Over the past five years, Victoria Hogan has turned her passion for flowers into a bountiful labor of love. After receiving her MFA at UNLV and working on celebrity gardens in New York City, Hogan returned to Las Vegas to launch her traveling pop-up wedding company, Flora Pop. Fusing her artful eye and creative spirit, she turns casual elopements into quaint, picture-perfect moments.
How did you get into the wedding business? When I moved to New York, I worked a bunch of different random jobs, and it was really hard to find jobs in the teaching field, especially in photography. It was really competitive, so I started looking at my other skill sets. Since I grew up in a rural setting, I knew how to grow plants and take care of them. I took care of a lot of rooftop gardens in New York and then it kind of segued into me being interested in cut flowers. I tried to get a job at a few floral studios and kept getting turned down, so I decided that I wanted to try to do it myself. I would make bridal bouquets, put them in my bike and go to the courthouses in Brooklyn and Manhattan and sell these little bouquets on the street.
What were those first years like? I had no idea what I was doing. The courthouses have these weird refrigerators with these very dated looking bouquets and I was going to the market in Chelsea and picking out florals that I liked and putting them together. I was thinking, If I was going to [get married], what kind of bouquet would I want? I decided to move back [to Vegas] and got a job on Fremont taking care of [a] back patio space, and that’s kind of how everything kept spiraling.
What does Flora Pop offer? I try to make it as easy as possible. Elopements should be really simple, and they can be really beautiful. I tried to make it so that [for example], people who live in the U.K. that have never been to the United States can call me and essentially get everything that they need. We do officiating—we don’t really focus on anything religious—[and] the floral aspect and helping arrange transportation, helping them find the location, and giving them recommendations for other services like hair and makeup and photography. Essentially, we become the planner.
Because the weddings are so intimate, does that allow for a better relationship with your customers? I feel like I attract very like-minded people, so I already feel like I know them by the time they get here. I’m getting to know these people, and I’m taking in a very intimate part of their new life together. I really feel like every couple I’ve worked with has become a friend. I’ve had people that have named their children after me. People have gotten tattoos of some of the ceremony writing that I’ve done for them. I had a bride last week that had open-heart surgery, and I had open-heart surgery, so [there are] all these weird parallels. I do meet a lot of very cool people that share the same love of travel and exploration.
What you offer is very different from a traditional religious ceremony, or even the stereotypical Vegas chapel weddings. Having grown up in a very religious household, I knew very early on that I didn’t follow those ideals. My aunt and uncle had a very inspiring elopement. They never signed any paperwork. They flew to Italy, and they waited until the Sistine Chapel was completely empty and they just exchanged vows under the canopy. I just remember being really moved by that. I never sought out to be in the wedding business. Even being a photographer, I despised shooting weddings. Out of necessity, it’s kind of why I’m here, but I found that it actually might be my true calling. I wanted to find a way to refocus the energy back onto what’s important, in my opinion, which is the love that these two people have for each other. It’s not about pleasing your mom or making your dad happy. I ask myself, if I were getting married, how would I do it? What would I want? I figured if this is something I wanted, then there were other people out there like me.
You have a small trailer you use called the teardrop. What is it? Initially, I built it because I wanted to have a roadside flower stand in Vegas. I quickly realized that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, the summers are too hot. So, at the time, I was like, I’m gonna build this thing and if it doesn’t work out, I’m going to live in it.
Is it that big? You can’t stand in it, but you can sleep in it. Mobility has always been my goal; travel has always been my goal, so why not turn this into a mobile chapel of sorts? I can put all my chairs in there, cake, Champagne, any sort of prop that I need. I just drive around and, like a clown car, pull it all out. It was perfect.
Recently I wanted to kind of redirect, so it wasn’t so focused on the teardrop. It is a spectacle and it’s something that a lot of people like, but I didn’t want to become so one-note with it. I still use it for a reception area, but mostly I’ve just been trying to create the simplicity around the landscape, the couple and the bouquet.
Do you find the landscapes yourself? Yeah. I work with a lot of national parks that have areas [for weddings]. Something that I really find enjoyment in is getting in my car and driving to find locations that are just a little outside of a national park, or places that are really remote and less traveled. I love places like Joshua Tree and Palm Springs and Big Sur. I’m always willing to go anywhere.
What’s in the future for Flora Pop? I definitely want to keep it small. I opened a southern expansion. One of my very best friends lives in Atlanta and she built a bike teardrop that has a bunch of cacti in it. We’re going to start doing elopements too. Maybe down the road I would consider some kind of brick and mortar, but not in the traditional sense. Ultimately, mobility is huge. To me, there’s nothing better than that.