The Wedding Bouquet

By Ann Ipock

The Wedding Bouquet

The wedding bouquet was beautiful –the bride, even more so. (Of course she was, being that the bride was our daughter, Katie.) Picture this: rich, yellow (like French’s mustard) velvety calla lilies, muted pink peonies, yellow Billy-buttons, deep plum roses (which matched the wrapped satin ribbon), papery dusty-rose anemones with the bold black centers, and green-and-pink tinged hydrangeas, plus spiky lilies in both plum and green. Breathtaking.

The bridesmaids had similar bouquets – of course, smaller. But the theme of deep plum and mustard yellow continued throughout the décor for this October wedding. And it worked perfectly! In addition, the altar flowers featured amaranth, with its regal burgundy, feathery tendrils draping over the urn and mounds of hydrangeas supporting the base.

Being a nature lover and gardener, I spent many hours perusing catalogs and visiting nurseries and florists, since this was “my thing” and Katie was happy to let me do so. How can I describe this passion of mine?

Henry David Thoreau said it best, “I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”

It was my intention to preserve this perfect globe of glory after the wedding. With a mixture of fear and trepidation, I did it! I simply hung the bouquet upside down to dry (like I’d done with countless herbs and roses over the years) and it worked wonderfully! Because it was the most spectacular, personal flower project I’d ever done, I fretted over the method. Maybe I should try something more substantial, more complicated, more guaranteed, requiring research and a new method. But, why? Maybe I should Google “flower preservation” and send it away to a company that does this full-time, if such a company exists. But, would I trust them? What if it got lost or damaged? I couldn’t take that chance. Plus, again, my previous results of much-less revered plant bundles dried just fine. It paid off to go with my gut instinct. It usually does – talk about women’s intuition! The bouquet dried perfectly!

But, an added bonus: I was able to dry every single bouquet (that wasn’t taken home with the bridesmaids), altar flower arrangements (two), reception table bouquets and even boutonnieres and corsages. For anyone who has ever contemplated this seemingly gargantuan task, let me tell you: it’s easy, cheap and extremely rewarding! In fact, the only negative – and it’s really not one to me – is the time it takes to dry, being a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the flower’s nature.

As I mentioned, I took the bridal bouquet and the mini-bouquets and tied each one individually with heavy twine. I then turned them upside down and hung them on a hook in a closet that’s dark and rarely used inside our home. For the more papery flowers, I placed them on actual window screens, which I placed between two chairs upstairs in our loft. Next, I took the chunkier flowers, such as peonies and gerbera daisies, and placed them in plastic shoe boxes with silica gel, a powdery drying medium available at craft stores, directions are on the box, read them carefully. There were a couple of flowers that didn’t dry as well, such as belles of Ireland, but even those were passable.

You may wonder what I was planning to do with all these flowers! Let me tell you: of the “loose” flowers or non-bouquet ones, those will be made into potpourri at some point in time. In fact, my sister, Cathy made potpourri for both of her daughters from their wedding flowers; they each picked out their own essential oil for fragrance as well. And finally, one very tall, clear cylindrical vase holds most of the gorgeous round green-and-pink tinged hydrangeas; and adds ambience and warmth to our guest bedroom.

But the most exciting thing for me was presenting the bouquet, housed inside a sturdy shadowbox, to Katie and Michael. As it was Christmas time, Michael’s parents were dining at our house for our yearly standing rib roast (they have us in their home for turkey and all the trimmings at Thanksgiving); and my sister, Cathy, and her husband, Paul, were also with us. The eight of us stood there speechless. I grabbed my cellphone and took some pretty awesome photos.

I was actually a little sad to see the bouquet leave my home – I’m like that with treasured items. But I realized I’ll have the pleasure of knowing Katie and Michael will look at it fondly in their own home, thinking back to that wonderful day in our beautiful church which was filled with family and friends. The day they wore the Greek crowns (his family tradition) and Katie held that beautiful bouquet (drying it, now being my new tradition) and said, “I do.” Plus, I’ll see it every time I visit them – and you can bet that’s pretty often. Especially since they will be having their first baby, a girl, to be born in the spring. And perhaps, one day, I’ll get to dry her wedding bouquet as well.

About this writer

  • Ann Ipock Ann Ipock, the first Sasee hat recipient, is the author of the “Life is Short” humor trilogy. She currently writes for four publications and lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with her husband, Russell.

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One Response to “The Wedding Bouquet”

  1. Ann, what a great idea — and how wonderful that you had such success with it! Also so neat that you’ve already got plans to dry your granddaughter’s bouquet one day. I just became a first-time grandma (to twin boys!) in early January so I know how excited you must be. Enjoy!!

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