As 2019 draws to a close we are gratefully looking back at all the wonderful flower opportunities we have had, excited about new friends we have made, counting our blessing of having the support of our family and being able to travel to Mexico and serve at Casa Visa Y Esperanza through the “grandparent program” for two weeks in the summer and two weeks in the winter which is made possible through this business!!
We find that this business is not just about the wedding flowers and our couples (as integral as they are) but also about the relationships we have built with other vendors in the industry with whom we have become friends, the wholesale companies and farms we do business with and being able to get to know and support each other.
It’s also about the opportunities to learn, grow and challenge ourselves and in all of our interactions and happenings to reflect the love of Jesus which is the greatest thing we can do here on earth!
Our 2019 wedding season started with the wedding for our long time neighbor’s daughter the last weekend of January. As we left Fairbury with two fully loaded vans of flowers headed to Peoria, our van thermometer registered -17 degrees below zero! In Illinois we have very extremes in weather which can create real challenges. We were grateful to have all of the flowers safely delivered and tried to remind ourselves that setting up in 95 degree heat and humidity maybe isn’t so bad!!
For sure a big highlight of 2019 was having the opportunity to travel with Mayesh Wholesale to Ecuador for “hands on” classes being taught by some of the best in the industry, using the most luscious blooms and being able to tour some of the best flower farms and make friends with these amazing people. It broke our hearts later in the year to hear of the uprising and destruction in this country and the damage and threat to the flower farms and the people. We are so thankful that it has settled back down for the time being.
This is one of our amazing group installations with Susan McLeary. Photo credit: Nicole Clarey Photography My skills and knowledge of design mechanics have been so enriched by this experience; how can I ever thank Mayesh for this opportunity!!
For sure another highlight of 2019 has been receiving my “prize” garden roses from Alexandra Farms. My bouquet entry won 2nd place in the wedding contest and to be able to experience the many different varieties of garden roses the farm grows has been an incredible experience. The year has literally been a sensual delight with each box I receive. How can I ever thank Alexandra Farms for this opportunity?!!
After returning from Ecuador our season took off with a large flower filled wedding the first weekend of April and set the tone for filling our year with flowers!! It was so much fun to work with Mary and Tami to fulfill their beautiful vision – we covered the venue in flowers!!
With only one wedding in April, we had time to do a series of workshops with an abundance of spring blooms. Everyone is ready for flowers after the cold winter and we had 9 full classes. We love to share our joy of flower arranging and are thankful for each student who attended!! It also earned me some money for our trip to Washington DC to help create the floral arrangements for the First Lady Luncheon were we pay all of our own expenses and volunteer our services!!
In May we were grateful that we were able to be volunteers for the First Lady Luncheon for the third year in a row. It is a lot of hard work but truly a great experience and honor to do this. We love the opportunity to make connections and friends with so many other designers. We were all invited to attend the luncheon and be in the same room with our lovely first lady, Melania Trump!! We have been asked to speak about our First Lady Luncheon experience for the Pontiac Rotary and the Gridley Library.
Other opportunities we had this year was again doing the “tasting/photo shoot” with Pear Tree Estate where we tried out some of our new floral design mechanics we learned in Ecuador. The photo below shows our floral crescent which is created without foam so is light weight and can be hung from the ceiling of your venue.
Thank you to Stephanie Wood Photography for doing a photo shoot with us where we could set up and decorate our new floral chuppah. We feel that we have so much more to offer our brides and couples than ever before and are excited for the future weddings where we can use these new designs.
Another very big highlight of 2019 was our bouquet entry again winning 2nd place in the wedding division of Alexandra Farm Garden Rose contest this year!!! Photo credit: Stephanie Wood Photography “It really is still hard for me to comprehend that my bouquet design was chosen not just last year but again this year and as a garden rose lover for many years this is such a dream for me. I still pinch myself each time a beautiful box of garden roses arrive from Alexander Farm – truly glorious!!!!”
Wedding season truly began in earnest with one or two weddings booked every weekend from the last weekend of June through the middle of November with only two weeks off at the end of August to take our mission trip to Mexico!!
It was a very intense busy season and for Nancy the summer and fall was spent almost 24/7 in our garage processing and designing wedding flowers, and set up days at the venues. “I truly did not have a life outside of “flowers” during this time!!! I am so grateful for my husband Wayne who cooked and did laundry, mowed and weeded the yard and helped me in a million ways. I truly could not do what I do without his help and support.”
I look back over this time and recall some of the highlights!! Probably the hardest thing that happened was a strong gust of wind that blew over the vintage door frame that the bride had rented from another vendor and we had flowered and decorated!! I was just leaving the venue when a staff member came running out and said it had just blown over. Again I was so grateful that we were able to get it back up and repaired with minimal damage to the flowers (good mechanics pay off) with a half hour to spare before the ceremony started!!!
We are thankful and grateful to our couples for their trust they put in us to create beautiful flower designs to fulfill their vision. We feel that we do our best and most creative work when they trust us enough to give us design freedom and don’t micro-manage us. Anna let us create the faux tree with flowers cascading down the trunk for a stunning entry way focal to greet her guests. Loved how it turned out!!
Probably the funniest thing that happened was when my son was helping me clean up and tear down at the end of a reception. An intoxicated “old according to him” lady pinched him in the but and said “It’s going to be a great night!” You really have to roll with the punches in this job LOL!!!
I’m not going to lie – this business gets intense and is a lot of hard work but the appreciation of our wonderful couples brings so much joy!! Getting to present the bride with her wedding bouquet and seeing the happiness on her face is an incredible feeling.
Making friends with our couples is such a special part of our business!! After all the months of planning and details it is such a joy to see it all come together. One of the harder things we did in 2019 was to take part in an anniversary photo shoot for a young dying husband and his wife. Within days of the shoot he had passed on but we felt so grateful for the opportunity to create a special memory for his wife of 3 years to cherish.
With less weddings in November, we were able to sneak away and attend another great Mayesh Workshop. This one was with Sean Strong and we again learned so much and were inspired by the beautiful product brought in by Mayesh for us to work with. Looking forward to these special events and knowing the inspiration they will bring keeps us going in the middle of the intense busy times of the season and we are grateful!!
Of course another highlight was again being chosen as a Knot Best of Weddings vendor for the 6th year in a row!! It is only because of our lovely couples who take the time to leave us wonderful reviews that we can be chosen for this honor. How can we thank all of our wonderful couples?!! We are grateful to you.
2019 brought something new for us! We decided to submit several albums of our work to blog publications and feel so grateful that our work has been seen and published on these platforms above. To actually view the blog feature, click on the Two Bright Lights button below for the direct links.
Our hearts are grateful and full as we realize our dream of being able to serve at the orphanage in Magdalena, Mexico “Casa Vida Y Esperanza” with some of the proceeds from our weddings funding these trips. We love all the staff and kids there and are thankful for these opportunities.
Fancy Nancy reached a milestone this year turning 60 years young!! Even though many people tell her she looks young for her age, she does “feel” her age and has especially struggled with some lower back, hip and leg pain this past year.
We haven’t made this announcement public yet…but here it is! We have been hired to help decorate floats for the Rose Bowl in California and will be leaving the day after Christmas!!! We really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves in for when we applied and so we are asking all of our fans to please pray that Nancy’s hip and leg will hold out during the gruelling work days from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. with only 1/2 hour for lunch and dinner break. In addition Nancy was told she would be on a ladder most of the time. As a rose lover it has been a dream of hers to attend the Rose Bowl Parade and now she will realize her dream of not only seeing the parade but getting to help decorate the floats. Again we are so grateful. The floats we are assigned to are: Trader Joe’s, Huntington Gardens, RFD TV/Cowboy Channel and City of Alhambra.
Last but not least we are so grateful to our wonderful family who is willing to step in and help out when needed!! After just coming through our busiest season ever, Nancy has been doing some soul searching and has set some boundaries for herself in 2020!! She will be doing less weddings next year; only one per weekend. Because of this we also have a new minimum order to book; that way the week we are committed to a wedding will be worth our time and if there is not a wedding booked, we will have more time to enjoy our most wonderful and delightful grandchildren!!!
Thank you for following along on our Floral Journey this year! We can’t wait to see what exciting adventures next year will bring.
We do still have some open dates in 2020 so if you are recently engaged and flowers will be an important part of your wedding vision please call, text or email for more information on how to have the fabulous wedding flowers of your dreams!!! 309-212-6570 or firstname.lastname@example.org