Drying Flowers: The Do’s and Don’ts

by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace

We chatted with Whitney Emmons from Corinth Flowers LLC to get the inside scoop on what to do with you bouquet and flowers after the wedding.

1. Do have a game plan going into the big day; Don’t just pass your bouquet to someone as you and your new spouse are leaving for the evening. Have someone designated to take the bouquet after the wedding, and take care of it over the honeymoon.

  • Night-of care: Trim 1/4-1/2 an inch off the stems, and place the bouquet in water for 24-48 hours.

2. Do set realistic expectations for the final product. Emmons said the darker flowers will hold colors better once dried (read: reds, burgundies); whereas white flowers will cream as they dry, and lose their stark-white appeal.

Don’t dismiss saving your flowers because they just die. 

“Well, of course they die. But your hair grows out and you get it re-dyed or cut, it’s an effect. However, those flowers last forever in your photos,” Emmons added. And if preserved properly, she said they can last practically forever, and can be given to future grandchildren.

3. Do store the final dried product in a sealed glass container (think: shadow box, glass display case). Don’t let it near warm, humid areas. Emmons said sunlight will not harm dried arrangements, but warm moisture is practically a second death sentence for your florals.

4. Do donate extra flowers and centerpieces to nursing homes or hospitals to cheer up residents and patients. Don’t forget the boutonnières! “A lot of guys don’t want the boutonnières, and the little men at nursing homes love them, they love that special effect,” Emmons said.

5. Unexpected pro tips:

  • Flowers with a wooden stem, like magnolias, can be placed in a container of antifreeze, “Like the stuff you put in your car,” Emmons said.
  • Hairspray can help with dried flowers’ fragility. “What’s that stuff our mothers used to use? Aqua Net? Yeah,” Emmons suggested. Spray drying flowers throughout the process to prevent easy breakage later down the road. 
  • Another preservation option is silica gel or heat pressing using an iron or microwave.
  • Keep an eye out for artists. Emmons said she has come across a few who will take bouquets, properly treat them, and turn them into unexpected art pieces. Between jewelry making, resin molds and other options, the possibilities are pretty much endless.
  • For a bouquet: Separate each flower from the bouquet. Some flowers take longer to dry out than others, for instance, peonies take longer than roses. So if each flower is dried separately, it will drastically decrease the likelihood of molding. When each flower is completely dried, reshape it into the bouquet to store in a shadow box.
  • For a pressed frame: Be sure to line with parchment paper or coffee filters, then arrange flowers before sandwiching in a heavy book. Check back in three to four weeks.
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