NEW MARKET, Md. (AP) — For years, Ory Webster has missed out on a lot of things: holidays with family, a casual Sunday brunch. He's filled most of his days — every day but Mondays, when he tries to take time off — helping hundreds of couples create their own holidays: their wedding anniversaries.
"The fact that I'm part of something so special in someone's life, you can't beat that," Webster said. "It's quite special."
Webster has traveled from coast to coast and even internationally to design florals for events, but he feels most at home in his house on Main Street.
Webster and Ory Florals co-owner Steve Jeweler stumbled upon the house on a Monday afternoon drive. The 100-year-old Victorian, with its rose-stained glass window above the kitchen sink, seemed a perfect fit for the duo, who moved their business there eight years ago.
The stairs to the house's second floor — Jewelers' domain with the business office — are filled with neat stacks of upcoming orders.
The dining room table is arranged with ornate vases, candles and books showing previous designs.
Especially during this time of the year, several brides a week sit around the table telling Webster about themselves, their soon-to-be spouses, the vibe of their wedding, and of course, their budget.
"I guide my clients without pushing any trends," Webster said. "I don't agree with trends or rules. A wedding is about the couple."
And while he can create towering cascades of calla lilies or chandeliers made entirely of carnations and candles, Webster said he's also designed weddings with just petals or no flowers at all.
After consultations, Webster said he invites couples and their guests to explore New Market, often sending them over to Milo's restaurant for a meal.
"We definitely have close ties with all of our neighbors and the area businesses," Webster said.
He sent a bouquet to the restaurant, a few doors down, when it opened and is planning arrangements for the grand opening of the newly rebuilt firehouse across the street.
During the winter months, when there aren't as many weddings taking place, Webster and Jeweler decorate local homes, country clubs and businesses for the holidays.
The biggest event they've ever undertaken was Barbie's 50th birthday party held by Mattel at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington. All of the flowers were white to contrast with the pink decor and lighting, Webster said.
Even though the end result is eye-catching, Webster said the work that goes into events often is not. "It's not glamorous getting to the end result," he said. "It's a lot of hard work. It's a lot of heavy props and big buckets."
Sometimes, Webster and Jeweler even have to try to fool Mother Nature.
For a bat mitzvah event in D.C. this spring, they had to trick a batch of cherry blossom branches into blossoming. Using two outbuildings at different temperatures — one hot, one cool — they managed to get the buds to burst two days before the event.
With peak bloom of the city's famed trees postponed this spring, the hotel manager joked that he should charge passers-by $1 to come in and view their work.
"I'm very fortunate and blessed to do what I do," Webster said. "I can't imagine doing anything else."
Jeweler points to a framed photo of Webster and a bride near the dining room mantel.
"This is his favorite thing to do — hand the bride her bouquet," he said. "We've had a lot of great memories."