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Weddings may be down, but they are not out.

Oelwein natives now living in Elgin, Stephanie Perry and Sam Nehl had just reopened the floral and gift shop, Flowers on Main Gifts LLC, at 18 S. Frederick Ave. last January, as the novel coronavirus threat began to emerge in Iowa. Within months, Gov. Kim Reynolds' health measures restricted large social gatherings.

“So many weddings were postponed, canceled or went super small because of the COVID restrictions on how many people were allowed at gatherings,” Perry said.

“We usually have flower arrangements in the cooler and (are) always willing to put together what they're envisioning,” Perry said.

Brides tend to steer the creative process.

“Most brides already have an idea of what they want when they walk in — they already have their Pinterest board," she said. "If they have any questions about what flowers are in season, we help them out.”

Perry said there were “very few weddings" last season. "Two decided to go with silk (flowers) versus fresh. They wanted something to last longer."

She enjoys the art and serendipity of the floral business.

"It was an opportunity that came by and I fell in love with it along the way," Perry said. "I love the freedom of it and I love to be creative. I put a little bit of myself into every arrangement and make it special."

The longtime Oelwein business had closed its doors at the end of November 2019, but soon after, a friend presented the couple with the idea of reopening it.

Past business owner Linda Rechkemmer and her sister, Dawn Reiter, and former employee Susan Vilmain agreed to step in and help teach them the ropes, according to Daily Register archives.

Reiter described on Wednesday the straits in which couples getting married have found themselves.

“I went to a wedding last year,” Reiter said. “It started out, they were having 300 guests, then they (narrowed) it down to 150. Then when it was all said and done with, they had to have it in their mom and dad’s garage with a tent. That’s the wedding planner this year, is COVID.”


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