2018 Brides & Grooms – Preserving your wedding memories
There have been 50 years of memories layered like a cake in the lives of Dave and Brenda Graber. The couple of Indian Run Road in Marietta recently celebrated the milestone anniversary and Brenda recalled why she saved the top layer of the wedding cake.
“I think it was a superstition and you were supposed to wait until your first anniversary and eat it,” she said.
Many anniversaries and three children later, Brenda said she remembered how the cake looked but not so much how it tasted.
“We got married in December so I remember it was a three-tiered cake with red roses and green leaves. We wrapped it up in plastic wrap and foil and put it in a box in the deep freeze…I don’t think it tasted very good,” she laughed.
According to Brides.com, the superstition goes back to when couples often had little money but were expected to start having children almost as soon as the honeymoon was over. The small cake was supposed to be saved and used to celebrate the christening ceremony of the first-born child. More often than not, couples now incorporate that memory of their wedding into the celebration of their first year together.
“I usually tell my brides that I would not want to eat a year-old cake that’s been in the freezer,” said Cindy Mallahan, owner of the Village Cakery in Vincent. “It’s better to save it until you come back from the honeymoon and eat it then. Then get a replica cake for the first anniversary.”
However, she has had brides rave about eating their cake even a year later.
“If you are going to eat it, the best way to preserve it is to refrigerate it that night to set the icing, wrap the cake itself in cellophane and put it back in the box, then wrap the box in cellophane and foil and put it in the deep freeze, not the refrigerator,” Mallahan suggests.
Preserving part of the wedding cake is just one way to hold on to the memories of what is, for many couples, the happiest day of their lives. While photos tell a fuller story, preservation of individual items can also add to the joy of recollecting such a happy time.
Admiring a beautiful bouquet doesn’t have to end when the ceremony is over. There are many preservation methods to keep those buds and blooms looking as fresh as the day they were picked.
“I think I did six last wedding season. It is definitely a trend that is getting more popular,” said Chris Kiggans, manager of Two Peas in a Pod Florist in Marietta.
Different methods include coating the blooms with silica sand to dry them out and preserve the shape and color. Brides can then put them in a case, have them framed or whatever they choose. Not all flowers will hold up to this method, however. Typically roses, hydrangeas, carnations and more hearty stems can take the pressure. Using epoxy resin to cover a few of the blooms to make a permanent paper weight or other design is another option. Also, a talented painter could be commissioned to paint a portrait of the bouquet.
“Most of the brides who ask me to preserve their bouquets already have an idea of what they’d like to do with it,” Kiggans said. “It’s just a nice keepsake memory.”
Bloombeads Freezeframe is a company located in Dayton that offers three-dimensional floral preservation and jewelry.
“It’s not every day that we spend money surrounding ourselves with our favorite flowers, so yes, wedding flowers are
incredibly unique, and we have always felt privileged to offer a service that allows our clients to enjoy those blooms for years after the wedding,” said Bloombeads Freezeframe founder and co-owner Nanci Hames.
Another thing that many brides want to hold onto is the “perfect” wedding gown that took so much time to pick out.
Vogue Swift in Marietta offers gown preservation, according to owner/operator Andy Fenton, who runs the company along with his brother, Adam.
“This is something that’s requested of us every month of the year,” he said. “We do it all in-house, using acid-free tissue paper to box it up.”
The cost to preserve a gown is roughly $250, according to Fenton, who recommends not trying to deal with stains yourself. Wedding planners suggest factoring preservation methods into the budget.
The Grabers have two daughters and one son. The eldest daughter, Tonya, was married in 1993.
“We had her dress preserved. It was very expensive and we still have it at our house,” Brenda said. “I think the idea was that she could pass it down to her daughter but I don’t even know if she would want it or if it would fit. Once you open it, , though, the preservation of it is gone.”
– The gown
– Seek a gown preservation specialist, not standard dry cleaning.
– Be aware of hidden stains and point them out for treatment.
– Pay attention to the care label.
– Don’t wait. Stains that sit for too long can really damage the dress and a white gown can start yellowing quickly.
– Make sure your gown is sealed in an airtight, acid-free container. Use tissue paper to fill the bust, sleeves, etc.
– Be sure to consider the cost of preservation when you are finalizing the budget.
– Store in a dark, cool place.
– The cake top
– Remove any sugar flowers and other decorations and set them aside.
– Chill the cake well before wrapping it up so that the icing hardens. This way it won’t stick to the plastic wrap.
– Wrap the unadorned cake in several layers of plastic wrap — not aluminum foil, which can cause freezer burn.
– Seal the wrapped cake in an air-tight bag and place it in the freezer.
– Snag a ribbon (from your bouquet, the centerpieces, your hair, a gift) and tie it around the cake package to mark it so that you don’t mistake it for anything else.
– The bouquet
– Press the flowers
To press your wedding bouquet, select as many flowers as you’d like, and spread them out on clean parchment paper. Then, lay the parchment paper with the flowers inside the pages of a heavy book, like a phone book or a textbook. Add another place of parchment paper on top to keep the flowers free of ink and shut the book. Then, weigh it down with something heavy, like a vase or more books. Leave it to dry for seven to 10 days. Once the wedding flowers are flat and dry, you can arrange and frame them however you like.
– Hang the flowers upside down
Another simple way to preserve your wedding bouquet is to let it air dry, gather up the stems and tie them tightly together. Hang the whole bouquet upside down in a dry, temperate area, such as a hallway closet. Let all the blooms air dry. Check back on them in a couple of weeks and you’ll find your bouquet has dried completely.
– Use silica gel to preserve the flowers
Silica gel isn’t an actual gel but a porous sand that works to absorb water and dry flowers in one to seven days. You can pick up silica gel at any craft store for under $10. Form a base of silica gel in an airtight container and nestle your blooms in the sand. Then gently pour the silica gel around the petals, making sure the shape of the flower isn’t compromised. Keep filling until the container is full to the top, and seal it with the lid. Silica gel preserves the color of the flower nicely, too. When the week’s up, remove the flowers carefully and spray them with either an artist’s fixative spray or hairspray.
– Preserve your flowers with epoxy resin
Use clear epoxy resin to preserve your flowers in decorative shapes. To make a globe paperweight, get a spherical mold from your local craft store. Fill it halfway with the epoxy resin and delicately arrange the flowers in the fluid. Fill it to the top and let it dry. After you take the mold off, you’ll have a gorgeous decoration that will keep your wedding bouquet in bloom forever.
– Dip your wedding flowers in wax
Wax flowers are not a permanent form of preservation, but they will extend the life of your flowers for up to six months. To wax-preserve your bouquet, you’ll need paraffin wax and a saucepan. Melt the wax in boiling water until the fluid is even and smooth. Then turn the stove to low so the wax mixture cools down slightly but is still warm. Next, take your best blooms (avoid any that are stained or wilting) and gently dip them into the wax solution. Immediately pull them out. Hang them upside down. After they’re dry, you’ll have beautifully preserved flowers for months to come.
– Have your flowers painted
While having your wedding bouquet painted is not preserving the actual flowers, it’s still a lovely way to preserve the bouquet. Commission a local artist to paint your bouquet and it can live on in your home forever.