If you’re anything like me, you probably prefer to work with small business owners who really pour their heart and soul into what they do. This is a huge part of what sets me apart as a wedding photographer, and it’s also a huge part of what makes Black Iris Floral Designs stand out in the New England wedding industry. Owner and artist Rachael Heilner, a Worcester florist who’s been honing her craft and nurturing her passion for over 15 years, has a truly amazing story that led her to where she is today, and one that explains why she’ll never lose her love for wedding floral design. Check it out below (and if you’re a total sap like me, don’t be surprised if you suddenly notice someone cutting onions).
“What do I want to be when I grow up?”
15 years ago, I was a newly single mother trying to start fresh, and this question was constantly running through my mind. The only thing I knew for certain was that I wasn’t cut out for your typical 9-5. I needed to find something I loved and be able to make a career out of it.
I am a creative person who was raised amongst generations of avid gardeners which instilled in me an early appreciation for the beauty of flowers. In fact, it was my mother who ultimately made the suggestion to combine my creativity with my love of flowers. What an “AHA!” moment. Not wasting any time, I immediately enrolled myself into classes and became a Certified Floral Designer. Over the next few years I worked in various flower shops expanding my knowledge and building my talent. I realized my true passion was wedding florals.
Things really started to fall into place for me when in 2010 Meghan, the owner of Black Iris Floral Designs, a home based wedding and specialty events florist, reached out to me to come design for her. Instantly, it was a match made in heaven! Meghan and I worked very well together and she taught me so much about the industry.
We spent the next few years expanding our families and the business, doing weddings throughout New England.
In 2016, I found myself taking a step back. My husband and I learned that our third child would be born with multiple rare heart defects. I needed to take some time off to focus on my family and my medically complex son, Thomas. Thomas lived for nearly 6 months before his broken heart gave out.
I fell into a deep, dark depression.
Months later Meghan reached out. She was ready to move on and presented me with the opportunity to take over ownership of Black Iris Floral Designs. It was my love of flowers that started to draw me out of the darkest time of my life. My passion and purpose had been renewed. I feel like this really sets me apart as a designer; I put so much of my emotions into my work.
The design studio was moved into my home in central Massachusetts. I started to build relationships with new clients.
I genuinely enjoy the entire process and am hands on from the very beginning to the very end. I go above and beyond for all of my clients, personally driving to the flower market and hand picking their flowers; literally matching color swatches to flowers making sure everything is perfect. It is me they have their consultation with, me who puts their vision on paper and then me who ultimately brings it to life with flowers.
The wedding industry is constantly evolving, and I love the creativity this allows me. I truly love a variety of styles, from vintage bohemian to dark and edgy. I love working with innovative couples who challenge me with their fresh designs and concepts.
“What do I want to be when I grow up?”
I want to be known throughout the industry as a talented designer and artist who continually delivers impressive wedding florals.
If you’re building your vendor team for your Central MA/Worcester wedding and are on the hunt for an incredible floral designer, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Rachael and see if she still has your date available! Be sure to follow her on Instagram, too.
And if you’re still looking for the perfect photographer for your big day, drop me a line! I’m excited to connect with you ❤️