LEAH RIFE PHOTO

Feature Friday: Angela Stoffregen of Solstice Floral

Hello friends! I’m incredibly excited to be starting a new blog series where I’m featuring local creatives, specifically local creatives within the Indiana wedding and event industry, as a way to highlight parts of wedding planning beyond photography. As a wedding and lifestyle photographer here in Indianapolis, I love getting to network and connect with others in the industry, and I’m really excited to share these creatives with my audience and clients!

I’m so honored to have Angela Stoffregen of Solstice Floral as my first feature on the blog today sharing about her work and herself. I first connected with her through Instagram, and have since been able to meet in person a few times. She is very kind and warm, and creates some incredibly stunning floral pieces. I sent her some questions, and I truly loved reading through her answers!

Angela provided me with some amazing images of herself and her work that you’ll get to enjoy as you read through. As a note, all images in this post are not mine, and have been credited to the photographer who captured them.

I hope you enjoy the feature, and I’m so excited for you to learn more about Angela and Solstice Floral!

Photo by Angela Stoffregen

Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, how you got into floral design.

I’m from Indiana, born and raised, but I moved to Indy only five years ago. I’m not into sports, but if I was I’d be a Bears, Bulls, and Cubs fan so there’s an indication of what part of Indiana I come from – ever heard of a ‘Region Rat’? I had the time of my life at IU where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Business but learned shortly after graduating that the white collar wasn’t the garb for me. The day I walked into a flower shop to apply for a job would solidify what I had long suspected: that my innate desire to create with my hands — to make art, to make beauty, to make joy — that was what felt right to me. I spent a few years working at the shop and loved it for the most part. Holidays are hard for florists – most retail florists practically give up their holidays with families – so I wanted a little more flexibility. Plus, I grew to love, love, love wedding florals with a deep passion. So, with a vision and some careful planning, my business was born.

Photo by Cecelia Lucy Photography

You recently rebranded. Can you share a little bit about that and what made you decide to do that? I really, really love your new brand!

Thank you! I started my business under the name Fleurish Floral Design. At the time I thought I was the first person to come up with the cute, punny, perfect name that it was! I learned that as it turns out, that variations of Fleurish/Flourish are everywhere in the flower industry, so I wanted something a bit more unique to my story. I often hear from clients and people in general that there’s a warmth about my presence – so I wanted a name that evoked that feeling of warmth, of sunlight, and of nature. The summer solstice is nature at its peak. I love to garden, and I love how our garden looks so lush in June, with the warmth of the sun shining on everything. The solstice also signals the changing season and with changing seasons come new, exciting bounties of blooms and foliage in different varieties, colors, and textures that inspire me. I try to embrace the changes with gratitude for anything the earth provides for me as a medium for my art. The joy of my own wedding day is what drives my deep passion for wedding work, and coincidentally Patrick and I were married on June 20, the summer solstice. All of this felt so close to home and connected to my heart…. so, after some reflection Solstice Floral was the obvious choice.

Photo by Sarah Wirth Photography

Do you mostly work with wedding flowers, or do you also work events and other projects?

Primarily my work is wedding flowers, though I have dabbled a bit in corporate events and other smaller scale events like birthdays and showers. I am still exploring what feels right for my business, too. I enjoy doing flower pop-ups very much, because I love how pop-ups allow so many people to walk away with a bundle of pure flower joy in their arms. With Covid putting weddings on hold for a couple of months, the offerings of my business are probably going to make a temporary pivot. I am still brainstorming but am thinking summer bouquet subscriptions may be the next step! 

For wedding couples who are planning, what advice would you give on how soon to reach out about wedding flowers?

Most of the couples I work with reach out anywhere from 1 year to about 8 months out. The peak season fills up quickly, so those getting married between April-Novemberish should try to book their florist soon after the date and venue are set. The boutique style or studio florists like myself book up early because we can only handle so much – many of us are solo operations that can only take 1-2 weddings per weekend. 

Photo by Sarah Wirth Photography

Can you share a little bit about what the process working with you looks like for wedding flowers?

Sure! I start with a coffee & chat with each of our couples. During this conversation I want to really figure out who they are and what kind of wedding they envision, to understand what they are doing to make it theirs. I want to know what they do in their spare time. Are they planning on having their dog walk down the aisle as the ring bearer? Serving their favorite tacos for a late-night snack during dancing? Having bagpipers parade through during the reception? I am looking for thing that tells me the most about who they are as a couple, so that I can design flowers that suit their day most naturally and feel most like them. If they tell me they’re serving barbecue at a barn wedding and that their mom wants the flowers to be calla lilies, that’s where I’m gonna say hey – these pieces don’t fit together, but what if we….? I want to let them know they can trust me, and that this conversation is the most work I want them to have to do. Once I have a sense of their vision, I create a custom floral proposal with photos, suggested blooms, pricing, rentals, and a contract. We meet again closer to the wedding, then I probably tear up when I see their faces on the wedding day. Each time I complete a wedding setup, I get this feeling that I jokingly describe as what sending kids off to college feels like. I hope they are happy; I hope I designed the flowers beyond their imagination, and I root for their new adventure into married life. Throughout the process I really grow to love the people I serve. 

Photo by Sarah Wirth Photography

How do the seasons affect what sort of flowers are available?

Flowers are grown all over the world, and there is so much available year-round from places with flower-friendly climates, but seasonality definitely still affects flower availability. The first two popular wedding flowers that come to mind are peonies and dahlias. Even though it’s sometimes *possible* to get peonies in November, it doesn’t mean they’re going to look their best and it’s certainly not going to be cheap. Dahlias are quite popular as well, but they don’t transport well so it’s best if they can be sourced locally or grown in your florist’s own garden. I don’t want you to pay $10/stem for something that isn’t going to look its best. I’d rather you pay $5/stem for some rock star flower that is in the height of its blooming season. That said, when a bride’s heart is set on something, I’m going to do my darndest to try and make it happen.

What have been some of your favorite pieces you’ve done through the years?

I love creating floral jewelry pieces. Necklaces, bracelets, and hair adornments are some of my favorite pieces to make. A lot of folks don’t like the little tiny detail work but these are where I just zone in and create. Some of my favorite work happens when I have the fewest limitations (that is why we florists ask you to trust us!). Certain bouquets stand out in my mind as well – here are some pics!

Photo by Angela Stoffregen
Photo by Angela Stoffregen
Photo by Sarah Wirth Photography
Photo by Lillian Rose Photography
Photo by Lillian Rose Photography

What is one really practical tip you can offer when it comes to choosing wedding flowers?

It’s hard to decide on just one tip…for many people getting married, it’s the first time they’ve ever worked with a florist or seen flower costs so I love any opportunity to inform people about flowers.

My #1 tip on a macro level: If possible, figure out your overall budget before your guest count and bridal party. Both of these things play heavily into flower costs. I know that the first thing brides like to do is ask their best friends to stand as bridesmaids, which is understandable because that is such a meaningful and sentimental part of the planning process. Having fourteen bridesmaids, however, can easily amount to $1400. Inviting 300 guests can mean 30 centerpieces.

My #1 tip on a micro level: I try to advise people to focus the floral budget where a) most of your photos will happen (such as a ceremony backdrop) and b) where your guests will be spending the most time (at their dinner table, viewing the head table). Smaller details like cocktail flowers and bar flowers help to make an event feel cohesive, but they can be kept to a minimum since guests don’t spend much time in those spaces. 

Oh! And greenery is not necessarily less expensive than flowers! 

What’s a good starting point that couples should expect to budget for wedding flowers?

Everyone’s vision for flowers varies so much that it’s hard to come up with a hard and fast rule on budgeting. A long-standing general rule has been 10% – 15% of the overall budget. Personally, in my experience this number is too low and 20% is more realistic, especially because nowadays Pinterest and Instagram depict larger-budget wedding florals and this is where most couples are gathering their floral inspiration. 

What do you do with all the extra flowers you possibly end up with?

Truth be told, I take a lot of pride in efficiency! I keep my flower orders very lean by building ‘flower recipes’ for every wedding so that excess flowers are kept to a minimum. Little bits of extras might allow me to create a small arrangement to thank a vendor friend or brighten the day of an elderly neighbor. The recipe system isn’t foolproof, and occasionally I’ll have an extra bucket I can donate to Random Acts of Flowers, which is a volunteer-based organization that sends arrangements to folks in healthcare facilities. Wedding couples can also donate their flowers to RAF after the wedding.

Photo by Bekah Wreidt Photography
Photo by Stevenson Photo

Where do you work, do you have a studio, or a home space?

I work out of a studio in my home, but now that I’m also storing decor rentals, vases, candles, and other supplies that seem to multiply when you’re not watching them, I am running low on space. Not to mention, having the business seeping into other parts of our home has presented a challenge when it comes to turning my “work brain” off. So, this spring we are building a studio on our property to take care of the space/boundary issues. I am thrilled!

Tell me some funny/random fact about wedding flowers – like what’s the boutonniere all about, and what is the best way to pin it on?

I once heard that the tradition of a bride carrying a bouquet on the wedding day goes back to times long, long, ago when folks didn’t bathe often. The bouquet was intended to mask any unsavory body odor of the bride. I do NOT know if this is true, but all I can say is that I’m glad the tradition of the bridal bouquet lives on! (As for the groom’s body odor, I’m not sure the single flower on the lapel would have helped much with body odor!)

Is there anything else you would want to share for couples planning wedding flowers that I missed?

Above all else, trust your florist. Professional florists know what works and what looks good. Many of us invest heavily into education where we learn about flower varieties, color palettes and other elements of design. We have relationships with growers and flower distributors who go above and beyond to supply us with the most beautiful blooms. We’ve got relationships with other florists who have our backs in case of an emergency, and we’ve got theirs. Trust your florist.

Photo by Patrick Stoffy Photo

Ok, so I want to end all my interviews with these same questions. 🙂

What do you like to do in your spare time? I love to garden – our backyard is my personal heaven in the summer! My husband and I love to travel, and I love to throw the frisbee and cuddle with my dog, Sadie.

What’s your favorite tv show right now? The Office, always.

What’s something you’re really proud of? (I love this question because it prompts self-affirmation, which can be hard for some people even though they have so much to be proud of!) I’d say I’m most proud of the relationships my business has allowed me to cultivate – relationships with clients, with vendor friends, with floral freelancers, and many others. I love Indy so much and love the sense of community around me. 

Are you a night owl or an early bird? Early bird! Getting worms since ’89.

What is one big dream you have for the future? I have a big dream of doing something in agro-tourism. I hope that wedding flowers would continue to be a part of it, but I envision a small flower & veg farm with a bed & breakfast on the property. A place for people to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature, plus a place for hosting workshops, retreats, with farm-to-table flowers and food. You said ‘a big dream’, so that’s me shooting for the stars!

Photo by Cecelia Lucy Photography

Many thanks to Angela for taking time to answer the interview questions and let us take a peek into her process and passion! Please go check out her website, and follow her on Instagram!

Are you in the wedding or event industry in the Indy and surrounding areas? I would love to feature you and share about your business and yourself! Send me an email at leahrifephoto@gmail.com or message me and let’s chat!

  1. paul mills says:

    Great interview with Angela. This may be a tad biased since I am her father. Angela is a very warm person, talented, smart, and very creative. I am proud of her accomplishments so far. She has combined her creativeness with her smarts and has done quite well so far.

  2. Lisa Sutton says:

    Angela did the flowers for our daughter’s wedding and they were absolutely beautiful! She brings such a unique elegance to her work and her passion shines through every detail. How lucky we were to have her as part of this very special day! ❤️

    • Leah Rife says:

      That’s so amazing! I can imagine how awesome it was working with her – she is so kind and her work is incredible!!

  3. […] feedback I received from my first Friday Feature post last week! If you missed it, check it out here. It’s such an honor to be able to meet and connect with so many Indianapolis wedding and […]

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Hey friends, my name is Leah Rife! I am a wedding, family, and lifestyle photographer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’m also the creator of The Haven Mentorship, a regular resource, and workshop for photographers.