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Petals for Your Aisle

When decorating for a wedding, aisles typically take more rose petals than everywhere else combined.  It can also be difficult to determine just how many petals you need to achieve the look you imagine.  Fortunately, our experience can help make this task easy for you since we have literally helped calculate the quantity of petals need for thousands of aisles.

FlowersbyChristophers

Ivory and Lavender freeze dried rose petals were used to create this beautiful outdoor aisle.

The first things you need to know are where the aisle will be located and it’s dimensions.  If it’s on grass, you should be using the freeze dried rose petals since they are biodegradable.  We’ve seen what happens when silk is used, you don’t want to spend your day picking thousands of petals out of the grass one by one.  You also need to know if guests will be able to reach their seats from the outside aisles.  You’ll be emotional enough walking down the aisle, you don’t need to be upset to see that the guests trampled your perfectly laid pattern of petals.  Once you’ve measured out the area, it’s time to decide how you want it to look.

The quantity of petals used for aisle designs can vary greatly.  Are you looking to create a border, or fill the entire aisle?  Do you want a sprinkling of petals, or to completely cover the ground below?  Traditionally, rose petals are either evenly sprinkled down the entire aisle, or are used to create a border along both sides.  A recent trend, however, is to create a scrolling pattern of petals.  With any of these designs, brides are forgoing the traditional fabric aisle runner as the petals create the pathway.  Just be sure to choose colors that provide enough contrast with the ground below.

Jill & Jonathan No3

Your budget will play an important part, so once you have a basic idea of the design, you should then calculate the quantity needed.  The easiest way to figure out how many petals you need is to use our online rose petals calculator.  You’ll need the aisle length, coverage type, and design layout that you determined above, just enter them in and you’ll get the recommend quantity of petals in either freeze dried or silk.  Another way to calculate the quantity is to get a smaller amount to test, create a mock-up of your design, then calculate exactly how many you need.  This is especially helpful if you’re planning to use a large quantity or have an intricate design.

Now that you know the quantity, in future posts, we will explain in detail how to create some of the aisle designs you’ve seen in photos.

10 Misconceptions Regarding Freeze Dried Rose Petals

Freeze dried rose petals have gained in popularity over the last 10 years, however, they still tend to be misunderstood.  Let’s clear up some of the misconceptions regarding freeze dried rose petals (we just state the facts, the misconceptions are implied as to not create more confusion):

  1. They are NOT frozen.  The term “freeze” in freeze dried only refers to the process used to preserve them.  Once they are preserved, they are simply stored at room temperature, you don’t need to keep them in the freezer.fdcones
  2. They will not last forever.  They may be preserved, but they still have a limited shelf life.  You can expect lighter colors to last a few months, while darker colors can last a year or more.  Over time, the petals will lose their vibrancy and begin to fade.  The best way to store them is in a dark, dry location, such as a closet.
  3. They will never again become fresh petals.  They still look like fresh rose petals, however, they are dry and more delicate.  While you can add moisture to make them softer and more pliable, they cannot be rehydrated into fresh petals.
  4. They only come in natural colors.  Real freeze dried rose petals are only available in natural colors.  Some may be dyed in colors such as blue and green, then freeze dried, yielding a quality petal.  Often times, however, they are lower quality dyed and preserved petals which can stain worse than fresh.
  5. Not all rose petals are the same.  There is a wide range of quality in the marketplace, so you should always get samples before placing an order to make sure you’re getting the quality you expect.  You should seek out a company that specializes in freeze drying if you want to find the best quality.
  6. Not really “white”.  Ivory rose petals are as close to white as is possible with a natural rose petal.  Even “white” roses held up next to a pure white gown will not look white, but more of an off-white.
  7. They typically don’t smell like roses anymore.  Along with the moisture, the freeze drying process ends up removing much of their scent.  You may notice that more fragrant varieties still smell like a rose, but most do not have any smell at all.
  8. Quantity and quality are difficult to compare online.  Here’s where it may take a little work to find the best value as it’s nearly impossible to compare one vendor to another based on photos and online descriptions.  Even comparing quantity, from cups to ounces to number of petals, it can get confusing.  Again, getting samples can help make an informed decision.
  9. They do float… kinda.  While freeze dried rose petals will float in water, they also will eventually reabsorb water.  When this happens, they tend to get soggy and change color.  They will generally last at least a few hours if undisturbed, so it’s best to put them in the water as close to the start of your event as possible.
  10. Anyone can freeze dry flowers at home.  Freeze drying is not a DIY project, it requires specialized equipment operating at extremely low temperatures and pressures.

Did we miss anything?  Let us know what you think.

Weddings and Rose Petals… a Perfect Match

When you think of using rose petals in a wedding, a cute little flower girl carrying a basket probably comes to mind.  While this is the most obvious use of petals, it certainly isn’t the only place they are used.  In addition to (or instead of) having the flower girl sprinkling petals, many brides are choosing to decorate the aisle with rose petals.

Silk rose petals creating an ombre effect at the Claire Pettibone show.

Aisles:  While simply bordering or covering the aisle with petals is most common, a recent trend is to create a design with the petals.  Swirling patterns or monograms take the design to the next level.  For outdoor aisles, freeze dried rose petals work best since they are biodegradable, while indoors, silk petals are an economical alternative.  A trend this year is to use a graduated “ombre” color effect, such as going from red to yellow with shades of orange in between, or starting with ivory and gradually getting darker towards your primary wedding color.

Tossing:  Another popular use for rose petals is the petal toss when exiting the church or ceremony location.  Brides will often have them packaged in cones or organza bags to contain them, which also makes it easy to distribute them to guests.  Another option is to just have a big bowl for guests to grab a handful.  It’s best to assign the task of distributing the petals to a family member or friend so that all of your guests participate in the toss, and co-ordinate with your photographer so they get the best shots.  If cleanup is easy, such as a concrete sidewalk, silk petals can be used, otherwise, freeze dried rose petals are again recommended as they are eco-friendly.  Either way, go for something colorful here so it shows up better in the photos, you don’t need to match the color of the bridesmaid dresses.

toss-pinkReception Tables:  Moving on to the reception, rose petals make an excellent table decoration as they complement just about any type of centerpiece.  If you are using a traditional floral centerpiece, just sprinkle the petals in corresponding colors around the base.  If you are using candles, use mounds of petals in complementing colors, just keep them clear of the flame.  For rectangular tables, a runner of petals down the center with clusters of candles adds elegance while allowing room for guests to dine.  The freeze dried petals are recommended on reception tables as they make a great conversation piece.

We’ve touched on the primary uses for petals at a wedding, but you’re certainly not limited by the above suggestions.  More creative uses of petals include making rose petal chandeliers by attaching the petals to strings and draping them around the light.  A similar technique can be used to make curtains.  Even simple ideas such as sprinkling them around the cake table can add an elegant touch to your wedding.  The uses are only limited by your imagination.

14 Romantic Ways to use Rose Petals

With Valentine’s Day coming up in just a few weeks, we decided to compile a list of how rose petals are used to create a romantic evening.  Some are obvious, others are quite creative, but all will show that special someone how much they are loved.

  1. The trail.  Okay, so we start with an obvious one.  Whether it’s a sprinkling of a few here petal_stairsand there or a thick carpet of petals, you’ll need to create a path from the door to someplace special.

  2. The bed.  If you created a trail, chances are it leads to a bedroom.  What better way to decorate than to have rose petals strewn across the bed.  Make it a candlelit room with a rose petals and candles package.

  3. A heart.  When you think of Valentine’s Day, you think of red hearts.  Why not create one out of rose petals?

  4. Spell it with petals.  Don’t get tongue-tied, write it out using rose petals to make it perfect.

  5. The tub.  Soothing… relaxing… some bubbles, candles and rose petals.  Sprinkle some petals around the tub to top it off.

  6. Suspended petals.  With fishing line, you can string up petals for a really neat effect.  Be warned, this one can take some time.

  7. The drop.  With the help of friends, sprinkle the petals from a balcony or rooftop.  Make sure you come up with a signal so you have perfect timing.

  8. The Car.  Wouldn’t it be a cool surprise for someone to leave work to find a car full of petals?  Well, maybe not completely full, but you get the idea.  Include driving instructions to a restaurant or wherever you plan to meet.

  9. Table setting.  Not going out for dinner?  A candlelit dinner at home can work just as well.  Use rose petals around the table to add elegance.

  10. Yard design.  Leave a note for your special someone to look outside to see your message written in rose petals across the yard.

  11. Packing. Have a surprise gift?  Pack it in rose petals.

  12. Petal notes.  Write one word of a sentence on each silk petal and put them in order in the pages of a book they are reading or in a greeting card.  A simple, yet tasteful idea.

  13. Drawer full of petals. Empty out a drawer full of underwear and socks and replace it with petals and other fun items.  You can be creative here.

  14. Hotel room.  If you can’t get away to get into the room ahead of time, see if the hotel can decorate the room for you.  You can easily ship the petals directly to the hotel, just put your name and when you’re arriving on the label.

There are lots of other ways to use rose petals on Valentine’s Day, these are just a few that come to mind.  If you’re ready to get some petals, we have some great specials on rose petal packages. Remember, you don’t have to be romantic on just one day of the year.

What Does “Freeze Dried” Mean?

You may have heard the term “freeze dried” and wondered what exactly it meant.  You have probably seen freeze dried apples or bananas in little pouches at your local grocery, or the full meals you can get in the camping section of a sporting goods store.  The process used to preserve these foods is essentially the same as what we use to preserve our rose petals.

In technical terms, freeze drying is lyophilization, the process of water sublimating from the solid phase (ice) to the gas phase (vapor) without passing through the liquid phase (water).  In simpler terms, boiling ice!  So how does this make our petals so beautiful?  You already know how roses wilt and turn brown over time.  Well, we can literally “freeze” them in their perfect state.

We start by removing all of the petals from the roses and loading them into our freeze dryers, which freeze them to temperatures below -30 degrees.  We then remove nearly all of the air inside the chamber using vacuum pumps, which causes the ice in the petals to turn directly into vapor.  By continuously removing the vapor over the course of about two weeks, the petals end up completely dry, but in almost the same shape and color as they were when they were fresh.

Once the rose petals are removed from the freeze dryer, they can simply be stored at room temperature.  There is often a misconception that the petals need to be kept frozen, but the term “freeze” in freeze dried only refers to the preservation process.  They are best stored in a dark, dry location, such as a closet.  Light and humidity can fade the colors, while properly stored petals can last for months or even years.

You can use freeze dried rose petals the same way you would use fresh petals, but without worrying about wilting.  You can get them well ahead of time and prepare your decorations in advance.  To look at the petals, it’s hard to tell the difference between fresh and freeze dried.  Can you tell them apart in the photo below?

Fresh rose petals vs freeze dried, can you tell the difference?

Fresh rose petals vs freeze dried, can you tell the difference?  One group of petals above is over 2 months old, the other just came off a rose.

The most noticeable difference is that freeze dried are dry; an obvious, but commonly overlooked fact.  This makes them more delicate, however, they can be softened by re-introducing moisture.  In humid climates, just exposing the petals to the air will begin to soften them, while in dry climates, a little help from a steamy bathroom is needed.  Most of the time, you don’t need to worry about softening.  For aisles or table decoration, just spread them out and you’re all set.  If you’re using them for tossing, softening can make them easier to work with.

While there is a lot more that goes into creating freeze dried rose petals, you have the basics down.  Oh, and in the photo above, the freeze dried rose petals are on the left.  Did you guess it correctly?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

History of Rose Petals in Weddings

Rose petals are a must have at every wedding, but why is that so?  The origin of rose petals at weddings is rather ambiguous, but looking throughout history, one can find examples of rose petal use in weddings.  The tradition essentially derives from the idea of fertility.  The flower girl walks down the aisle before the bride, strewing rose petals as she goes.  The young girl traditionally wears a white dress and tosses red rose petals.  Symbolically, the white dress represents purity, whereas the red rose petals represent fertility.  Therefore, the image of the flower girl is meant to depict the bride’s loss of purity for that of romance and fertility with her marriage.

The use of rose petals at weddings today evolved from different traditions and events in many different countries.  Ancient Romans and Egyptians threw seeds at the newlyweds to grant them fertility, translating eventually into rose petals.  Cleopatra had rose petals covering her living quarters, so once Marc Anthony met her, he would always remember her whenever he saw or smelt a rose.  In Medieval England, a flower girl lead the bride to her wedding, leaving her path covered in rose petals as a symbol of happiness and to make her last walk as a maiden a wonderful and beautiful occasion.

Rose petals not only serve a purpose for weddings though, and each color of rose holds a different traditional meaning.  Red, most obviously, conveys deep love and passion, whereas a white rose symbolizes purity.  If one is looking for a rose petal color to express friendship and caring, yellow is the color to give.  A light purple shade represents love at first sight, and a dark purple rose color signifies majesty, and quite traditionally, royalty.  Lighter colors, like pink, orange, and peach, show lighter emotions.  Pink lets one express their appreciation for another, orange togetherness, and peach, hope for a future.