Nancy Zimmerman

Fancy Florals by Nancy

Fairbury, Ill.


Nancy Head Shot
flowers by nancy

Since starting Fancy Florals by Nancy—a studio florist specializing in lush custom floral designs for weddings—in 2012, Nancy Zimmerman has become an award-winning floral designer. In 2018, 2019 and 2021, she won honors for her bridal bouquets in Alexandra Farms’ “Garden Rose Design Contest”; in 2022, she won Florists’ Review’s “Picture Perfect Weddings” contest; and for eight consecutive years, from 2015 through 2022, her business won the “WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award,” which earned her a place in The Knot’s prestigious “WeddingPro Hall of Fame.” Amazing feats for any floral designer, but particularly—some might say—for a relatively young business located in a small town of around 3,600 residents in central Illinois.

canoe decorated for bride and groom

FR: Tell us a little bit about your career and how you started in flowers.

NZ: I have had a love affair with flowers since I was a child. Through the years, I have designed and grown many flower gardens and enjoyed cutting from my gardens and creating flower arrangements. In 2011, I enrolled in floral design classes at Parkland College, a community college, in Champaign [Illinois] because I wanted to learn to design professionally. When I completed the courses, my husband did not want me to open a flower shop because I was 53 years old at that time, so I started doing weddings for family and friends, and that developed into a home-studio business—and a full-time job.

FR: What sources inspire your creativity and influence your design style?

NZ: My flower beds and nature have always been the inspiration for my lush garden-style designs.

design by Nancy

FR: Do you have a favorite flower? 

NZ: I am a sucker for all full-petaled blooms such as roses, peonies and Ranunculus. I fell in love with garden roses when I planted my first bush about 35 years ago. It was ‘Madame Isaac Periere’—an old heirloom Bourbon rose—and it completely charmed me with its huge blooms, full-blown blowsy shape, deep pink/magenta hue and intense raspberry fragrance.

FR: What current floral trend excites you?

NZ: I am excited by the “muddy” hues that blend so softly and beautifully together, and I love the whimsical, less-formal design styles that mimic nature.

FR: Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in the flower industry?

NZ: Get some professional training on the basics—principles and elements of design, flower care, wiring techniques and do on. Also, develop a set of terms and conditions for your business; be kind and helpful but firm so you don’t get taken advantage of.

FR: What are your business plans for the future ? 

NZ: Last year, I celebrated my 10th year in business and turned 63. Because my husband and I have 13 grandchildren and my parents are elderly and needing more help, I have scaled back the business to accepting only one wedding per weekend, with a minimum dollar requirement. That is working well, and as long as I have the health and entergy, I will continue to bring couples’ wedding visions to life. If they can dream it, I will find a way to create it!

flower garland on a tree
large floral chandelier