Local florist to make arrangements for Sanders’ inaugural ball

Wendy Hall, owner of Morgan Florist, will represent south Arkansas in Little Rock next week when she helps make flower arrangements for Governor-Elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ inaugural ball.

“I’m super pumped about it. I was really honored to get it,” Hall said on Wednesday. “For somebody in south Arkansas that’s way down here – and we don’t get a lot of exposure for things we do – I think it’s great.”

Hall will join other florists from around the state in making the arrangements. She said she was recommended for the job by other florists around the state she’s met and worked with.

“I contacted my friend that called me to do the job – she said she had a couple florists recommend me so she looked into me, looked at my work,” she said. “She said, ‘I need somebody fast, good and talented,’ and my friend told her ‘Wendy’s your girl.’ They kind of wanted to touch every part of the state, not just use florists in Little Rock.”

It won’t be the first work she’s done for Sanders. She previously made arrangements for two fundraisers Sanders held in El Dorado during her campaign for governor last year, Hall said.

“I’ve met her several times and I’ve met Mike (Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and Sanders’ dad) before. I did a party for her in El Dorado at Pupp’s and a fundraiser,” Hall said. “Matthew Shepherd called me, everybody’s been calling and congratulating me.”

Today, Hall will start working on the arrangements in Little Rock. The four staff members at Morgan Florist will remain in El Dorado to continue to serve local customers.

Hall said she doesn’t know how many flowers were purchased for the event, but “it’s a lot, I know that.” She said she’s excited for the creative freedom having the flowers provided to her will give her.

“They might have a theme; I don’t know if it’s all white, or red, white and blue, I don’t know what Sarah picked out. I’m assuming it’ll all be one style… They might say, ‘Do me 25 table centerpieces that look alike,’ or ‘do me a head table centerpiece that goes all the way down,'” Hall said. “That’s the hardest part of doing a big wedding or big function is costing it out… If it’s a wedding, you have to stay on budget, so I think the financial part of it is going to be very freeing for me. I can let my artistic abilities flow.”

The work won’t be easy, though.

“We’re going to try to keep (working) 12 hours a day. We’ll work 12-14 hours a day,” from Sunday to Tuesday, Hall said. “On Tuesday we’ll do the install.”

After that, the florists join Sanders and other guests at the inaugural ball, Hall said. The ball will conclude a days-long celebration of Sanders’ election that started Saturday.

“(We all get a) plus-one. It’s a black-tie affair, and it’s the first time they’ve given the florists an opportunity to attend the ball,” Hall said.

Hall still has to buy her dress for the event, she said, joking that she can’t show up in her work wear – ripped jeans and tennis shoes.


Hall never dreamed of being a florist. She studied fine art at Louisiana Tech, graduating cum laude in 1992 with a focus in graphic design.

“I went to work at an ad agency… I hated it, hated sitting in an office. This was like the first year computers came out,” Hall said. “I always like flowers. Me and my grandmother had always gardened and I’d always painted flowers, drawn flowers in my art studies.”

A year after she graduated, Hall decided to try her hand at floristry and got a job at a high-end flower shop in Dallas, where she worked her way up to manager. In 1995, she moved to El Dorado and got a job at Morgan Florist, owned at the time by Morgan and Paula Huffman.

In 2004, Hall bought the shop, and currently four other florists are employed there, along with a host of seasonal part-timers and delivery drivers.

The hardest part of the job are the funerals she provides arrangements for, Hall said.

“It’s all fun and games when you’re doing birthdays and happy flowers, but then you have funeral flowers. It’s a fine line… and you’ve got to be really organized and patient,” she said.

Valentine’s Day is always a rush, but Mother’s Day is her favorite holiday to make arrangements for, Hall said.

“My philosophy is: everyone’s got a mother, but not everybody has a lover,” she laughed.

Hall said she’s had big jobs before – everything from political fundraisers to big weddings and functions at the Country Club – but the governor’s inaugural ball will be a big undertaking nonetheless. The florists making the arrangements are working on a volunteer basis and won’t get paid, but Hall said she doesn’t mind that.

She’s just looking forward to being able to showcase her work and be a part of Sanders’ historic inauguration as Arkansas’ first woman governor.

“It’s going to take a village,” she said. “I think it’s going to be fun. I’ll get to meet a bunch of people and they’ll get to meet me and see I’m a good florist. It’s good networking, I think. And I’m a bit of a cut up, so maybe I’ll be the class favorite.”