Monday, June 20, 2016

Preserving Wedding Flowers Without Spending a Fortune

I'm still loving wedding memories! The bride was beautiful, the flowers were gorgeous, the wedding was so meaningful...

But two days later, I was cleaning up the wedding leftovers (tons of wedding leftovers!), and I saw this beautiful display in our living room:

The flowers were so lovely! A combination of blush roses, ivory roses, peonies, hydrangea, baby's breath and one cascade of orchids in the bride's bouquet.

Such beauty, and such a short lifespan. Already by Monday morning the peonies were about done.

Years ago my mother hung my bouquet from the rafter in our garage to dry it. It was lovely...and fragile. One bump from a curious dog and that bouquet was in pieces. Lots of dry, crumbly, rose petal pieces.

Yes, I cried.

But then I gathered up the pieces and put them in a mason jar. I still have that jar, and love what it represents.

I wanted to do something similar for my daughter, but she married a cat-loving man. I knew that if I tried to dry the bouquet, it would suffer the same fate as mine had thirty-four years ago.

So then I thought - why not just skip a step and put it into the jar?

The first thing to do was to dry the flowers. Instead of the hot garage, I used our dehydrator. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use an oven set to very low heat - 110° is the recommended maximum. If you leave your oven door ajar and set the temp as low as you can, you'll be okay.

I started with the rose buds. I knew they would take longer to dry, so I set them on the bottom tray. They took about 36 hours.

Then I cut branchlets off of the hydrangeas...

...and the baby's breath.

Each of these trays only took about six hours to dry.

Then I piled petals into the other trays.

I mixed the rose and peony petals together, and let them dry. They took between 8 and 10 hours. Then I'd pour them into a big bowl and fill the trays again.

We had a LOT of flowers to work with!

Instead of the mason jar I had used for my own wedding flowers, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought three sealable jars. Two small ones for the groom's mother and myself, and a large one for the happy couple.

Some of those "chalkboard" vinyl labels worked great!

So, how have you preserved memories of a special day?

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:


  1. Wonderful pictures. They made me smile. Thank you.

    The photo album is it for me. You are very creative. Got me beat!!

    1. The photo album is the best, isn't it?

      My biggest problem is that all of my pictures from the last several years are digital. I love digital cameras, but I need to select some to print out every once in a while. Nothing lasts forever, and the way technology keeps leaping forward, I can imagine a time when I won't have access to those digital pictures anymore!

  2. Oh, that is lovely! Since we were married in a different country, I couldn't bring back my bouquet easily. I wish I'd thought of this!

    1. It turned out very nice, and made my daughter happy. What could be better? :)

  3. What a great idea, Jan! And a beautiful memory jar, to boot. Love this!

    1. I'm glad I made the two small ones as well as the big one for Carrie and Josh. Mine is sitting on the same shelf as family pictures. So sweet. :)

  4. This is a brilliant idea!!!!! I've never had success with drying flowers. Do your remember the weird gel thing you put with the flowers in the microwave and it was supposed to preserve them? It was a short-lived fad. It never worked for me.

    Dare I confess this here? Oh, we're all animal lovers, right? So you won't think I'm strange. I might have a little porcelain jar with a collection of doggy whiskers in it. When my daughter was little I read about an old wives tale that says if you find a dog whisker you'll have good luck. That girl found dropped whiskers everywhere! So we got a sweet little jar with a dog painted on the lid and slipped all that good luck inside. Those pups have crossed over the rainbow bridge and the daughter has moved out but I can't bring myself to toss the whiskers. LOL

    1. Doggy whiskers? I'm heading out to the garage for an empty canning jar right now....

      What a cute idea, and a great way to remember those pets who are with us for such a short time!

    2. I love that, Kav. When we decided to do chemo with Fenway, one of the arguments in favor was that dogs don't lose their hair like humans do. They do however lose their whiskers. I was so sad when I noticed that he only had one left. When that one fell out, I wanted to keep it. I had no idea it was lucky. ;)

      His new ones are growing in now, so I guess that's a lucky sign of improvement.

  5. Jan, that's really beautiful.

    My mother dried mine on a background of green velvet and framed it for me.

    1. That sounds lovely!

      And wonderful news about Fenway - whiskers growing in HAS to be a good sign!

  6. Hello from the land of computer problems! My work computer died and is in the shop so I'm hogging the shared computer for a little bit.... Jan!!!! This is awesome...

    I tried preserving Sarah's flowers and it was a fiasco.

    Big fiasco. I can see that the dehydrator is a great idea, I bought those drying crystals, and spent too much money and pretty much wrecked everything.


  7. Nice post! Liked your tips for preserving wedding flowers for years. Thank you very much for these ideas. Very soon I will tie the knot at Malibu wedding venues and will love to use your ideas to preserve my wedding flowers.