'Flowers make the day': Wedding surge leads to a frantic floral race

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

As COVID-19 forced couples to reschedule weddings — and then scramble for new dates — florists like Marcy Almoney were doing much the same.

"What happened was everyone kind of panicked through COVID about how we were going to do all of our events," said Almoney, the owner and event designer of Foster’s Flower Shop. "Everyone really came together." 

A huge influx of weddings and events postponed previously has caused a major shift for local florists. Mainly, florists are dealing with scheduling, supply issues and an increased workload.

The community is tight-knit, however, and Almoney stepped in where she could to help her colleagues out — while still running her own business full time.

A portrait of Marcy Almoney in her flower shop in Spring Garden on Friday, Aug. 19 2022.

"We have a couple florists that we're all sort of working together behind the scenes," she said. "I'm delivering for a couple florists, I'm freelancing for a place out in Maryland. I help my other floral friends around here — so I am busy." 

Weddings scheduled for 2022 are at the biggest peak since 1984, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Approximately 2.47 million weddings are happening in the U.S. this year, according to statistics provided by the Wedding Report, a research company that tracks and forecasts wedding industry statistics.

As a result, more weddings are happening on days that might seem unconventional — like on a Thursday, Almoney said. 

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After the wave of summer weddings, Almoney is happy for a few weeks to slow down. It won't last long, however, with wedding season picking back up after Labor Day. 

"We had this recovery phase and everyone was scrambling. I think now we're getting back to normalcy," Almoney said. "When I talk to just local venues around here, there are more weddings than there have ever been." 

While Almoney can handle the influx of orders with ease, the bigger issue among florists in York County is supply disruptions. 

A portrait of Marcy Almoney in her flower shop in Spring Garden on Friday, Aug. 19 2022.

Her Ecuadorian flowers, for instance, are experiencing a lower survival rate than usual.

Flights being canceled for vacationers also affect Almoney's floral passengers. 

"Flights are getting consolidated and so the flowers are technically getting bumped off the flight," Almoney said. "They end up sitting in the tarmac cooking in the sun."

Beyond flowers, items like glassware and vases are on back-order.

When certain types of flowers are unavailable, how do florists find a perfect substitute to make couples happy?  

For Amanda Witmer, the owner and lead designer with Everyone Deserves Flowers, the answer lies in her business model. 

Amanda Witmer, the owner and lead designer with Everyone Deserves Flowers, works on a floral arrangement. Photo courtesy of Amanda Witmer.

"We like to sell our packages as more of a color, a look and a feel as opposed to focusing in on a flower type," Witmer said. "That way, we as creators have a little bit of leeway to play with and be creative."

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That model makes choosing the right flowers easier.

Witmer also attested to supply issues, adding that cylinder vases she uses to deliver the bouquets jumped in price from $1 to $7. 

Amanda Witmer, the owner and lead designer with Everyone Deserves Flowers, works on a floral arrangement. Photo courtesy of Amanda Witmer.

"You really have to prepare in advance," Witmer said. "I look at my calendar a year in advance, and if I see a bunch of supplies of something I need, I start looking for it and collecting it in the off season." 

For florists, everything is about scheduling and timing. 

Looking ahead to 2023, Witmer already has 32 events booked.

"I know I'm a florist, but I do feel like flowers make the day," Witmer said. "Those are things, the details, that people are looking at." 

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.