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Frequently Asked Questions

Bride

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT BOUQUET PRESERVATION

WHEN & HOW TO ORDER?

Make your display decision now or make a reservation and decide after the wedding. We recommend that you place your order or make a reservation deposit at least two weeks prior to the wedding date. If your wedding will take place sooner that this please call us toll free to make arrangements at once, 800-742-9570. If you know which display option you prefer you can place your order online. Just follow the directions on the site. If you prefer to make your display decision after the wedding you need to make a reservation/deposit (Click here to do so online). Or call toll free 1-800-742-9570 to place your order or reservation deposit by phone. The non-refundable reservation deposit is $100.00 and is applied to your final order. The final display decision and balance are due no later than three weeks following the wedding date. Payment plans can also be arranged.

DO I NEED TO SELECT A DISPLAY NOW?

No, you are not required to make a decision on which frame or display style you want when you place your order. You should make a reservation/deposit at least three weeks prior to your wedding. If the wedding is less than two weeks away please call toll free 800- 742-9570 so we can make special arrangements quickly! If the wedding has already occurred click here for instructions.

CAN I JUST GET MY FLOWERS PRESERVED?

No, all preservation must be protected by a display. Our actual display cost is less than 10% of the total cost of your preservation, in most cases. Much less than you could purchase a display of equal quality yourself. Since all of our dipalys are custom made and we order directly from the manufacture, in large quantites, we have been able to offer our customers the lowest prices and the most creative display options. The remaining cost is the talented labor, equipment, chemicals, and overhead required to provide you with the worlds best five step floral preservation & design.

HOW DO I GET MY FLOWERS TO YOU?

A FREE, custom-made, bouquet shipping kit is sent 7-10 days prior to your wedding date to locations within the continental United States. It has been designed to assure your flowers arrive at our Design Center in the best possible condition. Included is shipping directions and directions for caring for the bouquet before it is packed and shipped (If you live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area or the Houston area contact us for optional delivery arrangements as you will not receive a floral shipper). In the Dallas/Ft, Worth area or the Houston area you may choose to arrange to have your bouquet picked up at the reception for an additional fee based upon the location of your reception. This assures that your flowers are their freshest for preservation when we recieve them. Our bouquet shipping kit is simple to use. Detailed instructions are included. We recommend you assign this task to a friend, mom, or family member if you will be going off on your honeymoon.

You may use any next day air shipping service that you prefer to return the floral shipper to us after the wedding. Depending on your situation, you may decide that the pickup service is worth the additional cost. Regardless of which agency you choose, the assurance of quick overnight delivery should be your greatest concern.

 

HOW DO YOU NEED TO CARE FOR YOUR FLOWERS PRIOR TO SHIPPING?
The two biggest enemies of fresh cut flowers is heat and loss of moisture. Flower stems seal 60 to 75% within 8 hours of being cut. This means that your flowers have not been able to get much moisture for a while. In addition heat (any temperature over 65 degrees) will also accelerate the de-hydration process. If you have a hand-tied bouquet, with the stems showing, you can cut the stems the day after the wedding to help open the sealed stems and place the bouquet in water. Keeping your flowers cool, in a refrigerator will also help. MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT FREEZE! If your flowers are in a bouquet holder or are totally wrapped you can spray the flowers with water lightly. You can also re-spray the flowers 3-4 hours before you put the flowers into the shipper to return them to us. A little re-hydration spray goes a long way. Do not over spray. Do not ship flowers that are totally wet. They should be dry or dewy.

If you are bringing your flowers to our design center or if you have contracted to have your flowers picked up at the reception, we will hydrate your flowers when they are received at out shop.

HOW SOON DO YOU NEED THE FLOWERS?

The sooner we receive your flowers the better. Bouquets should been kept as cool as possible after the wedding, but not frozen. If you are located outside the Dallas/Ft. Worth or Houston area you should ship your flowers to us the first working day after the wedding (see below for details on receiving a free shipping kit). If you are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area our design center is open on Sunday from 2-4 PM (with advanced reservations) and on Monday-Tuesday from 9AM-6:30 PM. Call for directions. If you are in the Houston area our shop is open both Monday and Tuesday from 10am to 7pm to allow for drop offs. We do not do Sunday drop off in Houston.

HOW LONG DOES BOUQUET PRESERVATION TAKE?

The process will take, 20 to 24 weeks on average, but may take as long as 32 weeks in rare situations. We are the only floral preservation company that uses a five step process, this takes time, but is well worth the wait for the great results that we achieve vs. other preservation methods. Heller & Reid reserves the right to extend this time frame as needed to provide you with a quality product. See the time frame for payment plan options here.

WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS OR NEED HELP PLACING MY ORDER?

If you are having difficulty placing your order, we will be happy to assist you. Simply contact our Customer Service Department at 800-742-9570 during regular business hours or by e-mail at service@hellerandreid.com.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR PRESERVING MY FLOWERS?

All floral preservation is not the same. Proper floral freeze-drying doesn't produce flowers that are brittle and lifeless as traditional or silica gel drying methods do. There are very few experts in the floral freeze dry industry because the equipment is expensive, requires extensive training to operate, knowledge about flowers, and floral design are required. Heller & Reid is the largest freeze-dried bouquet preservation company in the United States. This has allowed us to make major improvements to the floral preservation process via extensive research and testing. We will continue to research new methods and process control procedures to ensure that our floral preservation process remains the very best available. Our current process includes:

THE HELLER & REID UNIQUE FIVE STEP PRESERVATION PROCESS

Step 1
RE-HYDRATION OF FLOWERS

The bouquet is photographed, inventoried, measured, dismantled and each flower put into a special re-hydration solution. The re-hydration solution opens the closed stem and forces it to drink the water and provides much needed sugars. This helps bring back the natural beauty of the flowers so that they look their very best for the freeze-drying process. Flowers are then stored in a cooler at 40 degrees for at least 24 hours or until the re-hydration is complete.

Step 2
PRE-TREATMENT TO HOLD IN NATURAL COLOR AND OPEN THE CELL STRUCTURE

Depending on the type and color of the flower, it is treated with specialized treatment solutions. Our pre-treatment solutions have been developed, after years of research, to hold in color and open the cell structure of the flower. This enhances the water removal process during the freeze-drying process, while retaining the flowers natural color. Flowers are loaded onto trays and frozen to prepare them for the freeze-drying process. Depending on the type of flower they may be pre-frozen for up to four weeks.

Step 3
The Freeze Drying Process

The same high quality equipment used by pharmaceutical companies to freeze-dry ingredients used in vitamins and medicine is use by Heller & Reid to preserve your flowers. Our state-of-the-art equipment allows us to determine when the moisture has been removed. The process must be carefully controlled or flowers can be damaged. Depending on the flower type and other factors flowers will remain under vacuum in the freeze-dryers for 14 to 24 days. Once the process is complete the flowers are removed and allowed to cure in a special low humidity room.

Step 4
COLOR ENHANCEMENT & SEALING

A wire stem is added to each flower head to prepare it for color enhancement and sealing. Depending on the natural flower color some color enhancement may be used so that the natural looking color of the flower will be retained for years to come. Each flower is then sealed with a thin polymer coating. Our polymer coating includes a UVA shield to protect against sun/light and moisture damage. Flowers are stored in special sealed boxes by customer/job number and are now ready for the design process.

Step 5
CUSTOM DESIGN/QUALITY CONTROL/PACKAGING & SHIPPING

Because each display is custom made-to-order, the customers display choice is made no later than three weeks following the wedding. Our talented floral designers then design the flowers into the displays, per the directions provide by the client, and the photography that we took of the bouquet when it arrived. Each display/design is reviewed using a quality control guideline and approved or returned for adjustments. Completed displays are cleaned and inspected, and then closed and packed for shipping or pick up by the customer.

DO FLOWERS CHANGE COLOR AND CAN ALL FLOWERS BE PRESERVED?

The age and the condition of the flowers at the time we receive them plays a role in how well they preserve. The fresher the flowers when we receive them the better the results. Please let your florist know that you will be preserving your flowers. Ask that they be as fresh as possible. The less wire and tape used in the design the better. The fresher your flowers are on the wedding day, the better the preservation results. Preservation will produce a color change, white flowers will become creamy and some colors, especially red flowers darken toward burgundy. Heller and Reid takes advantage of the latest techniques and technology to process your flowers but color change can and often will happen. Over time some flowers may become more antique in appearance, especially pink, peach, white and yellow flowers. Some damage may occur to a few flowers during the wedding and if required we will replace up to five flowers at no additional charge. (We may make an exception on the replacment of imported or other rare flowers that are not readily available locally) Flowers that we do not recommend for preservation include, Phalaenopsis, Cherry Baby, Vanda, and Makara Orchids, Asiatic Lilies, Sweet Pea, Spider Mums, Mums, Daisies, including Gerber's and Bouvardia. While we can and do preserve these flowers the results will not be as natural looking as other wedding flowers. Most other traditional wedding flowers preserve well. If you have questions about your flower choices please contact us. Call toll free 800-742-9570. If you are shipping your flowers to us please make sure that they are shipped the very first working day after the wedding. Heller & Reid reserves the right to replace greenery or any damaged flowers as required. We will replace up to 5 flowers at no charge providing that they are readily available locally. Ivy cannot be preserved and will be replaced with silk. Heller & Reid reserves the right to use artificial flowers as needed, but will only do so in rare cases.

HOW MUCH DOES PRESERVATION COST?

The cost is based on the type and size of the display that you select. We offer display options starting at $160 to over $700. The average bouquet preservation cost, including the display is in the $450 to $650 range. All that is required prior to the wedding is a non refundable reservation deposit of $100. Your final payment is not due until three weeks following the wedding, when your select your display. If you wish, a payment plan can be arranged on orders exceeding $400 that allows you to pay the balance off in three equal payments. Visit the complete online catalog to see all the display options click here now.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN YOUR PRICE?

Our price includes the display, preservation, replacement ribbon, if needed, and consultation with a design consultant, if required. Pricing for the shadow box displays includes the inside and outside mat. Since most bouquets or arrangements have probably experienced some wear and tear by the time we receive them our pricing includes the replacement of up to five flowers at no additional charge. If more flowers will need to be replaced or the bouquet contains highly seasonal or imported flowers that are unusually expensive to replace there will be additional charges based upon the actual replacement cost of the flowers. If the cost for replacement flowers will exceed $35 we will call you for approval.

I WANT TO HAVE MY FLOWERS PRESERVED BUT I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN AFFORD IT?

We understand that weddings can be very expensive that’s why we provide brides with a payment plan option. Take up to four months to pay, after the wedding. Preserve your bouquet for a lifetime of memories and select the display option you really want! Our payment plan program allows you to do just that.

HOW DOES THE PAYMENT PLAN WORK?

Simply make a non-refundable reservation deposit of $100 prior to your wedding. This will allow us to reserve a place in our preservation equipment and to arrange for delivery of your flowers to our design center. No later than three weeks after the wedding we will need the final decision on your display. Our designers will be happy to help you with this. Once your display decision has been made we will deduct the $100 deposit from the total.

Your balance is then divided into three monthly payments. A one-time paper work fee is added to the first payment. The first payment is due at the time you make your display decision and additional payments are due each month thereafter until paid in full. See Terms & Conditions for more details, click here now.

IS ALL PRESERVATION THE SAME? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Proper floral freeze-drying doesn't produce flowers that are brittle and lifeless as traditional drying methods do. There are very few experts in this industry because the equipment is expensive, requires extensive training to operate, and knowledge about flowers and floral design is imperative. There are a few things you should know prior to selecting a company to preserve your flowers:

  • What method do they use for preservation? If they do not tell you, ask! Consumer magazines and news agencies evaluated the top floral preservation methods and rated the method used by Heller & Reid, vacuum freeze-drying, as producing the most natural and long-term results.

  • Do they pre-treat and re-hydrate the flowers before freeze-drying or preservation? This helps retain the color of your flowers and opens the cells so they freeze dry with a natural look.

  • Are bouquets photographed and then disassembled for freeze-drying? This is the only way each flower will retain its natural color and shape.

  • Are flowers post-treated after freeze-drying? This process coats each flower with a thin, transparent layer that seals and protects them from light and humidity.
  • If they tell you the display is "airtight" ask for specific details. First, unless they create a vacuum within the display it is not "airtight". Second, if the flowers are properly preserved and sealed they are already protected from humidity. Displays protect from touching, handling, dust and dirt, but are not airtight!

Not all preservation companies use the freeze-drying method for preservation and not all companies who freeze dry complete each step because of the time, cost, and labor required. Without these steps; however, your flowers may not retain their natural look or may have a shorter lifespan.

DO YOU PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HOW TO CARE FOR THE FLOWERS UNTIL YOU RECEIVE THEM?

Yes, recommendations will be provided, along with the floral shipper once you place your order or reservation deposit.

DO PRESERVED FLOWERS REQUIRE ANY SPECIAL CARE?

Yes, just a few simple precautions will help your flowers retain their beauty. Do not spray glass cleaner directly onto the glass or dome of a display. Always spray a cleaner on a clean cloth and then wipe the area to remove dust, finger prints etc. Never display your flowers in direct sun light or by a heat source. This includes spotlights, lamps and heating vents. Do not display in a humid area, such as a bathroom. Of course rough handling of displays or touching preserved flowers in any way can damage some or all of the flowers.

All preserved flowers (air dried, silica dried and freeze dried) are subject to insect infestation. Heller & Reid treats all preserved flowers to remove any potential insect problem prior to delivery to the customer and all arrangements are infestation free when they leave our design center. While infestation does not occur often (less than 1% of all floral arrangements preserved) it can damage your flowers and is hard to treat. Indian meal Moths and Weevils invade the cleanest homes and are often found in flour, bird seed, peanuts, pecans, dog food, candy, macaroni, breakfast cereal, corn meal, dried beans, etc. These insects can and will fly from a pantry or storage area. Once preserved flowers become infested it is very difficult to correct the problem without damage to the flowers so prevention is the best solution. Heller & Reid is not responsible for and cannot repair flowers that have been infected by insects.

HOW LONG WILL FREEZE DRIED PRESERVED FLOWERS LAST?

Freeze dried flowers offer an outstanding floral preservation improvement over air-dried flowers or other methods of preservation that result in wrinkled and shriveled flowers. Flowers not preserved with freeze drying become brown or black, with only traces of the original color. They often fall apart in 6 to 12 months or begin to mold.

How long your freeze-dried flowers last depend on a number of factors including: the age of the flowers at the time of preservation, the amount of sunlight, heat, and humidly exposure and how the display is maintained. As a general rule, unless the display is dropped or mishandled the shape and arrangement of the flowers will remain the same as when you received it. Freeze dried flowers often become slightly darker than the natural floral color and will soften with time. Peach, pale pink and yellow flowers may fade faster than other colors. White flowers may become more antique in appearance. Heller & Reid color enhances all flowers to help them retain a natural look.

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