Meet our vendors and find out why we're not your average wedding expo.
Valley Wed is a unique wedding show offering couples a handpicked selection of exceptional wedding pros in Western Mass. It's designed especially for couples that want to go their own way, but they don’t want to go it alone.
Meet Linda Ruel Flynn, owner of Flora-Ly and
second-generation artisan flower preservationist.
When did you start your business?
I started my business a little over four years ago. My mother had Lydia's Pressed Flowers for over thirty years which I took over when she passed away five years ago. I have slowly been making it my own. The name, Flora-Ly is in her honor; her family always called her Ly.
Why do you do what you do?
At first it was about carrying on my mother's legacy. Thirty years of preserved wedding bouquets is a lot of legacy. But now the why and has changed to my why. My why is two-fold: I create a lasting talisman connecting people to the memory of their wedding. The bouquet you carry down the aisle to meet your future carries a connection to the ceremony that no other piece does.
The second piece of my why is Flora-Ly is the most beautiful form of upcycling. A gorgeous bouquet of flowers does not have to be relegated to drying on a dresser or tossed in the trash. The one thing I hear over and over again is, "I wish I had known about you when I got married because my bouquet is long gone and I just loved it." Artisan flower preservation brings together beauty, connection and memories, creating a piece of artwork that will forever transport you back to the day you said 'I do.'
What is your very favorite part of your job?
I love designing each piece because it brings so many elements together. Because each keepsake is custom I spend time talking with couples, hearing about the wedding, understanding why they want a keepsake, studying the elements of the bouquet and how it will all come together into a gorgeous piece of art.
What do you want couples to know about you? What makes your business different?
I want them to know I really am honored to be a part of their celebration. Though my work comes after the big day, I feel what do is the quiet moment of exhale when peace, joy and calm settles in and moving forward has begun.
There are a few thing that separates Flora-Ly from others. I am preserving flowers by the traditional method of pressing. One flower - sometimes one petal - at a time. I never use chemicals. I use only the highest quality components in each keepsake. Finally, everything I do truly is custom. No two keepsakes are the same. I approach each keepsake with fresh eyes and renewed appreciation for the flowers in front of me and the couple I am creating for.
What's the best compliment you could hear about your work?
"It is more beautiful than I even imagined it would be." Hearing that never gets old. When, with tears in her eyes, a bride says, "It's perfect. I can't thank you enough. I'm so happy I did this." I often cry along with clients because they are so happy. Our meetings end with hugs and beaming smiles. It doesn't get much better than that.
Can you share one true gem of advice for couples?
Remember why you are getting married. Remind yourself of that everyday and all the details just drift away. Because the why is the most important.
Show us two things you are really proud of…professionally and personally.
I was really proud to be the only out-of-state vendor for the Real Maine Weddings publication/$100,000.00 wedding giveaway. The director found me at a wedding show in Boston and had never seen anything like what I do. I was asked on the spot to be a part of it. It was great!
Personally, my family and close friends are the center of what makes me happy and fulfilled. My husband of 32 years and our two children. They really fill my heart. We, like every family, have had challenges and obstacles. But at the end of the day we know we are held together by respect, unconditional love and a lot of laughing.
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