The art of floral preservation comes to East Sac
By Jessica Laskey
According to the wedding website The Knot, the average bride spends $2,000 on flowers for the nuptials—which means two grand gets dumped in the trash after the Big Day has passed. But with the help of Nikki Gray and her floral-preservation company Endless Florals, those flowers and that big investment don’t have to go to waste.
“What I’m preserving is a memory,” says Gray, who officially launched Endless Florals at 51st and O streets last May. “Yes, it’s a flower. But it represents a significant one-time event in someone’s life that they can then look at day after day.” Seeing your wedding bouquet “has a different feeling than looking at pictures—it brings you back to the moment of holding it in your hand. There’s a certain romanticism to it.”
Floral preservation is hardly new—in fact, it dates back to ancient times—but Gray says the venerable art form has fallen out of fashion over the last 20 years. Because people often think of “Grandma’s flowers on the wall,” Gray has made it her mission to bring floral preservation into the 21st century with chic, minimalist designs, such as shadow-box and framed bubble-glass displays, resin molds (e.g., coasters) and pressed floral designs that will please even the most modern bride.
A native of Granite Bay and one of five siblings, Gray lived in Orange County for 12 years pursuing a performance career after attending music school when she felt the pull back to Sacramento to be near family. As luck would have it, it’s also where she stumbled upon her new career.
After one of Gray’s sisters got married, she had her wedding bouquet preserved by a local woman who’d been running a floral preservation shop out of her garage—one of only three such businesses in California. Gray’s sister insisted she meet this botanical artisan and the two women “hit it off like two peas in a pod.”
The always-artistic Gray was fascinated by the unique art form and trained for a year before starting Endless Florals. Gray had planned to take over her mentor’s business upon the elder woman’s retirement, but instead decided to pursue her own vision.
“It takes six to 12 weeks to finish a product—it’s a very labor-intensive process,” says Gray, who explains that the key to proper preservation is special machinery that opens the cell structure of the flower to remove every bit of moisture. “Some people view it as a hobby because they just hang the flowers upside down and dry them at home, but that actually destroys them. Why invest so much money in something that’s only going to wilt and then be tossed in the garbage?”
While Endless Florals is a one-woman operation at this point, Gray plans to expand once weddings that were postponed due to the pandemic are rescheduled. She admits May was not an ideal month to launch her business, but says she’s lucky people have still been hosting micro weddings, elopements and court house ceremonies—events that often include flowers.
She’s also diversified her business to include the preservation of funeral flower arrangements, boutonnieres, baby dedication flower crowns, anniversary arrangements and graduation flowers—all with supplies sourced from local vendors.
In November, Gray also hosted what she hopes will be the first in a series of virtual events featuring wedding professionals (florists, photographers, caterers, venue representatives, and hair and makeup professionals) in an online forum where brides-to-be can ask questions and get tips for their upcoming nuptials.
Tip No. 1? Don’t waste your wedding bouquet. Take it to Gray at Endless Florals.
For more information, visit endlessflorals.com.
Jessica Laskey can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.