Flowers were not a priority for me in the wedding planning process. I gave the florist a few photos and gave them full control. I have to say, I was blown away by my bouquet on my wedding day! It was exactly what I would have asked for if I could have put it in to words. I was thrilled, but sad at the same time, because I knew that their beauty was fleeting. The day after the wedding, I went right to Google to search for ways to preserve flowers. Everyone knows about the old “hang the bouquet upside down” trick, but that leaves the flowers brown and brittle. In my search, I found a few posts on using silica gel to dry flowers, but maintains their shape and color. I had to try it!
I went to Michael’s and bought two boxes of Activa Flower Drying Art Silica Gel, basically the same stuff that is in those little packets when you buy new shoes, but in a much larger quantity. I also picked up an air- and water-tight plastic storage box, but I’m sure any secure plastic box would work.
After deconstructing — massacring — my beautiful bouquet, I layered the silica powder with flowers, set the flowers upright in the powder and covered each layer of flowers with enough gel to cover them completely. In the process, some flowers, like roses, will fill with powder which helps them maintain their shape. I used a little more than two boxes of the silica, but I think the box I used was too big, so I need extra to fill the gaps in my layers.
The next step is to wait.
I would suggest leaving them in the box for at least two weeks. When you open the box, you need to go on an archaeological dig for the flowers. This is a delicate process. I covered the surface with a plastic bag to collect the gel that fell off the flowers as I took them out. Many of the smaller ones disintegrated, so I had to be very careful in removing them.
Once they were out, I tried to shake them off the best I could to remove excess silica. To display them, I arranged them in a shadowbox. The original one I bought was too big since the flowers shrunk down a lot as they dried. I ended up using an 8×8 box, and it was perfect. The background was a black fabric, so I bought a piece of decorative paper to dress it up a bit. Then I arranged the flowers and glued them to the back of the box. I’m so glad I have a way to keep enjoying my flowers and remember the day.
Do you have any special plans for your flowers after your wedding day?
So we did it! We’re officially married! We had a beautiful, although a bit chilly, day in Vermont, but it didn’t rain or snow, so I’ll take it! It’s been almost two weeks now, and I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience. Here’s some advice for the brides-in-planning out there.
Photo courtesy of Joel Boucher of Boucher Visuals
- People always say it goes by so fast, and it does! Do your best to be present in the moment, because by the end of the day your head will be spinning. I found it hard with my nerves and all of the details on my mind to actually focus on what was going on and take time to slow it down. I feel like I missed it and wish I could replay it in slow motion.
- Weddings are not for the Type-A. You have to let go of some things, which I found very difficult, but some things are just beyond your control. You can’t control the weather, or what your mother-in-law will do, or if your dog will want to pose for a photo when you want him to. You just have to accept those things you can’t control, and do the best you can to know you’ve planned well and things will happen. In the end, worst case scenario is something you laugh about later.
- Do what you want. No, really. In other words, don’t do anything that you know deep down you don’t want because you think it will please someone else. It will just put a damper on your day, and you can’t please everyone, so don’t even try. It’s not worth it.
- Take all the photos. You are paying your photographer good money. Make sure you have every shot you want. Get shots with your parents, and your guests. Get shots under the pretty tree and do that thing you saw on Pinterest. Who cares?!? You only get one shot to do this day. Capture it all!
- Don’t underestimate the need for a schedule, and stick to it. Don’t think you can have a leisurely breakfast and start getting ready an hour before your ceremony. Leave yourself time so you’re not rushed and stressed. See Number 1.
- Have someone there to boss around. Whether it is a paid coordinator, or an amazing best friend, have someone that can grab stuff for you, make sure the envelopes with cash get to the right people, carry your clutch with touch-up essentials, find an earring back for you when you lose yours. Things will come up that you do not need to be dealing with so embrace the helper!
- I now see the beauty of having an official planner. I think their biggest role is to be your advocate. We had an on-site coordinator from the venue who was lovely, but I had to track her down and was still asking detailed questions about the schedule and flow of the day up to the week of my wedding. It would have been nice to know it was being handled by at least a day-of coordinator that had my back. It’s also nice to have someone that can go bash some skulls if need be.
More than anything enjoy your day, but know it is only one day in the thousands more you will have together. Even if it’s not perfect, that’s what will make it perfect because, either way, the two of you will share those memories, good or bad.