Saving mementos from your wedding is something every bride needs to think about before the big event. From your flowers to your cake top and wedding dress, if you’re planning on preserving these items, you’ll need to make arrangements for how they will be kept post-wedding so you can enjoy them for many years to come.
Some of the mementos you will want to keep require special handling and you will need to decide how you’d like this done before whisking off on your days-long honeymoon, especially if you’re thinking of doing these things yourself.
Preserving Your Wedding Bouquet
If you’ve decided you’d rather save your wedding bouquet than toss it to your single attendees, the most important thing to remember is that you only have a limited amount of time to start this process. Due to the perishable-nature of your blooms, you’ll need to act quickly before they start to wilt or brown. This can happen in as little as a couple of days, so it’s best to start sooner rather than later. There are a few basic methods for preserving your wedding bouquet at home.
Air drying: This is the easiest and least expensive method. The only drawback is that the color of the flowers will fade to a more muted hue. All you need to do is remove the lower leaves, arrange the flowers as you like, fasten the stems together with an elastic band, and hang them upside-down in a dry, dark space. Bouquets will usually take anywhere from one to three weeks to dry.
Pressing: Place the arrangement between sheets of absorbent blotting paper, place them on a flat surface, and put something heavy on top such as a telephone book. Most flowers will dry within three to four days. When the stems feel brittle, you know the bouquet has dried completely. Now you just need to decide if you’d like the bouquet placed in a clear, glass frame or your wedding scrapbook.
Silica gel or sand: Pour some silica gel beads or silica sand in an airtight container, gently lay the flowers down, pour the remaining portion on top, and close the container. Flowers will normally dry within a week.
Saving Your Wedding Cake Top
The key to preserving your cake top is to have it placed in a freezer the night of your wedding. Arrange for a close friend or relative to carefully take the top layer of your cake home following the wedding; remove any items that won’t last, such as flowers or fruit; and place the cake in the freezer for 24 hours. This is meant to harden the icing.
The next day, remove the cake and wind freezer plastic wrap securely around the cake itself, along with its cardboard plate. The idea behind wrapping items placed in the freezer is to prevent condensation, which can cause icicles to form and “burn” the cake. The best way to prevent freezer burn is to try to inhibit air bubbles from forming, so wrap the cake as tightly as possible.
Place the wrapped cake into a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid. Or you can place it back into its cake box, but be sure to tape the box sides shut. Then wrap the container or cake box in several layers of freezer plastic wrap.
Now, just enjoy your first year of wedded bliss and remember to take the cake out of the freezer and place it into a refrigerator 48 hours before your anniversary. Before sharing that first bite, remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for two to three hours. It should then be ready for your anniversary celebration.
Storing Your Wedding Dress
Whether you spent months scouring every inch of every bridal shop within a hundred-mile radius, it was passed down to you from your grandmother, or whether you happened upon it one day in a consignment shop, your wedding dress was center stage with you during your entire wedding day. If you’re thinking of preserving it, either for future generations or purely for its sentimental value, you’ll have a little bit of prep work to do.
Firstly, you’ll want to get your dress professionally dry cleaned, preferably as soon as possible. Chances are, the reception wasn’t good to your gown and you’ll want to make sure to get rid of any stains or smudges–visible or not–before they have the chance to darken and set into the material. Even if it appears as though your dress made it through relatively unscathed, even invisible stains or coatings (such as those made from perspiration or special finishes on the dress) can darken or yellow over time and may not be removable later on. Also, this ensures that it will be properly pressed: with all creases in their places, and smooth areas free from wrinkles.
It is generally not recommended that you hang your dress, especially if it is heavy or made from delicate materials as the weight of it may stretch, tear, or distort the fabric over time. For the box-storage method, you’ll need to invest in some uncolored, unbuffered, acid-free tissue as well as an acid-free storage box. Acid-free materials are important to prevent acid stains that can mar the fabric over time. Place tissue into the arms, bodice, and other areas to maintain its shape. Then, wrap your dress in the same tissue, keeping an eye out for creasing, which can stretch the material. Fold carefully into an acid-free box and store in a climate-controlled area away from direct sunlight.With the right storage techniques, your wedding mementos can last you a lifetime and become cherished heirlooms for generations to come.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.