Q.I would like to know how to preserve a wedding bouquet of orchids? Can you press orchids or do they bruise?(Miss Beki Bradbourne, 16 September 2008)
A wedding is one of the most important and memorable days of your life and it’s no wonder brides are often keen to retain their wedding bouquets.
Like other flowers, it is possible to press orchids without them bruising. You can press them at home using either a heavy book or a specially designed flower press. This will only work by pressing each individual flower – it’s not usually possible to press the entire bouquet – but it is a good option to choose if you want to keep a long-term reminder of some of the flowers that were in the bouquet on your special day.
However, if you’d prefer to preserve the whole bouquet as it was on the day, then there are some great preservation methods that can be used. The best method by far is freeze drying, as the flowers are better able to retain their natural shape and colour, plus you can have the bouquet kept as it was and mounted in a box frame that can be displayed in your home.
It’s best to have the freeze drying method carried out by a professional – many florists offer the service, for example. If you try it yourself at home, the end result is usually that the flowers crumble, disintegrate and lose all their original features, which can be heartbreaking when you wanted to preserve them.
If you want to opt for freeze drying, ideally you need to have it done as soon as possible. Many brides pre-book the service, so they can deliver their bouquet to the freeze drying company as soon as possible after the wedding. If you’ve not pre-booked anything, don’t panic.
You can help the life of your flowers by keeping them in a cool place. Put them into a large plastic bag with air in it, tie the end loosely, then place the bag in your fridge. Don’t put them in the freezer, as you don’t want the flowers to get that cold. As soon as you’ve arranged to have your flowers freeze dried, they’ll then be in a good state to go of and be treated.
Some companies will need to take apart the bouquet and then re-assemble it, so it may be handy to send some photos of how it looked on the day. The end result is very effective – realistic and life-like flowers, with full colour and shape and it can provide a lasting memento of your wedding day. Usually the bouquet is presented in a special display box frame, that can be mounted on your wall. Being under glass helps to further preserve the life of the flowers.