Dried flowers are a fast-growing new wedding trend, so we asked florist Rachel Bull of House of Dandelions to talk us through everything you need to know about having dried flowers at your wedding:
It’s easy to see the dried flower attraction. Gone are those hideous vases full of dusty shades of brown that a many of us might recall from the 1980s. These days dried flowers can be just as colourful, textural, delicate, dramatic, seasonal and impactful as their fresh counterparts. And they are fast becoming a big new trend in wedding floral design.
My obsession with dried flowers started after I over-ordered for an event a couple of years ago. I can’t stand waste, so instead decided to have a go at drying them to see what would happen. I was impressed at how well the flowers held their shape and colour (delphiniums, roses and amaranthus, in case you were wondering), and how relatively robust they were to work with once dried. I’ve been designing with them ever since, and here is what I’ve learned along the way.
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There is little you can’t do with dried flowers at a wedding. Discovering the abundance of dried produce out there has, for me, opened up a whole new world of versatile ingredients to work with.
Dried blooms lend themselves really well to tablescapes where lots of small bud vases and vintage bottles are placed down the centre. Stems are often long and curvy, thereby providing subtle height, while their diverse textures and shapes have space to be seen and appreciated. Seed pods, dried grasses and small, delicate flowers are ideal for buttonholes, with zero risk of wilting.
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Even in larger installations where lots of fresh foliage would have been used, similar looks can be achieved using dried hop vines, for example, or old man’s beard.
Of course, not all flowers dry well. Peonies, dahlias, and anemones are too soft. They don’t tend to hold their colour and instead just go brown. Other delicate things, such as forget-me-nots and wax flower, simply shrivel up. However, there are a huge range of blooms which do dry beautifully. These include hydrangea, delphinium, roses, craspedia, lavender, helichrysum, thistle, gypsophila and safflower – not to mention an incredible variety of seed heads and grasses.
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Wholesalers have caught onto the trend too, and are selling lots of popular grasses and foliage such as soft bunny tails, wheat and ruscus in gorgeous ranges of dyed colours, which only adds to their versatility.
The dried flower look lends itself really well to country meadow and rustic barn-style weddings, and to those celebrations with a more relaxed vibe rather than a formal wedding or one at a grand hotel venue. Dried, feathery pampas grass works really well with a boho theme, while large dried palm leaves can give serious structural wow factor to a tropical look. They are also, unsurprisingly, more popular for autumn and winter weddings than in the warmer months, because they offer couples a wider choice of flowers and foliage when lots of fresh blooms are out of season.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you combining them both. Even in spring and summer, dried flowers could be incorporated into a floral scheme in small ways, such as sprigs of dried herbs tied around napkins, or tiny dried posies as table favours.
If you are set on fresh flowers for your bridal bouquet, but would love to preserve it, you could ask your florist to make you a dried replica. It might be an interpretation of your original design, depending on the contents, but your florist should be able to match the colours and textures to provide you with an everlasting version to treasure for years to come.
It’s also really easy to dry fresh flowers at home, if you fancy having a practice head of your big day. Simply take your arrangement or bouquet apart and bunch together the different flower varieties. For example, put all the roses in one pile and all the delphinium in another. Then tie the stems together with some string and hang upside down in a warm, dry place until they have dried. The process usually takes a week or two.
As a final point, for couples keen to keep their wedding sustainable, dried flowers are a great option to consider because they reduce waste and are entirely re-usable. Arrangements can be divided up and given to guests after the celebrations, or taken home in their entirety to start a new life as stylish interior décor.
You might find that dried flowers are a little bit more economical than fresh blooms, too. Although, this always depends on the season and availability of products. Certainly, in terms of their longevity dried wedding flowers provide exceptional value. As long as they are kept dry, out of direct sunlight and in a safe place where they won’t get knocked, they should give you up to five years of floral enjoyment.
Rachel Bull is the owner of House of Dandelions floral design studio. Her online dried flower emporium can be found here.
For more ideas, why not read our guide to preserving your wedding flowers?