Two Precious Wedding-Day Keepsakes
Your wedding dress and bridal bouquet are two of your most memorable wedding keepsakes. They both have one other thing in common — they can be easily damaged if not cared for properly.
That’s why you may want to make arrangements in advance to have them taken care of. Long before your wedding day arrives you should know exactly who will be preserving two of your most precious keepsakes.
A professional is always the best choice for preserving irreplaceable keepsakes; however, if you want to do it yourself here are a few tips to help.
Let's start with the flowers. If you plan on keeping your bouquet, make sure it gets refrigerated as soon as possible after the ceremony. Then you have a few choices to make:
- Do you want to keep the shape of your bouquet? If so, there are a couple of ways to dry your flowers. It will take a few weeks for these approaches to work, so before you start make sure you have an out-of-the-way location to store your bouquet as it dries.
- The simplest way to dry out your bouquet is to take a piece of string, wrap it around your bouquet and then hang your flowers upside down in a cool, dark place like a closet. When they are dry, spray some aerosol hairspray on them to keep them in place. A downside to this simple approach is that your flowers will have shrunk a bit and lost some of their vibrance when you are done, but this option is a cost-effective way to save your wedding bouquet so many brides find it worth the trade offs.
- A more complicated way to save your bouquet is to use silica gel to dry it out (you'll have to order the gel). Using gloves, place the gel in the bottom of a container and then carefully add your bouquet. Continue to fill the box with the silica gel, being careful not to break off pieces of the bouquet as you go. When you're done, seal the container. When you remove the gel (again, using gloves), be careful not to damage your bouquet.
- Would you rather just keep a small piece of your bouquet? There are a variety of ways to save a few of your wedding flowers, so choose the one that feels right for you.
- It's easy to make potpourri out of your wedding flowers. Simply pick the petals you want, place them in a bowl or on a flat surface to dry out for a couple of weeks. Then put them in a potpourri jar and add a little scented oil. It will be a fragrant reminder of your wedding.
- Another option, straight out of your childhood, is to press your wedding flowers. Choose individual flowers and then place newspaper under and on top of them. Place heavy books below and on top of the newspaper-wrapped flowers (old phone books work well). In a couple of weeks you will have flat flowers that you can frame or mount.
There are fewer options when it comes to storing your wedding dress. The key is really to plan ahead and use the right materials:
- Hang up your dress when you take it off. This sounds obvious, but take a moment to hang it up as soon as you can after you take it off.
- Put it in plastic to transport it home, but remove it from the plastic for permanent storage as quickly as you can. Plastic contains chemicals that may stain a dress over time, so you want to keep it in plastic only while you transport it and get everything ready to store it properly.
- Have it professionally cleaned by a reputable wedding dress cleaner.
- Buy the right products to store it, which typically include acid-fre tissue paper, muslin or silk fabric, and a large acid-free cardboard box without a plastic window. Choose the largest box you can for the space you have to store the dress in.
- Line the box with the tissue paper first.
- Carefully fold the dress and put it into the box, being careful not to create creases. Use the tissue paper between the fabric to keep embellishments from snagging the dress and to create padding between layers to keep the dress from getting creased.
- Wrap it in the fabric to create one last layer of protection and close the box. Do not seal it with tape as air circulation can actually be good for the dress.
- Choose a good storage location in advance. It should be somewhere with little temperature fluctuation and no direct sunlight.
Like with most wedding details, planning ahead will help your wedding day go much smoother. You should know what you want to do with your precious keepsakes long before your wedding day. Then you can relax and enjoy your day!
Share your thoughts on choosing someone to preserve your keepsakes vs. a DIY approach in the comments below.