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South Carroll: After couple’s wedding plans nixed by coronavirus closures, Mount Airy boutique steps up

On March 20, Hilary and Alex Chiang celebrated their wedding at the train station located in the Blossom and Basket Boutique parking lot in Mount Airy. The had to quickly adjust their plans after the venue for their planned wedding was forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 20, Hilary and Alex Chiang celebrated their wedding at the train station located in the Blossom and Basket Boutique parking lot in Mount Airy. The had to quickly adjust their plans after the venue for their planned wedding was forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic.(Courtesy photo)

On March 20, Hilary and Alex Chiang celebrated their wedding between them, along with an officiant, at the train station located in the Blossom and Basket Boutique parking lot in Mount Airy. They had to overcome obstacles to become husband and wife during the unexpected health crisis we are experiencing.

Rene Bonde Shiffler, one of the owners of Blossom and Basket Boutique, was able to help this couple to celebrate their wedding. 

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Blossom and Basket Boutique is a local business owned by Bonde Shiffler and her mom, Ellie Bonde. They are a full-service flower shop for special events. 

Bonde Shiffler explained that the couple, Hilary and Alex, have been planning this wedding for many months. They hired Blossom and Basket Boutique to do the floral arrangement for their wedding that was supposed to happen at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown on March 21. 

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“All of the flowers had been ordered, and some were already in my building when we got the call Monday [March 16] afternoon that all restaurants (including their venue) had to close,” Bonde Shiffler said, in reference to the state order that was made in response to the spreading coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. 

On March 20, Hilary and Alex Chiang celebrated their wedding at the train station located in the Blossom and Basket Boutique parking lot in Mount Airy. The had to quickly adjust their plans after the venue for their planned wedding was forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 20, Hilary and Alex Chiang celebrated their wedding at the train station located in the Blossom and Basket Boutique parking lot in Mount Airy. The had to quickly adjust their plans after the venue for their planned wedding was forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic.(Courtesy photo)

Bonde Shiffler added that after this announcement, she planned on creating most of the flowers as planned, then the bride would pick them up and transport them to her mother’s house across the Bay Bridge, where they would have their 10-person family gathering on March 21. 

Unfortunately, the couple had a marriage license that was only valid in Carroll County. Because of this, the bride contacted Bonde Shiffler on March 18, asking if the shop was located in Carroll County, and Bonde Shiffler said yes. 

Then, the bride asked Bonde Shiffler, since they were going to Mount Airy to pick up the flowers March 20 in the afternoon, if they could bring their friend, the officiant, Richard Loube, and do a quick ceremony so that “they would be legal.”

Bonde Shiffler said “absolutely” and then, “I verified when they were planning to be at the shop on Friday and we got off the phone.”

“I wanted to make it special for them, as I can only imagine how stressful and disheartening it must be to let go of all of the plans you have spent a year preparing for, just a few days prior,” Bonde Shiffler said. “I love love, I love weddings and I wanted to make it as special as I could.”

Bonde Shiffler said she and her team set up the display that was intended to be at Antrim on the back porch of the train station that’s in the Blossom and Basket Boutique parking lot. 

She added that they set up a table in front of the shop so there would be space to display the cake she bought at Safeway, and the sparkling wine they have for their late night shopping events.  

“When Hilary and Alex got here, and I presented her with her bridal bouquet, and pinned Alex’s boutonniere on him, there were tears of gratitude all around,” Bonde Shiffler said. “I was so excited to be able to share in this special time, and give them a piece of the wedding that they had been planning for so long!”

Bonde Shiffler said the couple was very happy with how everything turned out. 

She also said the couple were able to do their first dance song that they choreographed for their wedding celebration. 

After the dance, Bonde Shiffler said, they pulled out the cake and champagne, and toasted “to all our new friends!”

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Bonde Shiffler is very happy that she was able to help this couple celebrate their wedding even though they did not have guests, the venue and everything they have planned. 

She also added that these are uncertain times and the health crisis has drastically changed her business. 

According to Bonde Shiffler, she had to reschedule all of her March and April events, and the daily flower shop has temporarily closed operations, but they were working on a way to be open for just delivery and curbside pickup.

“We are working via email and over the phone with brides and grooms planning future weddings and events and making sure that once it is safe for us to reopen we will be ready,” Bonde Shiffler said. “Even in times of a health crisis people still have birthdays, anniversaries, new babies are born and people pass away, flowers are usually a part of those celebrations and flowers just make people feel better, and who does not need cheering up now!”

She also sends a message to all of the local businesses in our community. She encourages them “to be safe, but be proactive, and continue doing what you are good at! Using technology to keep connected and keep your business in the forefront of people's minds is what I think will carry us through.”

For more information about Blossom and Basket Boutique, you may visit their website, https://blossomandbasket.com/

You may also contact Ellie and Rene Bonde at their email, blossomandbasketmanager@gmail.com, to use their services and help our local businesses. 

Blossom and Basket Boutique is located at 3 N. Main St. in Mount Airy. 

Sharina Taveras Lopez covers Eldersburg, Sykesville, Mount Airy, Winfield, Taylorsville and neighboring communities. Reach her at st008@connections.mcdaniel.edu.

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