Who knew dried flowers could be big, bright, beautiful and totally wedding-worthy?
Picture a bouquet of dried flowers. If the image you’re conjuring is a drab bunch of crispy brown petals – the kind which wouldn’t look out of place at Miss Havisham’s wedding – think again. Dried blooms are on trend as a lasting and economical option, without having to compromise on the pretty factor.
Stateside brides-to-be are even holding potluck parties, where each maid brings their favourite flowers to create beautiful dried bouquets in advance of the big day. And a return to our national roots has helped growers in the dried flower industry see a resurgence of this trend.
“We’ve seen an increase in brides wanting dried flowers over the last three years,” confirms Amanda Barker from Essentially Hops, “and I think the trend in buying British has helped.” With the unpredictable UK weather, there can be a short window of seasonality for certain flower varieties. And when fresh flowers are scarce, dried versions have always provided a reliable alternative.
“Dried flowers are back, and the trend is for more rustic-looking styles such as wheat and lavender,” says Katie Plant from Shropshire Petals. While dried flowers can be just as flexible as their fresh counterparts in terms of design, by nature they lend themselves to country-style weddings. “They’re most obviously suited to rustic themes,” agrees Amanda. “Many of our brides tie the knot in converted barns, marquees or older, historic buildings, but decorative hops can be equally useful to soften the edges of modern wedding venues.”
As an expansion of The Traditional Flower Company, The Artisan Dried Flower Company recently launched in response to the increased demand for dried: “We initially started as a way of extending the seasons,” says founder Sam Ellson, “as well as to provide wild, bohemian designs which weren’t currently available in the marketplace.” The ability to use blooms out of season is a major pull for brides deciding to opt for dried, whether you have your heart set on peonies in September or summer meadow flowers in winter. Anything is possible if the flowers are selected and dried months before the wedding.
Time on your side
The ability to prepare flowers in advance is another draw: venues can be decorated days before without the threat of flowers wilting or dying, and bouquets can be perfected months prior to the big day. “Dried flowers will keep at their most perfect for three to four months,” explains Katie. “So you can tick flowers off your list well in advance and store them, rest-assured they will be ready for the wedding. Anything which can be prepared beforehand means less hassle and worry closer to the big day.”
Not only can brides get ahead on their planning, but those tying the knot in a destination wedding can take the uncertainty out of organising their flowers overseas. “Many of our brides who want dried flowers are travelling abroad and still want a bohemian look, as well as having total control over the floral designs,” says Sam.
Creative brides can also DIY their bouquets and avoid the stress of last-minute crafting the night before. “We often get brides who buy wheat and lavender to make their own arrangements,” says Katie. “If you buy a few bunches and make them up early, there’s always time to order more if you need. Whereas if you buy fresh, you always overbuy to make sure you don’t run out.”
Although each variety needs to be dried in different ways, getting crafty with dehydrated blooms isn’t as difficult as it sounds. “In fact, they’re easier than fresh flowers as time isn’t an issue,” explains Katie. “You won’t have to worry about how long they’ve been out of water, or how long before the wedding you can make the arrangements.” This is especially useful with floral circlets; they won’t wilt in the heat, and they can be made in advance, in time for your practice hair session.
The price is right
Dried flowers are priced at a competitive rate and are a less expensive way to use out-ofseason blooms without resorting to expensive imports. “Our bouquets are very competitive,” says Sam. “Our dried collections are around 15-20% cheaper than their fresh counterparts. Although brides should bear in mind that larger displays can be more expensive because flowers reduce in size as they dry so it requires more stems to make each one.”
If you’re not convinced enough to switch your just-picked petals quite yet, consider combining a mix of fresh and dried flowers, it can still lower the cost of your displays. And while fresh blooms will start looking worse for wear by the end of the night, then wilt away while you’re away on honeymoon, your dried flowers will stay practically perfect long after you’ve said ‘I do’. “They will eventually fade over a period of time,” says Amanda. “But many brides love the muted colours and keep their flowers for years.”
IMAGE: Lily Sawyer photography