What Is A Chapel Designer?

What is a Chapel Designer? We get asked this question a lot! In a nutshell, a Chapel Designer is a member of an international collective of wedding and event floral designers called The Chapel Designers. Under the direction of founder Holly Heider Chapple, the organization not only educates, supports, and mentors creatives, but also encourages individual designers to be his or her most authentic self.

 Image courtesy of  Dasha Caffrey Photographer

Image courtesy of Dasha Caffrey Photographer

While we can answer the question based on Holly Chapple's vision, we thought it might be more helpful to pose the question to individual Chapel Designers and get their perspectives. Here's what a few of them had to say: 

My definition of a CD has definitely been redefined in the last 9 months. A CD is the glue, the love, the support that held me together, lifted me up and inspired me during my battle with breast cancer. I can sincerely say that being a CD is what gave me the peace of mind that my business would not fail while I was forging this battle. Without the love and hands on support of my CD family, I'm not sure my business could have sustained viability. -Parie Donaldson, Parie Designs, Amarillo, Texas

I think a Chapel Designer is a florist/floral designer that loves their job so much they never want to stop learning, growing and improving this industry. That's what I see in this tribe! -Jil Peterson, Stables Flower Co, Coleraine, United Kingdom

They are magical, wonderful unicorns in the business of floral design. Extremely supportive and your biggest cheerleaders. -Ozzie Gromada Meza, Gromeza Floral Design Studio, Chicago, Illinois

We are a community of incredibly talented florists who inspire and raise each other up. We want to elevate the industry and expand our own knowledge and skills. Being a part of this group has most certainly pushed me farther both in creativity and in terms of business sense. It's an incredible resource and I have met some truly amazing people who I now consider to be friends, and people who I can call if I need an extra set of hands! -Blair Roberts, Sweet Blossoms LLC, Frederick, Maryland

For me being a Chapel Designer is about family ...the talent, support and experience in this group is unparalleled -we're all family, we're here for one another in all aspects, we help one another with our business needs as well as supporting one another in our personal lives and Holly makes sure each one of us feels her love. It's our safe place in this tough industry. - Lisa Radu, Aspen Florist, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

I think Chapel Designers are dedicated to "doing better" and running a business with integrity, professionalism and on-point mechanics & technique. We also share our knowledge freely with one another without fear of competition. -Alison Ellis, Floral Artistry, Jericho, Vermont

For me it's a safe place (my flower family) to ask questions, share and grow with like minded floral designers who are seeking quality designs while running profitable businesses with integrity & professionalism. -Janelle Gerestein, Flowers by Janie, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Being a CD is what brought me back and pushed me past my cancer. It gave me the confidence to re-launch my life in the direction that I love. It honored my inner warrior and helped me transition my strength back to living. It is a constant source of confidence, both professionally and personally. Such a unique energy. It's being part of a team. Having colleagues and coaches helps me take the risks necessary to run a business and be creative. It is really a family. -Lindsay Diminick, Yellow Twist Floral Design, Scarborough, Maine

As the sole CD in South Africa, the Chapel Designers have become my beautiful floral family - many of whom I have never met -but yet they all have a beautiful desire to assist their fellow CDs. I am in my 3rd year of being a CD and I can promise it is life changing, uplifting, and inspiring.  As with any organisation, the culture comes from the top and I truly believe that the CD group is a massive testament to the huge heart of Holly Chapple and her love for her industry and peers/colleagues. -Coral Shortt, Green Goddess Flower Studio, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

A Chapel Designer is - or is seeking to become - an artist who uses flowers as their creative medium. They're open to traditional rules and techniques, but also willing to break them. There is strength in numbers and joining the CD community encourages floral creatives to flourish - personally and professionally. Floristry can be an isolating industry, however the CDs embrace you, emulating Holly, on every level! -Sarah Allen, Love at First Sight Styling, Watford, United Kingdom

For me being a CD is about altruistic creativity and support -Nadia Di Tullio Steele, Nadia Di Tullio Flowers, Ashbourne, Derby, United Kingdom

Validation, support and encouragement... with a little crazy thrown in. It is having people who understand your vocation and lifestyle but on a global scale who you might not have even met! -Sarah Richardson, Leafy Couture, Otley, United Kingdom

Being a CD is a journey of discovery. -Yvonne Ramsay, Ollie-Rose & Blu, Killearn, Scotland

We are family. Special family. So many good gifts shared by all. We have similar ideals and share in the love of all things beautiful. Flowers, tablescapes, creativity, china, ribbon, relationships! We are a tribe. We are diverse and like minded. We are magical and mystical, and somehow, woven together in ways that are difficult to describe. Yet, time after time I feel a connection with CDs beyond any other relationships I've known. And it feels safe and cozy and fun and funny and exciting and thrilling, changing all the time. Being a CD has never, for me, been a disappointment . And I've never met a CD that I didn't like! That's a lot of good stuff!! -Rebecca Raymond, Rebecca Raymond Floral, Vashon Island, Washington

Learning heart. Listening to my heart. Designing from it. 
I have the formalities with coming from AIFD. But, these people over here design with their souls. It's not something that's easily trained. -Gina Thresher, From The Ground Up Floral,  Kent, Washington

I've been thinking a lot about this for the last few weeks as it's all coming together for me on so many levels - and I know that the daily inspiration that I find with these creative, business savvy people has changed my life. And, I don't mean just my professional life. It's a blessing. I mustered the courage to reach out and become a Chapel Designer after volunteering at Flower House in Detroit. My role was minuscule but everyone was incredibly kind, happy, and there was such a collaborative spirit. Only in retrospect did I learn that most of the people that I was interacting with were Chapel Designers. And, so it goes on... Thank you for your giving spirit. Thank you for your kindness and your brutal honesty. Thank you for your inspiration. It's given me the confidence and knowledge to move forward in my business, contribute to my family and have more confidence in myself and my endeavors. -Julia Girdler, The Petal Lady LLC,  Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

 A kind ear, listening heart. A tool. An open refuge of giving and receiving. A reservoir of knowledge and spirit of enthusiasm and genuine, honest, kind good will within the floral industry. -Christy Hulsey, Colonial House of Flowers, Statesboro, Georgia