‘This is not happening again’: Local floral design shop owner concerned as rise in COVID cases affects business

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va (WRIC) – One Chesterfield floral design shop owner said she’s already seen one couple put their flower design plan for their one year vows renewal ceremony on hold in part due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

Now, Tori Hance, owner and lead designer with Fleuressence, a floral design company based in Chesterfield, is hoping the other 35 couples on her planner for the rest of the year don’t cancel like so many had to do in 2020.

Fleuressence lead designer and owner Tori Hance created her own floral arrangements for her wedding, which was also amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Chelsea Diane Photography)

Henrico newlyweds Fernando Rodríguez and Jason Fair canceled their floral design plan originally set up with Hance due to the spread in delta variant cases. Now the couple isn’t sure what’s going to happen for that ceremony planned for November at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

“It’s hard to plan when there is something that you don’t understand going on in the world,” Rodríguez told 8News in an interview Saturday.

They originally canceled a 10-person COVID wedding at the end of last year, but are now concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases and how it will affect their plans for a one-year vow renewal in the winter.

After having to cancel their 2020 wedding ceremony, Henrico couple Jason Fair and Fernando Rodriguez eloped and began planning a vow renewal ceremony for November 2021. (Photo: C. Hampton Photography)

“There’s a lot of things that are in question right now,” Fair said about their November plans at VMFA.

Vendors in the wedding industry like Hance are also juggling the influx of clients that canceled in 2020, so despite the one cancellation for Hance, things have been busy with 35 couples scheduled through December 2021. She said she’s also had 13 people call to ask about her services in the last week alone.

She said her business is not the only part of these weddings that’s affected by the ongoing pandemic.

“To cancel your wedding because of something that is completely out of your control is like literally the worst thing, and you know, we encourage people to go ahead and have that small ceremony because really, you know, marriage is about you and one other person,” she told 8News, hoping the spread of the delta variant won’t affect any more of her clients’ plans.

“We are talking to our friends and family, letting them know that the date is still planned, but we’re going to have to take this, you know, almost month by month,” Fair said. If their ceremony still happens in November, Fair said they’re asking guests to be vaccinated.

Hance said she’s also dealing with a low availability of products within the floral industry and high prices for those products.

“Luckily, we have some great Virginia flower farms and we’re able to use them, but overall, costs are definitely going up,” she said.

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