Your wedding day is the most special day of your life and after spending so long planning for your wedding, you want as many things to remember it by as possible. We spoke to Paola Verolini from PetalMania to find out how you can enjoy your wedding flowers long after your wedding is over, by having them freeze dried...
Q. How can a bride be sure to enjoy her wedding flowers forever?
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Wedding flowers can be preserved to last a very long time but ultimately how the flowers are kept and looked after, will determine how long they can be enjoyed for years to come.
This is especially true if the flowers are kept in areas of high humidity, heat, UV rays or near insect infestations. Freeze drying is the most successful method of preservation that will keep the flowers looking good, with the same colour, shape and size as when they were fresh, for a very long time. But the method of display and precautions taken to protect the flowers displayed will have a huge bearing on how long they will remain beautiful and fresh-looking.
Q. Why should a bride consider freeze drying her flowers?
Marriage is one of life’s milestones and worthy of remembering by keeping special mementoes to remind you of the day, such as the wedding gown, the veil, the groom’s tie and waistcoat, an invitation, photographs, videos, etc. So why not keep the bride’s bouquet, or the groom’s buttonhole, or the-mother-of-the-bride’s corsage? All of these can be kept and preserved so that your special day is remembered and enjoyed over and over again, maybe even with children and grandchildren.
Freeze drying flowers is the most successful, professional method of preservation. When freeze dried, the flowers look fresh but totally dry. How long they will remain looking that way really depends on how they are displayed and looked after.
Q. Are there other methods of preservation?
The other methods of preservation include: air drying, silica gel, glycerine and pressing.
Air drying is the simplest of methods and the cheapest. Fundamentally the flowers are hung in a dark, dry and ventilated place and left to dry. Some colour is retained but the flowers and leaves tend to be crinkly.
Silica gel drying is also quite straight forward. The flowers are submerged in silica gel beads in an airtight container and left to dry. Silica gel does not come free but it can be reused over and over again. The preserved flowers will retain their colour, albeit a bit darker than when they were fresh, and will definitely look like preserved flowers.
Glycerine drying is where the flower is made to absorb glycerine instead of water. It is not particularly difficult to do and is a common home craft. The flowers will keep their colour and flexibility and can last for years.
Pressing is one of the oldest methods of preservation. The flowers are laid between sheets of paper and heavy objects (often books) placed on top to press the flowers. Clearly the flowers lose their shape but can be kept for a very long time.
Q. Is it just a bouquet that can be preserved this way?
No, not just bouquets!... Corsages and buttonholes, rosebud rings, specific flowers from arrangements, in fact almost any flower from anywhere. Freeze dried flowers are particularly useful when a particular flower is required for, say, a bridal bouquet but the flower is out of season at the time of the wedding.
Freeze dried flowers can also be embedded in paperweights, which is a particularly practical way of enjoying the flowers from a special occasion especially in countries where extreme temperatures are common such as in South Africa. They also make great gifts for family and bridesmaids and can be sent all over the world without them being stopped by Customs and Border controllers.
Freeze dried petals and flowers are particularly useful for weddings held at remote venues such as game lodges or islands or any place that is unfriendly to fresh flowers and florists! A florist can make up the bouquets, buttonholes etc. from freeze dried flowers beforehand and the arrangements can then be taken to their final destination without the fear of them wilting or shedding their petals from the heat.
Freeze dried petal confetti is also a “must have” at any wedding whether in the city or a faraway location. Freeze dried petals are 100% biodegradable so there is no negative impact on the environment, and they do not stain so gowns, furnishings and linen are not spoilt.
Freeze dried flowers and petals also work well for decorating food — wedding cakes and desserts for example — as no chemicals are used to preserve them.
PetalMania is the only specialist floral freeze drier in Southern Africa. To find out more about preserving your wedding flowers, visit www.petalmania.co.za