Planning your South Bend Wedding, can be a rewarding, exciting, time for brides, grooms and their families. Brides dream of their wedding starting at a young age and it can be intoxicating bringing those dreams and plans to fruition. To bring it all together, a bride and groom must rely on the vendors they interview and hire to be knowledgeable, talented, professional and honest. Unfortunately as witnessed recently with Brides A La Mode, appearances can be hiding a darker truth! This is one of the reasons we so strongly promote hiring a professional wedding planner, not only can a wedding planner with their knowledge decrease your expenses, they are your advocate and their knowledge of other vendors in the market can help you avoid hiring lesser wedding vendors.
But if you can’t hire a wedding planner, here at South Bend Weddings our mission is to arm you with the knowledge to assure that your wedding dreams do come true and don’t end up like the friend bride of this bride:
…I was wondering if you had any advice to offer. My bff got married last August and when I started to plan my wedding, last May, she recommend that I hire the same floral designer she had hired, (name withheld). The floral designer when we met was very nice, and the pics of past events she had done looked good. We gave her a large deposit and I haven’t spoken to her since. My wedding is this July and I am in a near panic about using this floral designer.
At my bffs wedding in August the centerpieces and bouquets were a major disappointment. The bouquets looked skimpy and many of the flowers were wilted. One of bouquets was falling apart when delivered. The centerpieces were worse, my bff had seen a centerpiece in one of the wedding mags and the floral designer claimed that she could recreate it. The vases were plastic, we were expecting glass. Her family had paid for live flowers and we noticed many of them were fake. Like the bouquets many of the live flowers were sorry looking. Everything was cheap looking.
I am in a near panic, I have been trying to figure out what to do, I want to cancel and find someone else but I am running out the time and the designer says I will loose my deposit… It’s more money than I can afford to loose. What can I do?
Sara, stories like this break our heart, we are sorry to hear your story.
Don’t panic, just yet there is a possible way to assure that you get the floral decor that you have dreamed of. We are not defending the florist but when it comes to silk flowers being used in the centerpieces, many florists have a clause in their contract that states in the case of an emergency they can substitute silk flowers for the real thing. Emergencies would be the greenhouse/wholesaler failing to get the flowers to the florist in time or shipping poor quality flowers. Your friend should go back and find out why the substitution but we have a feeling this is just standard operating with this floral designer.
To protect yourself and your wedding we recommend you contact the floral designer and demand a demo appointment. I don’t know if your best friend had a demo of her floral designs, but my guess is that she didn’t, since many florists don’t like to provide them due to their costs. The purpose of a demo is to hash out the exact look of your wedding floral, mainly the table centerpieces, but it can include the bouquets too. Before the demo, inform the floral designer what you are looking for in your design, if like your friend you have several pictures form magazine or the internet this is a good place to start. This will allow them to order in the supplies they will need for the demo.
Then at the demo, you hash out the exact look. If you don’t like what you are presented with initially don’t be afraid, tell the designer how to change it to fit your South Bend wedding vision and they should change it right there for you. When you are satisfied with the design you are presented with have the designer break it down into an addendum to the contract. The contract should list what goes into the arrangements to achieve the design, like glass vs plastic, live vs fake, etc. It should also include a cost breakdown so there are no surprises when presented with the final bill.
Also take a camera, something better than a cell phone and get pictures of the final agreed upon floral centerpiece, give a copy to the designer for their records and one for yours. This will give the designer a reference to work from, especially if your wedding is still months off.
Many florists are reticent to do demos because of the cost involved and you may find they charge for this, but in our opinion, this is money well spent. First it will tell you if your and your floral designer are on the same page. Second it will show if the floral designer is capable of achieving your vision. Third, the floral demo will give you a good idea what the final cost to you as the customer will be. Finally, if the designer fails to deliver as promised at your wedding you will have proof of what they promised and legal standing.
As for you Sara, demand the demo and contract addendum and don’t take no for an answer. It is the only way we know you can protect yourself. If the designer fails to meet your vision in the demo then you have a good argument for getting your deposit back. Floral is an art and we admire those who can do it, but we also have seen many that just can’t!
The images below have nothing to do with Sara, we took these several months ago and we think they can help educate brides in what to look for when it comes to poorly, crafted centerpieces. We realize there aren’t many live flowers in this image but it details many of the problems we have seen with table centerpieces at events.
Yes this was created by a professional floral design company, who we won’t name. We could excuse it if it was some DIY bride but not when it’s a “professional”.
One of the things we have noticed with centerpiece is shoddy assembly. If it’s a floral arrangement, the floral clay or other material that the flowers are inserted into is plainly visible in areas. You can see that in the picture where the cloth folds meet below, the structure is visible.
You will also notice the cloth edges are at the top. We talked to a few designers while writing this response and none of them would have the cloth edges sitting on top of the base! We were told any cloth used should drape over the top with the edges hidden, the best they can be, at the bottom of the centerpiece. All of them said they would never fold a piece of cloth as shown in the upper left hand corner of the piece
We get the idea, it’s suppose to be beach inspired, but what a really poor execution, it looks like the ocean just vomited on the table. Quality designers are very exacting, nothing is placed without purpose or thought, this one just looks like the stuff was thrown around the centerpiece.
Another thing to note is that centerpieces should be scaled to the size of the table, not appear to be dwarfed by it. This one once the table was fully set up was dwarfed by the table size and sort of lost among the plates/silverware.
To give you an idea of what a well done similarly themed centerpiece could look like we found this: