Goldsboro News Argus Bridal Section

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Sunday, January 29, 2017 Goldsboro News-Argus — 18 Weddings are special moments for couples and the guests they invite to share their happiness on their big days. Beautiful weddings require sub- stantial planning, as every last detail must be considered for couples to enjoy the wedding of their dreams. Flowers play a big role in many weddings, and couples can add beauty and ambiance to the event by using floral arrangements in various ways. Modern floral arrangements are stunning, and many couples may not know that herbs, spices and flowers have been used in weddings for centuries. Today, flowers are used to decorate wedding venues, impart sweet fragrances and complement for- mal attire, but in ancient times they were used differently. Flowers were used to bestow good luck on the couple and keep bad omens away. Brides carried aromatic flowers and spices to keep evil spirits from spoiling the festivities, and some even tucked bulbs of garlic into their bouquets. In ancient Greece and Rome, both the bride and groom wore garlands made out of strong-smelling herbs flowers around their necks or heads. 9ese wreaths were considered gifts of nature, and thus extremely appropriate for a wed- ding. Traditionally, bridesmaids would be responsible for fashion- ing these floral components. In ancient Sweden, young girls would carry small bouquets of fragrant herbs down the aisle and the groom would put thyme in his pocket. 9ese aromatics were thought to help keep trolls at bay. Besides warding off spirits or hungry trolls, flowers also served more practical purposes throughout history. During the Middle Ages, people bathed less frequently than they do today. Bathing might only have occurred twice a year, once during summer and then again at Christmastime. Because many wed- dings took place in the spring, flowers were used to mask bodily odors. Not only were flowers and herbs carried, but they also would be sewn into clothing. Modern brides and grooms may no longer see their wedding days as times for opportunistic evil spirits. But that doesn't mean that couples cannot borrow from ancient traditions and incorporate flowers into their weddings in various ways. • Wreaths and garlands: Ask the florist to weave small flower buds, berries and vines to a headband, wreath or piece of twine so that the bride and groom can wear these flowers in the way they were worn by ancient Greeks and Romans. When cou- pled with Grecian-styled wedding gowns, brides can look like beautiful goddesses on their wedding days. • Fragrant favors: Tuck dried rose petals and other fragrant flowers into sachets that are embroi- dered with the wedding date and couple's names. Guests can use these sachets to keep clothings smelling fresh in drawers or as subtle air fresheners around the house. • Edible flowers: Ask the caterer to make meals flower-friendly by including some edible blooms in the salad or as a garnish on meals. • Raining petals: In lieu of bubbles or birdseed, guests can shower the newlyweds with rose petals after the ceremony. • Memorial: Some couples like to honor departed family members. Floral arrangements with small placards can make for fitting memorials. A bride's gown may gar- ner its share of attention come her wedding day, but floral arrangements also tend to impress guests. Fresh flowers make a wedding and the ensuing reception more inviting and appealing. According to 9e, couples can expect to spend 8 percent of their wedding budget on flow- ers. For the average wedding, that equates to rough- ly $2,000 for various arrangements and bouquets. 9at can be a considerable expense for fragile flow- ers with a shelf life of only a day or two. But instead of tossing beautiful bouquets and other flowers into the garbage once the wedding day has come and gone, couples can employ various methods to preserve those impressive displays for years to come. Air drying One of the easiest ways to preserve flowers is to dry them out. 9is is best done by hanging blooms upside down so they will remain straight and not warp or wither while drying. Secure flowers in small bundles and hang from an out-of-the-way spot in a cool, dry area. 9e flowers may need to remain hanging for up to three weeks before they are completely dried out. After which, gently remove the flowers and arrange them in a vase or another container. Otherwise, reassemble a bouquet how it was and carefully display. Pressing Pressing is another way to preserve floral bouquets and arrangements. To press flowers, find a few heavy books to stack or another weighted object. Place the flowers between parchment paper or waxed paper and lay the heavy items on top. You also can place the flowers in tissue paper between the pages of a book so they are not jostled. Leave the blooms for a week or two and then check on them before putting them in a shadow box or photo frame. Chemical drying Silica gel, borax and regular sand can be used to dry and preserve flowers as well. 9ese can be handy for people who desire to preserve an entire bouquet as-is. Silica gel is a desiccant commonly found in small packets inside of new shoes and purses. It also can be purchased at home improvement retailers and is used to dry out musty basements and other areas. Fill a deep container halfway with the silica gel or other drying material. Put in the bouquet and then gently add more product to the top of the flowers so they are completely submerged. Place a snug cover over the top of the container and let everything sit for about a week. Slowly the moisture will be absorbed from the flowers. Some people choose to spray dried flowers with a sealant to keep them looking nice longer. An all- purpose craft spray might work. You also can ask for recommendations from the florist who handled your arrangements, and that florist may even pre- serve the flowers for you for an additional fee. INCORPORATE FLOWERS in various ways how to preserve wedding bouquets & arrangements

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