressed flower pictures in rectangular or oval frames, one or two specialists are now diversifying into other areas such a bridal flower mementos and keepsakes such as ceramic and lead crystal bowls with pressed flowers set into the lids and heavy glass paperweights in a range of shapes and sizes. Many of the gifts can also be personalized with names, dates or poems and some companies also supply gift vouchers. Now not only can the bride have her flowers preserved, but the bridesmaids also get to have enduring keepsakes of the day as well.

Want to know more? Then simply contact the companies concerned. All will be happy to advise you and your florist about the options available and some will even collect flowers from churches, hotels and other venues within their area.

To help you on your way, here is our suggested list of questions to ask your bridal flower preservationist:

_ How many years experience do you have of preserving flowers?
_ Are you a member of any Trade or Professional Associations?
_ Do you offer a personal bridal flower collection service?
_ For UK based companies – do they offer a bridal flower collection service from Gretna Green (if applicable)?
_ What styles of flower arrangements do you offer?
_ Can I have UV-proof glass or non-reflective glass in my framed picture?
_ Where does your company stand on Environmental Issues?
_ How wide is your choice of frames and / or mounts?
_ Do you offer anything besides framed pictures / domed arrangements?
_ Can you personalize my bridal flower picture / keepsake with a poem or my Order of Service, for example?
_ Have you got an information leaflet available that I can give my florist?

Lastly, here’s one last word of advice for those brides who are wondering about how to combine throwing their bouquet with getting their flowers pressed. The answer is either to retrieve your bouquet after throwing it or to get two bouquets made; a full sized bouquet for the wedding and subsequent pressing and a simpler one specifically for throwing to your guests!

Article supplied by Patricia Riley, Perpetual Posies, Pinebank, Corsock, Castle Douglas, Scotland, UK.

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