Wedding Season 2021 turned out to be pretty crazy for the floral industry and for florist doing wedding flowers. As we look back, our last blog post we wrote was at the end of 2020 and was titled “How Covid Changed 2020 Wedding Season.” 2021 was crazy because it was so busy and we didn’t have time to write one single blog post. Well now that our 2021 season is over and we have had time to catch our breath, let us tell you how Covid changed our 2021 season!!
2020 Postponed Weddings Took Place In 2021
For so many couples who had to postpone their 2020 wedding, like Cheryl and Esteban pictured below, it was a happy and long awaited day to finally have their celebration in 2021 and we truly rejoiced with each one!! But the year started out extra busy for us as we spent many hours working on these rescheduled events, making changes, refiguring recipes and redoing proposals. 2021 felt like doing two years worth of work in one year!
Multiple Small Weddings vs One Large Wedding per Weekend?
Because only small weddings were able to happen in 2020, we booked multiple smaller events for 2020 and 2021. For those that chose to postpone and have their larger celebration in 2021 we worked them into our already busy 2021 season giving us 2 -3 events most weekends which was an insane schedule for our small business to keep up with! Logistically of course it is easier to deliver and set up one larger wedding making full use of delivery vans and help versus sending out several smaller deliveries of wedding flowers and bridal bouquets in opposite directions. It is not just logistics, but also multiple smaller weddings mean that we are working with more clients, vendors & venue schedules which is not as efficient. For 2022 we are going back to doing just one wedding per weekend and therefore we have a minimum $3000 order to book.
Demand For Flowers Increase
By summer larger weddings and events were taking place so there was increased demand for wedding flowers, bridal bouquets, etc. which helped contribute to a global flower shortage by late summer/fall. This shortage was caused by many different factors. Flower farms had cut back on production during the 2020 shutdown, and those farms were still trying to bring back production even as an unprecedented demand for flowers world wide took place. After years of declining demand for fresh flowers, suddenly people had rediscovered the joy of having fresh flowers and plants in their homes as everyone spent more time working from home and spending time at home.
Currently a large percent of the flowers in the US are imported from South America. The weather was unusually cool and rainy in South America during late summer and fall. The poor weather slowed production and maturity of many of the wedding flowers. In addition to the poor weather, the farms were also dealing with shortages of items needed for production such as fertilizer, insecticide and greenhouse supplies. It all came together as the perfect (or should we say imperfect) storm!
The flower shortages led to pricing increases. Most of our flower proposals are written at least a year out from the wedding. We realized that we did not have anything in our contract to cover a large price increase. Going forward we revised our contract which give couples the option to pay an upcharge if there is a price increase of more than 20%. If they pay the upcharge, their flower recipe will stay the same. If they choose not to pay the upcharge, we reserve the right to decrease the size of the arrangement, or substitute some less costly blooms.
Shipping delays added to the flower shortage woes. Flowers are shipped in available cargo area of passenger flights and so with less people flying, there were was less space for flowers to ship. The shipping problems were not just limited to flower imports. In the states, shipping companies were dealing with staffing shortages and at the same time were faced with greatly increased demand. The increased demand came from so many ordering online, vaccine shipments, etc. As you can imagine, shipping fresh flowers and having them delayed 2 – 3 days is a disaster. Delays became so common that Fed Ex stopped covering losses from delayed shipping. That in turn caused farms to quit giving credit for bad product.
Supply Chain Challenges
As if that wasn’t enough trouble with getting fresh product, many of our hard goods & supplies became unavailable. This caused some real challenges, not just in the floral industry, but across all areas of business. Some of our very basic supplies were not available and supplies that were available increased in price. Creating something beautiful is only possible if you have the supplies and product to work with. Every week it became a challenge as we waited to see what would be missing or unavailable from our order.
Happy New Year – Here’s To A Wiser 2022
While the vast majority of our clients have been absolutely wonderful and understanding, we did get an education in working with people. We learned that you have to have boundaries in place to be able to stay profitable and emotionally healthy. Our bodies are not machines! This year taught us that sometimes those that you bend over backward to please the most are the least appreciative in the end.
We are looking forward to blogging again and sharing photos from our weddings with tips and advice from our couples on wedding planning. We have so many beautiful weddings to share, we can’t wait!
Here’s to a wiser 2022!!
Photos by Stephanie Wood Photography
Venue Epiphany Farms