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How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh for a Wedding: Tips and Tricks

There is nothing more radiant than a bride walking down the aisle clasping a fresh, full-bodied bouquet. At Leaf + Petal, we love serving brides in New Orleans, where an abundant number of flowers grow locally. Our brides curate stunning bouquets without ever having to ship in exotic blooms. However, New Orleans’ notoriously high temperatures pose a threat to fresh-cut flowers. When florists fail to explain floral care, brides struggle to keep their flowers from looking wilted by the end of their first photography session. At Leaf + Petal, we want your flowers to stay fresh and full throughout your ceremony and reception, so we created a guide explaining how to keep cut flowers fresh for a wedding.

The Basics

You may think that your fresh-cut flowers would benefit from the sunlight, but this will actually cause them to wither. While it’s true that flowers need the sun when they’re growing, as soon as they’re cut, sunlight causes them to decay faster. Make sure you keep your flowers in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use them. Also, keep them away from vented areas or rooms with a strong draft. Cut flowers will wilt just as readily under direct air as they will sunlight.

Even once they’re cut, it’s very important to keep your flowers hydrated. However, you need to take special care with your water’s temperature. Hot water will dehydrate your flowers, and cold water will shock and wither your blooms. Instead, use warm water. Flowers are able to easily absorb warm water, which helps them retain their form. The temperature of the water can enhance your flowers’ longevity.

2 Easy Steps to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

Here are two easy steps, explaining how to keep cut flowers fresh for a wedding. If you do nothing but follow these two basic strategies, your flowers will stay looking lovely for your photos.

  1. When you arrive at your venue, trim your flowers diagonally and place them in warm water. The water should be approximately six inches up the stems. Trim any foliage that is submerged beneath the waterline away. Why diagonally? Cutting your flowers diagonally exposes their watering channels.

  2. Since you will only be holding your bouquet during your ceremony and photography sessions, you can reinsert your flowers into their buckets when you’re not using them. To brighten the color of your flowers, make new cuts along your stems’ bottoms each time you reinsert them into the water.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh for a Wedding: Outside the Garden Box Tricks

While our basic tips for how to keep cut flowers fresh for a wedding such as warm water, removal from sunlight, and diagonal trimming will prevent your flowers from withering before you’ve made it down the aisle, these outside the garden box tricks will keep your flowers lush and lovely all night long!

Lemon-Lime Soda

It may sound crazy, but it really works! The combination of acidity and sugar in lemon-lime soda causes flowers to perk up. However, you do need acidity for this trick to be effective, so make sure the soda you purchase is actually lemon-lime. Other varieties of soda will not have the same effect.

How It’s Done

Pour ¼ cup of lemon-lime soda into each of your bouquets/arrangements’ water source. Don’t have lemon-lime soda on-hand? You can use ingredients straight from your pantry to create an acidity boost. Either lemon juice or vinegar will give your flowers a sprucing up, but the duality of the sugar and acid in the soda is your most effective option.


Why should your flowers have to miss out on your open bar? A few drops of vodka paired with a couple of teaspoons of sugar fights bacteria and feeds your flowers. Your blooms will be as vibrant as your smile. If you hate to waste even a few drops of perfectly good vodka, three drops of bleach mixed with one teaspoon of sugar will have the same effect.


Hairspray will save your look on the dance floor, and a quick spritz on your flowers will keep them looking fresh too!

Get the Fresh Cut Wedding Flowers of Your Dreams

At Leaf + Petal, we create the romantic paradise you’ve always dreamed of for your wedding day. This includes drawing from your imagination to weave together lush floral pieces and making sure your flowers stay vibrant throughout your entire wedding day.

If you’re ready to book your florist, Contact Leaf + Petal. Our lead florist, Margaret Williamson, believes the highest form of art is to bring her brides’ visions to life. We place your desires first, starting with the designs we create, and finishing with cut flowers that stay fresh.

1 Comment

Wow! Thank you for sharing those tips! They will be so helpful for my niece's big day in October! & God bless you for sharing information without the need for an email or the intrusive request for registration or money--you are truly a class act!

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