Interviews with New England Wedding Vendors: Wedding Flowers!
This post is a continuation of my interview miniseries focusing on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wedding industry in Massachusetts. Wedding Flowers!
I was grateful to have the opportunity to interview Brad Harrington at Harrington Flowers, Jennifer Angle at Wood and Word Blooms, Linda Flynn from Flora-Ly, Darlene Donnelly at Heritage Flowers, and finally Pat Cannon at Beach Plum Too Flower Shop. Keep reading to see what they had to say about the pandemic, their floral businesses, as well as their predictions and regulations they believe should be put into place moving forward.
A little about the interviewees…
Brad is a part of family-owned and operated business, Harrington Flowers. At Harrington Flowers, their team is committed to offering the finest floral arrangements and gifts with friendly and prompt service. Their team is dedicated to making your experience a pleasant one. They’re always going the extra mile to make your floral gift perfect. Their goals are to meet, exceed, as well as work toward each customer’s style, taste, and budget. Above all, this will be done with extraordinary work and personal attention.
Jennifer is a part-time floral wood designer at Wood & Word Blooms as well a full-time reading teacher. She creates bouquets and event florals with sola wood flowers that she custom paints to each clients’ dream colors. Along with designing weddings, she offers craft classes, as well as DIY wedding bouquet and centerpiece parties with wood flowers.
Linda is the main florist at Flora-Ly, an artisan flower preservation studio located in rural Massachusetts. She loves working with couples to creatively express the love and happiness of weddings through flowers. Flora-Ly offers custom, one-of-a-kind botanical collages crafted. Above all with creativity, exceptional talent, and the highest archival standards for years of enjoyment.
Such talent here!
Darlene is the owner and main florist at family-owned and operated Heritage Flowers. In addition, she has been a florist for over 30 years. She is proud to offer friendly and efficient service for a variety of events and celebrations. She treats each bride and groom individually. Most importantly customizing her arrangements to meet their unique requests to make their special day memorable forever.
Pat is the owner of Beach Plum Flower Shop, which has been serving the Northshore for over 30 years. They are located in The Tannery, a community epicenter for Newburyport. Her goal is to create a special environment where everyone feels comfortable, included, and happy. She helps celebrate the incredible moments in a person’s life. Subsequently, from weddings to births, businesses openings to events, as well as memorials and the everyday. Beach Plum Flower Shop creates floral arrangements that celebrate the love, beauty, and joy of life through flowers.
Now, onto the interview…
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business? What’s been one surprising and positive element to this?
Pat: We had a “pause” in our business in which we focused on essential business. We had to pivot our 90-day business plan […] to a focus on our webstore and local, contact-free deliveries and curbside pickup. Many of our customers could not see or visit their loved ones so we were able to send them happiness and love. We learned how important it is to be connected with our customers through social media [too]. We were extremely blessed to have many of our customers connect with us. Many of our brides contacted us to “just check in” and we canvassed our social media with gorgeous posts of beautiful weddings to stimulate and inspire current and potential couples.
Brad: We have been working with our couples to reschedule their wedding dates. Subsequently, we instituted contact-free delivery as well as curbside pick up. We are thankful that the Governor considered us an “essential business.” Being able to send virtual hugs through flowers has been a wonderful experience. Creating designs for our customers with such heartfelt messages in the hopes of brightening the day of their loved ones. This has been an uplifting experience for us. Seeing how people have become more kind, gentle, and patient is our hope for the future.
Linda: COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of my business however this time has allowed me to work on new product projects, blogging, and marketing. In addition, I have enjoyed the slowdown and am planning as to how I can move forward in my business in the same calm manner. I’ve also relished the time to make art. I’m an artist first, that’s what people purchase from me […] I see my future work benefiting from the attention I’m giving myself [and my art] now.
Darlene: So far I have had 80+ weddings postponed until 2021. A few have had smaller events. On the other hand, I have had several FaceTime appointments and have spent a lot of time telling couples everything will be okay.
Jennifer: I was nervous it was going to be catastrophic, but I have had more business. Subsequently, one of the benefits is that the Sola flowers don’t die. Therefore, many of my brides are doing an elopement or intimate wedding now and using the full order later. Very little has changed since my wood flower industry is mostly an online industry with many ordering from Etsy or websites, [and] I was able to keep right on working. I have [also] gotten to connect with many new brides!
How do you think the wedding industry will be impacted as a whole?
Brad: With all the amazing venues and vendors in our state, we expect the wedding industry to come roaring back. Moreover, we are looking forward to a very strong finish to 2020. In addition, the best is yet to come.
Jennifer: I think the wedding industry will see many changes in contract language and how deposits are done. I think the industry will come back as soon as there is no virus. People want to be out and about and celebrating. However, I think there will be more transparency about what will happen if something like this occurs again.
Cheers to that!
Pat: I believe the wedding industry may pivot a bit to be a bit more intentional. Wedding parties may be more intentional because I believe that everyone will have a more intentional way of living. In addition, I hope that we all will not be in such a hurry to “just get it done,” but find more special ways to honor each other. For example, instead of a larger dance floor, provide areas for small conversational circles. Flowers that are meaningful for family members who cannot attend due to travel restrictions as well.
Linda: I think the industry will definitely be smaller. Similarly, I’d like to see the industry become more mindful of heartfelt experience vs. marketing to the dollar/wow factor. In conclusion, I hope that everyone overall will look for a heart centered experience
Darlene: I really don’t think a lot will change. However, I’ve have had a few brides reach out to say because they are postponing, they want more [included in their wedding].
What regulations or guidelines do you think should be put into place moving forward?
Darlene: I have maintained social distancing so I think that is probably the one precaution I have maintained [and suggest for others to follow.]
Pat: Any regulations or precautions that make everyone more safe. As I mentioned before, life will be more intentional. Therefore I think everyone will need to take more time to prepare, arrive earlier and intentionally work together to make our industry strong.
Linda: Because most of my clients are out of town, the only precautions I will take for the occasional in-person meeting will be requiring masks, gloves and physical distancing.
Brad: Following CDC guidelines by the consistent use of sanitizing products to keep our team, store and customers safe.
Thanks for doing this!
Jennifer: I’m not sure, however, I think contract language needs to be changed so that retainers/deposits are secured. I think outlining clearly in a contract what happens with that deposit [if there is another pandemic] is key. For me, that means keeping better track of the hours I spend communicating. So much planning, designing, and more pre-creation of bouquets and floral arrangements. I think everyone will be more cautious but things will get back to normal.
I sure do hope so, Jennifer! I’m eager to see what a new sense of normalcy will look like for all of us, and for the wedding industry itself.
Thanks to all these gifted florists for sharing their time and thoughtful answers! And thanks to you, for reading. Please be sure to stay tuned for the next interview in this series, publishing soon.
Stay safe! Until next time,
FLORIST SOCIAL MEDIAS
Brad Harrington at Harrington Flowers
Jennifer Angle at Wood and Word Blooms
Linda Flynn at Flora-Ly
Darlene Donnelly at Heritage Flowers
Pat Cannon at Beach Plum Too Flower Shop