The Second Life of Flowers: How to Preserve Your Wedding Bouquet

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”

― Claude Monet

Every decision you make while designing your wedding is special, and on the day you’ll step back and look around you to see your story told through each detail, personal to you. Flowers will be the punctuation in that story – they’ll be the splashes of colour, the waves of scent, and the soft threads that join each chapter.

It may seem that the flowers are one of the elements with the most ephemeral lifetime, and perhaps the most difficult to preserve or enjoy after the celebrations have finished. For us flower lovers, it can be sad to imagine that all these lovingly curated blooms will simply wilt and vanish into the memories of the day. And while in some ways that’s true, it is actually possible to give them a second life in some beautifully unexpected ways. I’ve gathered below some ideas that I love – through the work of talented artisans paying homage to the magic of flowers.

Botanical Illustrations

Charlotte Argyrou

Charlotte Argyrou - Wedding Bouquet Illustration Service
Photo by Nicole Howe

I had the pleasure of meeting Charlotte when I first started my business, and I’ve loved seeing her brand flourish over the last few years – culminating with recently launched stunning new website. Following a career as a high fashion publicist, Charlotte now follows her heart (and delights her clients) as a multi-talented botanical illustrator, from her studio in Greenwich, in South East London. Her drawings are full of captivating detail, grace, and complexity, and celebrate all the exquisite colours and textures of the natural world.

Charlotte Argyrou - Wedding Bouquet Illustration Service
Photo by Nicole Howe

In addition to private commissions, Charlotte has also designed a suite of services specifically around brides and grooms. Her Wedding Bouquet Illustration Service is a wonderful and truly unique way of preserving and enhancing the floral memories of a wedding day.

“These bespoke hand-drawings are highly influenced by vintage botanical illustration, but sit beautifully in the contemporary setting of a modern home. Each individual illustration is a modern heirloom, and makes an exceptional wedding gift or one-year paper anniversary gift. ” – Charlotte

Her original hand-drawn illustrations come in two versions – either the full bouquet for £290 (40 x 30 cm), or a mini bouquet for £145 (18 x 18 cm) – and come signed and mounted on heavyweight acid free paper, with a beautiful Certificate of Authenticity.

Follow Charlotte on Instagram: @craftist_in_residence

Ceramic Impressions

Louise Condon

Louise Condon works her magic on clay, plaster, wire, glass and mixed media – but it was her botanical impressions on ceramic that I first fell head over heels for. She designs and makes her handmade pieces from her studio in Chester, and regularly displays her work at art galleries, flower shows, and preservation commissions around the UK.

One of the services she offers is the preservation of wedding bouquet flowers in ceramics – anything from the whole bouquet to just a few stems – by pressing and casting blooms onto clay. These personal keepsakes could be either wall mounted tiles of plaques, or unique vases of various sizes, all completely bespoke to you and to the proportion of the flowers you wish to preserve (either fresh or dried). The pieces are all made using a rustic crank, which gives them strength and allows each piece to reflect the detail and charm of the pressed flowers. The clay vases are then glazed on the inside to allow for flowers to be contained – and can even be personalised with dates and names. Not only are these exquisite decorations for your home, they also make truly unique gifts for bridesmaids and family members – I particularly love her adorable mini bud vases!

Louise Condon - Ceramic Botanist - Tiles

“The pieces I create are tactile and capture the life, structure and form of the plant at that particular point in its life span – and each piece I create is completely individual in its composition. It’s a modern approach to immortalising the flowers, and a subtle way to capture memories from a special day that will last forever.” – Louise

Each piece is decorated with oxides to enhance the wonderful detail captured through the process and create a fossil-like effect. The body of the clay is left raw which enhances the natural texture through firing to give a charmingly modern, rustic appearance.

Follow Louise on Instagram: @ceramic_botanist

Hand-dyed Silk

Kylie Siobhan

Kylie Siobhan - Naturally Dyed Silk

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Kylie Siobhan a few times now – in fact, I’ve been trying to do so as much as I can since discovering her gorgeous work this year. Kylie is a natural dyer and artisan who creates and manufactures unique textile pieces, each telling a completely one-of-a-kind story. She explores the world of natural dyeing using locally foraged plant matter, food waste and non-toxic metals – tinkering away in her studio in a converted Victorian warehouse in West Hampstead, London. She grows and forages local dye plants, gathers windfall, and also collects flower waste from local florists.

“Natural pigments are a fantastic source of vibrant colour, while empowering us to connect with our natural environment.” – Kylie

Kylie Siobhan - Naturally Dyed Silk

As one of her bespoke services, Kylie can design and make unique silk scarves, slip dresses and kimono robes using your leftover wedding flowers – beautifully unique mementos of the colours of your celebrations. She captures these hues onto cloth by using the bundle-dye technique (gently rolling and steaming the petals between the textile), allowing the petals and leaves to create natural, intriguing patterns.

Follow Kylie on Instagram: @kyliesiobhanstudio

Keepsakes in Resin

Suzie Dyball

Suzie Dyball - Enchanted Resin

Suzie from Enchanted Resin specialises in setting fresh flowers into beautiful resin keepsakes – such as spherical paperweights, large blocks, letters, and even delicate jewellery items. I first came across her work through her Etsy shop, and was delighted to discover that she offers this creative flower preservation service to brides and grooms – each memento completely unique and hand-made.

Suzie Dyball - Enchanted Resin

All of her pieces are made using liquid, jewellery-grade resin, set in moulds and coloured and decorated using a variety of techniques and materials. The resin itself is crystal clear, smooth, and light, and freezes the flowers in time – and she loves experimenting with adding metallic leaf, ink, feathers, or any dry materials that are meaningful to you.

I adore how abstract and modern this look can be, and how each resin pour is one of a kind – these would make such charming gifts, and such delicate reminders of that moment in time.

Follow Suzie on Instagram: @enchanted_resin

charity donations

floral angels

Floral Angels Team

In a slightly different vein, but still embodying the concept of giving flowers a second life – there’s the wonderful option of donating your leftover wedding flowers to charity. The fantastic team at Floral Angels offer this service in London, whereby they recycle donated flowers from weddings, events, florists, and retailers to restyle them into beautiful bouquets/arrangements and deliver them to those in need within the community.

Floral Angels is a 100% volunteer-run, non-profit charity, founded by Amanda Romain, Julie Ritter and Frances Hunter – after a chance meeting at a floral design course led to a shared passion for reducing the wastage in the floral event industry. Their team delivers to hospices, palliative care homes, cancer centres, women’s shelters, hospitals, and much more.

“We believe that flowers have healing properties which can impact people’s recovery rate and well-being. When we deliver the bouquets we offer support, encouragement and a moment of kindness. And the most beautiful thing about the process is that by having someone show genuine compassion and care makes it likely that the kindness gets passed on.” – Floral Angels Team

Floral Angels Team

Follow the Floral Angels on Instagram: @floralangels

pressed flowers

framed florals

Framed Florals Wedding Bouquet Preservation

In my quest for soulful ways of preserving flowers, I came across the wonderful work of Lacie Porta at Framed Florals. Following a desire to preserve her own wedding flowers, she founded a company that dries, presses, and creatively preserves flowers in custom-made frames – from her light-filled studio in Brooklyn, NY. Her work is inspired by fine art, and each of her designs is refreshingly modern, airy, and unique. She combines her love for Mid Century Modern and Scandinavian aesthetics with her adoration of plants and flowers – and the result is exquisite. I absolutely adore the organic nature of these bespoke heirlooms, and how gracefully they preserve that happy memory of looking down at your wedding bouquet for the first time.

Floral preservation is a slow art form and a ton of time and attention to detail goes into each frame. Our pieces, while minimal, hold significane and love in their compositions. Without being overtly “wedding”, your frame will hang in your home for years to come as a sweet nod to your day.” – Lacie Porta

Follow Lacie on Instagram: @framedflorals

For those of us in the UK hoping to take inspiration from Lacie’s work, why not try your own? Here are the key steps to pressing your own flowers:

  • Select a few flowers, preferably clean, dry blooms free of spots or blemishes.
  • Spread them out face down on clean parchment paper (or wax paper).
  • Lay the parchment paper with the flowers inside the pages of a heavy book.
  • Add another place of parchment paper on top to keep the flowers free of ink, and shut the book.
  • Weigh it down with something heavy, like a vase or more books.
  • Leave it to dry for seven to 10 days. For larger flowers with more moisture, consider changing the wax paper regularly and leave to flatten and dry for up to six weeks. 
  • Once the wedding flowers are flat and dry (they should have a “papery” texture), you can arrange and frame them however you wish!

Thank you so much to all the lovely ladies who took the time to chat with me about their services – I hope these ideas have helped you brainstorm on how to preserve your wedding flowers in a mindful, beautiful way! If you’d like to have a chat, or would like any support in planning or styling your wedding, don’t hesitate to get in touch.