Beginnings

As some of you may know, we at Holly Chapple Flowers have recently bought and opened our own flower farm here in Lucketts, Virginia. Within the past few months, Hope Flower Farm has hosted several classes and photo shoots. Every day we are working to help Chapel Designers and HCF grow. While I am easily able to update you all on our life through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, blogging has been a struggle. We have had some technically difficulties with this blog and life has been very busy around here! My daughter, Hannah, a senior at VCU, has decided to write posts for me as frequently as her schedule allows. The following post is one that Hannah wrote a few months back, during our first Hope Flower Farm Chapel Designers Workshop with Ariel Dearie. Now that we have the Full Bouquet up and running again, we hope that you come back here every once in a while to see updates on Hope, the Chapel Designers, HCF, and life in the Chapple Family. The posts written by Hannah are her perspective as the daughter of a parent in the wedding industry.

This week has been something special. As I sit on a train headed from Washington, DC back to Richmond, I write this. Tomorrow I start my senior year of college, but this past week has been spent with my family, Holly Chapple Flowers, and the Chapel Designers. These past several days back in Lucketts, Virginia have been my first home since the purchase of Hope Flower Farm. Obviously, my mother wanted to christen her beautiful farm with a Chapel Designers workshop and class. I have never seen my mother teach before—I have to tell you, I have never seen her more in her element. 

Ariel Dearie, designing at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

Ariel Dearie, designing at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

My older sister, Abby, is a floral designer like our mother. She and I have worked with my mom—as have my other siblings—the past week to make sure Hope was perfect for the newest Chapel Designers. My sister and I watched my mother work, we talked with all of the designers, and we prepared the farm.  Last night, my mother had some Chapel Designer “veterans” over to our home, and we talked with them too. Today my sister and I realized something very interesting about my mom, the Flower Mama… she treats her Chapel Designers the way she treats her children.

This silly revelation is something you may not understand if you do not know the Chapple Family. My parents have seven children, and we range from 28 to six years old. We are close, even with such a drastic age gap. While my mother can play and have fun with all seven of us, the way she treats us is very different.  What I noticed within the past 24 hours of seeing both new and old Chapel Designers is that my mother treats the old CDs the way she treats her older children, and her new CDs the way she treats her younger children.

Holly Chapple and Ariel Dearie at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop in August of 2015. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

Holly Chapple and Ariel Dearie at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop in August of 2015. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

My mother is nurturing, regardless of whomever she is talking to. With her veteran Chapel Designers that we spent time with last night, she joked and swapped stories, the way she does with my elder siblings and I. With her new Chapel Designers she spent time with today, I noticed her offering a lot of “motherly” advice. Obviously these new Chapel Designers are just as skilled as the other members of our organization, but they’re new to the gang. My mom takes these new designers under her wing and teaches them, almost babying them, the way she does with my younger siblings.  This may seem like a meaningless connection to make, but it is crucial in explaining why we own Hope, and why my mom is so happy now.

The reason my mother is so incredibly in her element as a teacher of the Chapel Designers is because it combines her two passions better than anything I’ve ever seen—she can nurture and design. I guess this is why they call her Flower Mama. Hope is a step in the right direction for my entire family, but most importantly, it’s best for my mother.  Combining her two passions means that she will be able to bring more and more to this industry that she’s devoted the past 23 years of her life to.

To me, my mother has just always been my momma. But within these past several years since the forming of the Chapel Designers, I’ve realized how amazingly talented she truly is. Honestly, it’s rare now if I go a few days without bragging about my mom.  The Chapel Designers is something I don’t think she ever fathomed, and now that it is here, she’s happier than she’s ever been.  Combining flowers and parenting… who would have thought?

I suppose this post is a thank you to every single Chapel Designer. All 100-something of you. Whether in Ireland or Mexico, North Carolina or California, you have given my mother a new zest. My mom wears many different hats—mother, designer, grower, farmer, etc. I love being my mother’s daughter, and I have loved watching her be a florist these past 20 years, but this new hat, the hat of a teacher, is the best one I’ve seen her wear yet.

Holly teaching at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop in August of 2015. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

Holly teaching at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop in August of 2015. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.