The wedding business is definitely a small world. I met Aubrey Rich of Willow Floral Boutique through my friend and another Vendor Spotlight - Erin Padgett. Aubrey did the flowers for one of her weddings and I saw the pictures on Instagram. I fell in love with her floral designs and I hope that you will too.
What made you decide to start your business?
I actually bought the company from the previous owner in 2012. I worked for her throughout college and when I met with her to discuss my own wedding flowers she ended our consultation by offering to sell it to me. Her husband was relocating the family for a new job, so she had to quickly sell it and was hoping and praying I would be the person to buy it and take over. She taught me everything! And it’s crazy because I had just graduated college in May, got married at the end of September and started up the business October 15…what a whirlwind! But such an answer to prayers, I had always dreamed of owning my own flower shop but figured that would be something to come much later in life.
What differentiates you from the other florists in the Charlotte area?
Being so young, 25 years old, is something that makes me very different from other florists. My brides are usually around my age, so I can relate with them and understand the styles and aesthetics they’re going for. I’m always up for a challenge and creating new and interesting designs with flowers, and I think a lot of that has to do with my young and fresh outlook in what can be a more traditional industry. And then there’s the fact that I also have my mom working with me – she relates to the mommas immediately being the social butterfly that she is.
How many weddings do usually do a year?
Wow, I'm impressed and all of a sudden really tired hearing that. Especially, considering you provide other floral services on a daily basis.
How do you divide your time so that you can dedicate to everything on your plate?
We usually try to knock out daily flower deliveries in the morning and work on weddings in the afternoon. Now I say that very loosely! I am not necessarily the most Type-A person, so there are some days where we jump back and forth and just work to get it done, whatever that may look like. Sometimes there’s a Friday night where I’ll bring home some boutonniere and corsage projects for a wedding.
How long do you typically work with a bride?
My favorite time frame to work with a bride is 6 months out from her wedding date. I initially meet with a bride for 30 minutes to an hour to go over everything, look at pictures she likes, talk budget and all that good stuff. From there we email back and forth to hammer out any further details. About a month or 2 out we’ll meet again and make sure we’re on the same page.
What trends do you see with the current brides?
Mixing metals and wood is big right now, which I am LOVING! Neutral color palettes seem to be a long lived trend…and I’m a color freak, so although neutrals are gorgeous I’m kind of hoping it changes soon. Some keywords I’ve been hearing a lot: woodsy, romantic, vintage
I am a big fan of mixing metals and wood together too. You would LOVE my house.
What is the most popular wedding color so far this season?
For the Fall: think wine – burgundy, plum, gold/beige (yummy).
For the Spring: blush, cream, mint
What times a year do you find are the busiest for this area?
Spring and Fall are huge, particularly May and October
What do you love most about helping brides in the area?
Someone’s wedding day is one of the most momentous days of their lives; it is one of the biggest joys helping them make it beautiful with something we love so much, flowers. It’s truly an honor! Sometimes we get brides coming to us that don’t have a clear vision of what they want their wedding to look like, or hesitant about colors and design. It’s such a great feeling when they walk away more confident and excited about their vision because of our input and guidance.
If you could plan a dream wedding, what would it be? Place, time, colors, etc…
Place: any old homestead turned venue in the country; rolling hills, ahhh
Colors: Think Southwest fiesta/Cinco De Mayo – tangerine, fuchsia, poppy and yellow with a splash of turquoise and a variety of greenery. Like I said, neutrals are gorgeous, but I love color! I don’t get very many bohemian brides and I think this style would go hand-in-hand with the boho look. Flower crowns all around!
You work with your mother. How is that working together?
We get that question a lot, and we love working together! She grounds me in calm on a weekly basis. When we have a stressful week she’ll make me stop, breath and pray before diving in. It’s kind of weird because technically I’m her boss, but we work more as pals and partners. But I think we work so well together because we’re very like-minded, similar design styles and taste in almost everything. I’m the youngest and the only girl in my family and she’s always been my best friend – she was even my matron of honor. I love her to pieces and literally could not do this without her!
In this day and age, social media has a big presence in the wedding industry. Do you feel it helps you and if so, what mediums do you use the most?
I went to school for web design/communication, but I’m honestly so bad about this! I use Facebook and Instagram on a pretty regular basis. Thank goodness for Instragram with such a visual line of work! People don’t like to read or stay on one web page for long, so I think quick pictures with short captions is essential to all folks in the wedding industry.
Now, it's time for the hard questions. It’s always fun to learn a little about the people behind the business…so...
What do you like to do when you are not working on weddings?
The travel bug bit me at a young age, and my husband and I have an ever-growing bucket-list of places we want to go. We’re always planning our next adventure! We also love hiking, taking our dog Gus to the dog park (unashamed obsessed dog-momma), and going to the different local breweries in Charlotte.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Cabo Fish Taco in NoDa, hands down.
I haven't been there yet, but I have definitely heard good things about it.
You mentioned in your about page that you are a music freak. What are the five presets on your car radio/ipod?
Those five presets change a lot! Currently: Sylvan Esso, The Oh Hello’s, Phantogram, Copeland and Lord Huron. Fleetwood Mac is my all time favorite, forever and always!
Okay, apparently I am REALLY old because the only group out of all of those that I know is Fleetwood Mac.
If you weren’t a florist, what would your dream job be?
In a world where I could sew, I would love to be a fashion designer. But honestly, I feel like I have my dream job! It was my dream to own a flower shop and man, am I blessed :)
Finally, just two more pieces of advice.
For a bride on a budget, what is the #1 thing a bride should not skimp on?
Your bridal party bouquets. We always recommend repurposing things, and your bridesmaids bouquets can act as centerpieces after the ceremony if you’re working with a smaller budget.
If you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?
We love what we do and I think that comes through in our work. We’re not a factory that churns out arrangements, but really love making each and every design. I hope that thoughtfulness and intentionality reads in our work because we care about each bride! We want to be your flower gal pals, so we’re working with you not just for you.
I love that.
Thanks Aubrey for sitting down with us and sharing not only some of your wonderful designs but a little about your story. If you are interested in seeing more of Aubrey's great arrangements, be sure to check out her website and follow her on social media.