The warm weather and new growth of spring are not only breathing life back into flowers and plants, but also to the entire floral industry. The pent-up demand from having to sit out so many celebrations during the pandemic is fueling the festivities and everyone is ready for a good party as soon as it is safe to revel.
The spike in engagement ring purchases in 2020 ushered in a surplus of newly engaged couples, uncertain about wedding plans in 2021. For some, it was an appropriate time to scale back the guest list to an intimate outdoor affair and make the best of the situation, while freeing up funds for designer gowns, added décor or furnishing their home. Others chose to postpone until a larger number of guests felt more comfortable attending and now these weddings are beginning to fill social calendars for the rest of the year.
The focal point we expect to see in celebrations all year is florals. The color, texture and fragrance set the mood, liven up the party and express emotions. The trend that is bouncing back in a big way is to create not only flower arrangements, but also statement pieces made of flowers, such as a full flower wall or floral chandeliers. According to Paula Newberry-Arnold of Denver florist Newberry Brothers, brides are gravitating to natural elements and greenery mixed in with florals.
“Brides are moving away from symmetrical pavé arrangements of roses like we used to see in glam weddings and toward natural florals with more movement and whimsy,” she said. “With all of the shifts these couples are making, these brides still want the centerpieces of their dreams.”
The romantic, dainty and airy ranunculus and anemones are being upgraded from filler flower to center blossom. The emphasis is on texture, and floral designers are adding elements like amaranthus and eucalyptus to the mix to keep it interesting. Newberry-Arnold said that white, ivory and touches of blush are still the most popular bouquet colors. Peaches and burgundies are expected to integrate in by fall. Even though floral décor is big, “brides want understated bouquets for their bridal party right now, in order to best show off the dresses,” Newberry-Arnold said.
Of course, each bride’s taste is unique, which is why Newberry Brothers has a process to discover the personality of the individual and the vision for the wedding day. “We meet with each bride and show her containers, options and photos of different styles. You can see the excitement in her eyes when you have found the right look. Next, the bride comes in for a play date where she gets to watch us create her dream wedding in front of her,” said Newberry-Arnold.
Newberry Brothers has a long history as a wedding and event florist. In fact, its roots in Denver date back to 1947, when three Newberry brothers first opened a greenhouse and wholesale business focused on the first trademarked flower in the United States, the “Colorado Carnation.” In 1950, the company purchased another greenhouse, in Littleton, which was given to the youngest brother, Weldon. Within a few years, Weldon Newberry and his wife, Elizabeth, bought the existing location for what is Newberry Brothers today.
When fuel prices increased, carnations were being imported to the United States for less than they could be grown locally, which prompted diversification in the flowers and plants in the Newberry Brothers’ greenhouse, mostly potted plants for yards. Elizabeth Newberry, Paula Newberry-Arnold’s mother, was interested in expanding the business to retail when one day, a woman entered the greenhouse, saw fresh cut lilies and calla lilies, and asked if Newberry Brothers would be her wedding florist. Elizabeth Newberry agreed to provide flowers for the wedding ceremony for $300, which didn’t even cover the cost of the aisle runner, and from that day forward, Elizabeth Newberry was in love with the wedding and event business.
Paula Newberry-Arnold joined the business at a young age and now co-owns the business with her son Kien Arnold. (He also owns an events business, Charming Chairs at 3125 S. Sheridan St. in Denver, developed based on the need for furniture rentals that Newberry Brothers was seeing in the industry.) Today, Newberry Brothers is a top Denver florist specializing in weddings, galas, themed events and custom florals for corporate and other events as they are able to come back. During the pandemic, Newberry Brothers had to reduce staff to accommodate the diminished demand and cancellation of events but were able to serve clients through home deliveries of arrangements for birthdays, anniversaries and get well presents, as well as weekly deliveries of fresh-cut flowers for homes and corporate offices. A few small weddings and elopements sustained the business, and Newberry Brothers is now staffing up and ready to bloom along with the rest of the events industry.
Danielle Yuthas is well-versed in the events field as vice president of marketing for national large-format printing franchise, SpeedPro. Yuthas is a freelance journalist whose articles have appeared in Franchising World magazine, the Huffington Post travel blog and other local publications. Her favorite flower is the pale pink peony.
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