How to Make Your Wedding Flowers Last Longer

Figuring out how to keep flowers fresh for your wedding can be a tricky task. Read on for our tips on how to keep flowers fresh.

By Maggy Lehmicke

rustic flowers
Photo by Daniel Neal Photography

It’s no mystery that floral design is a central aspect of many weddings—and also one of the most expensive—which is why it’s so important to make sure that you’re taking care of your blooms. While you want to get the most bang for your buck, the main priority is making sure that you have beautiful bouquets, displays, and arrangements for your guests to admire and your photographer to capture.

One of the more common concerns of many couples is how to keep their bouquets and arrangements looking fresh throughout the day. Though best handled by a professional florist, Erice McNeff from Everbloom Floral Design, and Michelle Norwood from Michelle Norwood Events weigh in on some simple wedding flower tips and preparations that couples should consider to ensure that their florals are fresh and photo-ready.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.

“If a couple is DIY-ing, it's important to always make sure you're keeping everything in water,” says McNeff. “Bouquets obviously get carried around all day, so keeping them in water until the last possible minute is a huge help!”

Try setting aside a cool, shaded place where you can keep the bouquets in a vase until you have to grab them for your photos or wedding ceremony. This will keep them from looking wilted or droopy when you’re needing them to look their absolute best.

“If you have a moment in between the first look and ceremony, set them back in water—after you give them a fresh trim—until it's go time,” McNeff says. These short hydration breaks will refresh your blooms and help keep them as close to their original state as possible.

How to Make Your Wedding Flowers Last Longer Photo Credit // Powers Photography Studio

Avoid Heat and Direct Sunlight.

For summer weddings, in particular, both McNeff and Norwood say that keeping fresh flowers in the sun and heat is one of the most common mistakes that couples make. Controlling the temperature and avoiding direct sunlight—or keeping them tucked away in a cool place—is one of the best ways to preserve your floral each flower arrangements.

“Keep your flowers in a floral cooler until you're ready to set the table, and make sure they have sufficient water supply,” Norwood says.

Know Your Flowers.

Despite being a fan favorite, peonies are actually one of the more fragile blooms to include in bouquets, as they can bruise quite easily. Other popular picks, such as gardenias and poppies, are also prone to wilting and browning.

If you’re getting married outdoors in July or August in a location that is notoriously hot, you’re going to want to choose the hardiest of flower varieties for your bouquets and arrangements. Daisies, ranunculus, carnations, and protea are all great options for a bridal bouquet. Succulents are another popular choice for this reason.

Trim the Stems and Change the Water Regularly.

If you’re getting yourwedding flowers relatively far in advance before your wedding day and making DIY-ing flower arrangements them yourself, Norwood says to make sure that you’re changing the water out at least every other day. She also suggests adding crushed aspirin or “flower food” to the water in the vase, which can also help preserve the flowers.

Another trick Norwood suggests is trimming the stems at an angle under running water. By cutting the stems at an angle, you’re allowing for better water intake, as the stems aren’t sitting flat against the bottom of the vase.

Use Potted Plants in Lieu of Certain Arrangements.

As mentioned earlier, there are some flower varieties that begin to wilt rapidly as soon as they are picked from the ground or removed from their water source. If you’re opting for something on the more fragile side, such as tulips or hydrangeas, consider using potted versions to line your aisle so that they’re fresh and vibrant throughout the entire day. Potted plants not only create an idyllic feel and add an extra dose of charm to an outdoor wedding ceremony, but they also leave a little extra room for creativity and pops of color.

How to Make Your Wedding Flowers Last Longer Photo Credit // BG Productions

Create Your Timeline Accordingly.

Though this might seem obvious, it’s always best to prioritize what’s most important to you when your wedding flowers are as fresh as possible. For example, if you want your bouquet to be on-point for the couple portraits, perhaps find a way to take those photos first, when your flowers are at their very best.

If your top priority is ensuring that everything is in full bloom for the walk down the aisle, then maybe you choose to do your portraits and group photos at the beginning of cocktail hour, instead. Again, there’s a lot more that goes into these decisions, but they’re things worth talking over with both your florist and photographer.