Fresh vs. Artificial vs. Dried Wedding Flowers | A Comprehensive Guide

While we are all aware of the importance of flowers at weddings and the amazing impact they can have, there is a lot to consider when making wedding flower choices. Every wedding is unique so it is important to consider what will work best for you and your wedding.

The flowers you choose reflect your own personal style and taste and they can make a significant contribution towards the décor and setting the overall tone and atmosphere for the entire wedding day – so they can have an amazing and lasting impact. So to get the best results it is worth spending some time considering what flowers are going to work best for you and your wedding.

This post considers the very important question of whether to choose fresh, artificial or dried/preserved flowers for your wedding or a combination of them.

While all flower options can look fabulous, this comprehensive guide will help you make the best flower choices for you and your wedding and looks at the benefits and downsides of each type of these wedding flower options.

  • 1. Fresh Flowers
    - What Are Fresh Flowers?
    - Why Choose Fresh Flowers For Your Wedding
  • 2. Artificial Flowers
    - What Are Artificial Flowers?
    - Why Choose Artificial Flowers For Your Wedding
  • 3. Dried/Preserved Flowers
    - What Are Dried/Preserved Flowers?
    - Why Choose Dried/Preserved Flowers For Your Wedding
  • Fresh vs. Artificial vs. Dried/Preserved: Pros & Cons
  • Can You Mix Fresh, Artificial & Dried Wedding Flowers?
  • Cost Comparison
  • Final Thoughts

So let’s get started!

Rustic Flowers


1. Fresh Flowers

What Are Fresh Flowers?

Fresh flowers are flowers that have been recently picked or cut from the plant bearing them and they may also come with their stem and leaves. They have not been dried or preserved in any way. They are beautiful, often colourful and many have a fragrance unique to the type of flower it is.

Fresh Flowers


Why Choose Fresh Flowers For Your Wedding

Fresh flowers are the classic or traditional option for weddings. Well known and loved they are often the starting place when considering wedding flowers.

The benefits of choosing fresh flowers for your wedding include that they are the traditional choice, they are bright and colourful and some have a beautiful fragrance unique to their flower type which as well as being lovely on your wedding day can be quite significant and memorable as even years later the fragrance of the same flower may bring back wonderful memories of your wedding.

The downsides of fresh flowers include that they are delicate, need water and have a short life once picked and therefore cannot be kept for a long time after the wedding (unless quickly preserved afterwards). They may start to look tired or begin to wilt during the wedding day especially if outside in hot/windy/humid weather for any length of time, they may be seasonal meaning that not all flowers are available all year round and importing or sourcing flowers not in season can be expensive (and even then not everything will always be available).

There is also the possibility of specific colour limitations depending on the choice of flower – not all fresh flowers are available in all colours. Fresh flowers contain pollen and so may also cause hay fever/allergies in susceptible wedding guests and they can only be made into bouquets and arrangements a short time before the wedding to ensure they are in optimal condition. This limits the time frame available for pick up/set up/decorating the wedding venue. So, in summary fresh flowers are beautiful but do have some limitations.

They are not the only available option and can also be used in combination with artificial and/or dried/preserved flowers with great results.

Fresh Flowers Wedding


2. Artificial Flowers

What Are Artificial Flowers?

Artificial flowers are imitations of natural (or real) flowers – so they are made to look like the real flower. They are sometimes colloquially referred to as ‘fake’ flowers which is most likely in the context of how poor they may have looked in the past when compared to the real version.

They have come a long way in recent years however, to the point that it can be hard to tell the difference between the best quality artificial flowers and real flowers. This is not the case with all artificial flowers however and the quality can vary significantly, so it is important to ensure you are happy with the quality before purchasing. They can vary from the cheap and nasty end where you virtually just have to look at them and they will fray to the best quality that look and feel completely real.

More recently, the more appropriate (and kinder) terms ‘faux’’ or ‘silk’ flowers have emerged. It is important to note though that while some flowers may actually be made with silk fabric, other materials are also used including rayon, cotton, natural or flocked materials, velvet fabrics and plastic fabrics. Most artificial flowers today are made from polyester materials.

Artificial Flowers


Why Choose Artificial Flowers For Your Wedding

Artificial flowers can be used alone for weddings or in combination with fresh or dried/preserved flowers, for example when the fresh version is not available or is costly to source.

The benefits of artificial flowers include that they have year round availability, they are robust and therefore long lasting and there is a large range of flower types and colour options to choose from, within reason they will keep their integrity and survive the rigors of the wedding day well such as the odd knock, bump or hug and not wilt or look tired as the wedding day progresses.

They cope well outside with difficult weather conditions present such as a hot/windy/humid wedding day. More elaborate/adventurous flower creations may be possible as artificial flowers are more durable and don’t need water.

They can be taken home and kept for a long time after the wedding day so can be a fantastic keepsake or thank you gift for bridesmaids or other wedding guests and can be used as long lasting, low maintenance decor in your home. Artificial flowers are also hypoallergenic (as they don’t have any pollen) so they will not cause hay fever/allergies in susceptible wedding guests.

They are also a good time saving option as they can be made into bouquets and arrangements a long time before the wedding as they won’t deteriorate if stored appropriately - this means that there can be an extended time frame available for pick up/set up/decorating the wedding venue which can be valuable as the wedding day approaches and things get very busy. Purchasing ahead may also allow wedding costs to be spread out and so help with budgeting.

Finally, some suppliers may offer a rent and return option for artificial flowers which is not possible for fresh flowers – the flowers are returned after the wedding (providing they are in good condition). This is another way of keeping wedding costs down.

The downsides of artificial flowers include the possibility of some stigma associated with ‘fake’ flowers especially for weddings where fresh flowers are the tradition. The quality of artificial flowers can vary significantly - so it is important to make sure you are happy with the quality before purchase.

So, in summary artificial flowers are very practical and durable and are the most robust of the three wedding flower options but they are not ‘real’ flowers, so are not the traditional option. They can also be used with fresh or dried/preserved flowers with great results.

Artificial Flowers Wedding


3. Dried/Preserved Flowers

What Are Dried/Preserved Flowers?

Dried or preserved flowers have undergone a preservation process that can increase their life from days to years if cared for appropriately.

Dried flowers are dried or dehydrated flowers or greenery (roots, leaves, stem, bark or the whole plant) and are commonly used for ornamental purposes. Dried Flowers started as real, fresh flowers and have undergone a preservation process by dehydration which removes all of their moisture through a natural process which can be done by hanging them upside down, or drying them out with silica gel or freeze drying (which should be professionally done).

Preserved flowers are natural flowers and greenery (stems/leaves) that have undergone a different preservation process to drying but have been processed to maintain their fresh appearance for a long time. The resulting quality can be excellent making it difficult to differentiate between preserved and fresh flowers - it can therefore make them an excellent alternative to using fresh flowers especially in wedding settings.

Dried Wedding Flowers


Why Choose Dried/Preserved Flowers For Your Wedding

Dried/preserved flowers have undergone an amazing transformation over the years and there has been a corresponding significant increase in their popularity, including for weddings. For many reasons dried/preserved flowers can provide a wonderful alternative to fresh wedding flowers.

Dried flowers can bring a rustic, earthy, textured look to wedding flowers and look fabulous contrasted with the gentle softness of preserved flowers (such as roses). Dried/preserved flowers can be used wonderfully alone for weddings but also look great with the addition of quality silk flowers such as orchids (for example in bouquets).

They can also be used in combination with fresh or artificial flowers when the fresh version is not available or is costly to source. There are possibilities are endless and the results can look amazing.

The benefits of dried/preserved flowers for your wedding include that they are ‘real’ flowers so they don’t come with the possible stigma that artificial flowers may have. They also have all year round availability, they are long lasting and there is a large range of flower types and colours to choose from and with care taken they will last well during the wedding day.

Significantly, they can then be taken home and kept for a long time after the wedding day so can be a fantastic keepsake or thank you gift for bridesmaids or other wedding guests or can be used as long lasting, low maintenance décor in your home.

Dried/preserved flowers are also hypoallergenic (as they don’t have any pollen) so will not cause hay fever/allergies in susceptible wedding guests.

They are also a good time saving option as they can be made into bouquets and arrangements a long time before the wedding as if stored appropriately, they won’t deteriorate - this means that there can be an extended time frame available for pick up/set up/decorating the wedding venue which can be valuable as the wedding day approaches.

Purchasing ahead may also allow wedding costs to be spread out and so help with budgeting. Some suppliers may offer a rent and return option for dried/preserved flowers which is not possible for fresh flowers – the flowers are returned after the wedding (providing they are in good condition). This is another way of keeping wedding costs down.

The downsides of dried/preserved flowers are that as with artificial flowers they are not the traditional wedding flower option so while they have become increasingly known and popular in recent years they not yet as well known for wedding flowers as fresh flowers.

If you are hoping to preserve or dry your own flowers for your wedding it can take time to do so must be done well ahead of the wedding date.

In summary dried/preserved flowers are a long lasting fabulous flower option but are not as well known for weddings as fresh flowers.

Dried Flowers Wedding


Fresh Wedding Flowers Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Traditional/classic flower option – well known and loved
  • Bright and colourful, may have a beautiful fragrance unique to their flower type
  • Delicate, need water, have only a short life once picked – can look tired and quickly wilt especially in hot/windy/humid weather conditions
  • Bouquets/arrangements can only be made a short time before the wedding so limited time available for pickup/set up/decorating the wedding venue
  • Short life span so unable to keep/gift special arrangements such as the bride’s or bridesmaids’ bouquets unless they are preserved soon after the wedding which can be costly
  • Seasonal – some fresh flowers are only available at certain times of the year – can sometimes be sourced or imported but this may be expensive and even then not all flowers are always available
  • Possible colour limitations – not all flowers come in all colours
  • May cause hay fever/allergies (pollen)

Fresh Flowers: Pros & Cons

 

Artificial Wedding Flowers Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Available all year round
  • Long lasting/durable so wedding arrangements/bouquets can be kept for years after the wedding – gifted to bridesmaids or other wedding guests or used as low maintenance home décor
  • Last well on the wedding day – artificial flower arrangements/ bouquets will last well irrespective of the weather conditions or where placed
  • More elaborate/adventurous flower creations may be possible as artificial flowers are durable and don’t need water
  • Hypoallergenic – do not cause allergies/hay fever etc.
  • Time saving - Can be purchased ahead of time and picked up early to allow more time for set up and decoration of wedding venue. Purchasing early can also allow wedding costs to be spread out and so help with wedding budgeting
  • May be able to rent your flowers and return after the wedding – helps to keep the wedding costs down
  • Possibly some stigma associated with ‘fake’ flowers especially for weddings as fresh flowers are considered the traditional flower option
  • Significant variation in quality – from poor to excellent that look/feel like real flowers Important to make sure quality is checked before purchase for your wedding




Fake Flowers

 

Dried/Preserved Wedding Flowers Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

  • They are ‘real’ flowers – do not have any of the possible stigma that may be associated with artificial or ‘fake’ flowers
  • Increasing in popularity in recent years – a distinctive, more unique flower option
  • Available all year round
  • With care taken dried/preserved bouquets will last on the wedding day
  • Long lasting so wedding arrangements/bouquets may be kept for years after the wedding – gifted to bridesmaids or other wedding guests or used as low maintenance maintenance home décor
  • Hypoallergenic - do not cause allergies/hay fever etc.
  • Time saving - Can be made ahead of time and picked up early to allow more time for set up and decoration of wedding venue Purchasing early can also allow wedding costs to be spread out and so help with wedding budgeting
  • May be able to rent your flowers and return after the wedding – helps to keep the wedding costs down
  • Not the traditional wedding flower option – not as well known for weddings as fresh wedding flowers
  • Takes time to dry/preserve flowers if doing it yourself

Dried Flowers

 

Can You Mix Fresh, Artificial & Dried Wedding Flowers?

People often want to know if the types of wedding flowers can be mixed – we have already suggested yes – definitely – and often with fabulous results. Artificial or dried/preserved flowers may be used as an alternative where the fresh is not available due to seasonal, cost or other reasons - also artificial flowers may be used as an alternative in dried/preserved arrangements. The options are many and varied and may reflect many factors including personal taste, wedding style, theme or wedding venue decor as well as cost and availability.

Flowers Mix

 

Cost Comparison

It is not straight forward to provide a clear comparison between the cost of the three wedding flower options because there are so many factors involved - but it is an important consideration as budget is usually an important part of wedding planning.

The following factors are relevant in determining cost:

Availability:
In general the cost of artificial and dried flowers is more consistent across the year because of their year round availability whereas the cost of fresh flowers can vary significantly due to the usual seasonality as well as local and national factors including weather conditions.

If you would like to exclusively use fresh flowers it is worth talking to your florist well ahead of your wedding date regarding what flowers will be in season/available at the time of your planned wedding date, what the options are re sourcing them if not or adapting your choice of flowers accordingly.

Clearly, if you wish to use all fresh flowers it will be cheaper to choose what will be in season and readily available at the time of your planned wedding date - the other option maybe to consider substituting with a dried/preserved or artificial option and therefore have a mix of flower types.

Quality:
As with most things, the quality of the flowers can affect the cost – in all flower types the best quality flowers will be more expensive but having good quality flowers for your wedding day is important as they will look better and last longer.

Buying vs. Rent/Return:
Some suppliers may offer a rent and return option for artificial and dried/preserved flowers which is not possible for fresh flowers – the flowers are returned after the wedding (providing they are in good condition). This is a way of keeping wedding costs down.
Bouquet

 

Final Thoughts

On a final note, whichever flower option you choose for your wedding, the results can look amazing. To get the best results, we recommend that you buy the best quality flowers that your budget allows and choose flowers from a good quality supplier – one that you either know personally or comes recommended by a trusted friend or family member or one with consistently high reviews.

We also recommend that you choose a flower supplier that offers excellent customer service, has good timely communication and that you feel comfortable with them – so importantly do your research before deciding on your florist to ensure you have the best all round wedding flower experience.

We wish you all the best with your wedding planning! We hope that this guide has given you some help and insight into choosing what flowers you would like to have at your wedding.

Pink Flowers

If you would like more information about wedding flowers, please see our other articles/blogs below:

How Much Do Wedding Flowers Cost?
The Complete Wedding Flower Checklist | From A-Z
Best 10 Wedding Florists Melbourne 2022 (With Prices Included)

 

Want To Know More?

If you are looking for long-lasting wedding flowers that you can keep for years after your wedding day, feel free to enquire about our wedding flower packages. Here at Milla Rose, our expertise is in dried and preserved wedding flowers and we offer a range of options to suit your needs. Click here to enquire now.