You painstakingly chose your wedding flowers, devoted a large part of your wedding budget to work with a floral designer, and then reveled in their fresh, abundant beauty for just a few short hours. After the last piece of cake was gone and the final flute of champagne enjoyed, it might have suddenly occurred to you that you couldn't bear to throw your flowers away.
Maybe someone suggested you dry your bouquet. So you hung them on your mirror, where you've been admiring them since. (Have you seen my "How to Dry Flowers" feature on marthaStewart.com?) While drying is a quick and easy solution to make your wedding flowers last longer and the result is lovely, they are still quite perishable. Prone to sun-fading and delicious to dust-mites, your dried wedding flowers might not last long, while exposed to the elements.
Now what? Is it inevitable that they'll end up in the dust bin, or at most, you'll salvage one or two blooms in a memory box?
Don't worry! They can still be saved — preserved for years and years — hanging in your home as a beautiful reminder the day you were married. I can help!
Sometimes couples come to me with wedding flowers that have dried, and they're hoping there's a way to protect them and create a keepsake as beautiful as their wedding day was.
This particular bouquet came to me from a bride who hadn't gotten her flowers to me in time to press. Still, she'd seen a shadow box with dried flowers I'd crafted for another couple (more on that below) and thought we might similarly preserve her flowers. Every piece I create for my clients is unique, but with her dried blooms, we have the opportunity to create something different and equally beautiful!
If you've dried your wedding bouquet, you can preserve its delicate beauty in an archival-quality shadow box for years to come.
After talking with the couple about what they might want, I went through the flowers, picking and choosing the ones that would work well for the design we'd discussed. Here, you'll see I'm working with a circular layout that will frame their wedding vows.
Picking and choosing the bits that will become part of the final design.
This wreath of flowers is done and waiting for the shop to finish printing the vows on archival paper, which will serve as the background for the final piece. After that final component is in place, I'll build a shadow box that will protect the delicate blooms under museum glass. There, they'll be safe from the elements while sweetly showcasing the sweet memories of the couple's wedding day.
Here's another example of a bouquet that came to me already dried. Stephanie, the bride, had left them in a box for a year, wanting to keep them safe. She brought them into my studio in hopes I could liberate them from the box and make something beautiful she could enjoy every day
"I am absolutely in love with the botanical collage Linda created for my husband and I. Three years after our wedding I met Linda and wished I knew of her services beforehand. Luckily my wedding bouquet was dried and intact well enough for her to create a beautiful collage with our wedding vows in the middle. Linda's work is by far the most creative and meaningful way to save wedding day memories!" — Stephanie
I think when many people see dried flowers, they might focus on what those flowers no longer are —what they've lost. Maybe they're no longer fresh and vibrant, but I think they're still full of life and possess a transformational beauty. It's possible that I especially love these dried flowers because I think of them as a metaphor for love. Love, the verb, is an ongoing process, not a beginning place for a marriage, but the purposeful work of being committed to another person.
To paraphrase Mr. Rogers, who was a wise practitioner of love...
"Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now."
I think these dried flowers — different than they were, and beautiful as they are — are a lot like people. Like me. Like you. Like us.
Love these shadowboxes? Pin them to your planning board!
I'm Linda, keeper of the flowers.