2020 - Reflection

2020 - Reflection

Posted on December 22 2020, By: Amy Mahony

2020 - Reflection

We just finished up a pretty casual meeting with our team (as most of ours are!) and we had some time to reflect on 2020.  Wow … what a year !?

We had a conference locked in for early 2020 with delegates from overseas and when it cancelled because of a virus called “Corona Virus” we had no idea of what was about to come.

We started 2020 with a beautiful wedding at The Anchorage for a lovely couple called Krystal and Matt. The weddings and events kept flowing since that early January wedding; we were at Nelson Bay Golf Club, Saltwater, The Anchorage and Shoal Bay Country Club. We helped our friends at Sharp+Co style breakfast grazes, we put together flower crowns for customers and dry hired DIY items.

On the weekend of the 20th and 21st March 2020 we had 4 weddings, and things were starting to become strange. Corona Virus had really taken hold and we knew that life as we knew it was about to drastically change.

So, we got together with our team who were starting to panic just as much as us and told them that we love them all but we really don’t know what was about to happen. We then emailed all our couples to say that everything is “business as usual” but maybe have a Plan B in place. 

We went from having one of our busiest years to date to doing just over 30 weddings.  We managed to move most of our couples to the dates they wanted in 2021, and we are happy to say that out of over the 100+ weddings we have locked in, we only had 2 cancel outright.  We think this is just such an amazing thing!

On 23rd March 2020 we put on our socials that we were taking a pause.  It said something like “So ... just for the moment we're pausing; not going anywhere, just pausing, resetting, and getting some stuff done!”. And pause is exactly what we did. We went from having a team of 6 working across 7 days a week to putting the business into hibernation for a few weeks in April and May. 

But, in true A Beautiful Occasion style, we took this time to recentre and concentrated on the things like homeschooling our amazing and resilient kids; we planned, we laughed, we cried and we felt every emotion like we know you all did. We got some amazing processes and procedures in place because we knew that weddings as we knew it, would look different in the future.  We took a step back and really did just … pause. It was nice … for a moment!

Of course, we’re not great at pausing for too long. We’re creatives and like to be busy, so 2 weeks after our pause, we did a flower drop online called “The Lockdown Bunch” and they sold out! We were so proud of the amazing Port Stephens community and how they got behind us during a worldwide pandemic!

With Mother’s Day coming up in May, we decided to open up our online florist again at the end of April for this very special day and our bunches sold out AGAIN! We delivered over 100 fresh bunches to local Mum’s and it was so amazing getting all our staff back to help us.

Over the last 18 months, we worked with so many couples and the demand for the use of dried and preserved flowers to be used in their wedding.  Whether it be from a bit of dried hydrangea in a bouquet or dried palms on the arbour, the trend has slowly been evolving. We also started getting more requests to put together dried flower arrangements to sell online at A Beautiful Occasion.  Every time we did a release, they would sell out, which really got us to thinking … what if selling the dried flowers was sustainable on a bigger scale?  We constantly heard the word ‘pivot’ during COVID-19; how businesses had to start thinking outside the box to be able to get through the hard times.  So, we chatted and chatted some more and our little idea we had been toying with for some time came to life, and with it, Bonnie & Scout was born.  This section of A Beautiful Occasion sells dried and preserved flowers to retail and wholesale clients.  Bonnie & Scout now has an amazing reputation for the quality of products and customer service.  We had to learn lessons along the way but are so happy with our little pivot point!

But for all of this, we have just LOVED that even during the lockdown, weddings still went ahead.  We had one at our warehouse with just 5 people; we worked with one of our couples who moved their Port Stephens wedding to a beautiful location in the hinterland of the Central Coast and had just a small, intimate event and we loved that no matter was going on in the world around us, we were still able to bring couples their dream weddings.

With restrictions changing again now to allow dancing (thank gosh because a wedding without dancing is just not right!), more people and more socialising, we are starting to get the enquiries coming in thick and fast again. 2021 is going to be a big year and we are so excited.

For those couples who have had to move, amend, and adjust your wedding plans or date this year; thank you for being amazing.  You have shown us that you are all resilient, flexible and just all-round good humans! There were never any issues with you all.  You took all the changes in your stride and worked with the current rules and regulations.

To all our new couples who booked during a global pandemic; thank you! You’ve shown us that you trust us enough that even though the world might look a little uncertain, you still believe in a business that can make your wedding dreams come true.

We are so happy that we have been able to work with you all.

We’re looking forward to 2021.

Thanks for your support this year team.  We appreciate you all.

Amy + Sara and the Team at A Beautiful Occasion