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Published:July 26th, 2006 11:38 EST
The Wedding Industry: Tips for Avoiding a Bad Vendor

The Wedding Industry: Tips for Avoiding a Bad Vendor

By Alisia Leavitt

A little over a month ago, I walked down the aisle and said, “I do” to my wonderful husband. That day was important not only because it was my wedding day, but important because I learned a valuable lesson to share with all brides: make sure you choose vendors wisely. More important, make sure they know exactly what you want. If not, you could be unpleasantly surprised on your wedding day.

In general, my blessed day was great; the forecasted downpour of rain magically moved to a different area of the state, and spared my wedding of any raindrops. The clouds parted, and the sun came out. I did, however, hit a few bumps along the way. As everyone always says, things do go wrong on your wedding day. The one thing that did go wrong was the last thing I expected. It was a problem with one of my vendors—the florist.

I had picked my florist shop because it was the only one within a 30-mile radius. To save the hassle of driving into the city, I figured the local shop would do just fine. Hindsight is 20/20, and I learned that it is better to visit multiple businesses. Taking the time to do your homework and choose the right vendor is the smart way to plan a wedding. It doesn't hurt to take your time and ask around for recommendations and business reviews. If you have a few vendors you like, ask for references; calling previous customers is a great way to tell if the vendor is a good match. 

The florist assigned to do my flowers was friendly, outgoing, and genuine. He was a trust-worthy man and promised me perfection. We met several times; I brought him photographs of what I wanted for each arrangement, and discussed details extensively. He wrote a long list of notes. I left assured that things would go smoothly. When I called him days before the wedding to go over details again, he promised that everything was in order. I could rest easy…or not.

What my florist presented me on my wedding day was nothing like what we had discussed. My bouquet—shades of red roses—was cluttered with tall eucalyptus leaves sprouting out. I told him nothing green in my bouquet. Okay, not a huge deal; I would ask him to take the leaves out. Next, he showed me the bouquets for my bridesmaids. What was originally supposed to be a mix of red and pink roses, carnations, and other flowers turned out to be a plain arrangement of red roses. My junior bridesmaid, originally having a pomander of red roses, was given pink roses and daisies.

After calmly pointing out these mistakes, my florist simply replied that there was not enough time to undo the bouquets and re-arrange them. To add insult to injury, he explained that it would not be possible to fix them even if we had time, because the shop had sold out of flowers that morning. Faced with the reality that I was stuck with the flowers, I took them and went off to get ready for the ceremony. I told myself there was no use in getting upset about something I could not change. My wedding went smoothly after that, and I temporarily forgot about the flowers.

When I returned from my honeymoon, I made it a point to sit down and write the owner of the shop a letter explaining why I was dissatisfied. Having spent a large amount of money on those flowers, I felt I she should compensate me for their mistake. I have yet to receive a reply, and maybe I never will, but at least I brought it to the owner’s attention. A reputable business should be willing to make their customer satisfied and provide compensation if the business is at fault.

All brides currently planning their wedding should establish good communication with their vendors. It is better to over-call a vendor than to not call them enough. Good wedding vendors understand the stress a bride goes through. Attention to detail is very important to brides—they just want to have a day as perfect as possible. Weddings are often a large expense, so shopping around and interviewing potential vendors is perfectly acceptable. Make sure you choose wisely, and feel comfortable working with them. The most important tip: get everything in writing! My florist gave me a hard copy of his notes, but I did not get him to list every single flower and color. I made the crucial mistake of trusting that he would remember.

Finally, for brides using a florist shop, get your florist to make sample arrangements. Many florists recommend this to their customers, but many do not say anything. Having sample arrangements made prior to the event is a great way to ensure accuracy. Following these basic tips will help brides plan their wedding easily, avoid bad vendor experiences, and enjoy their day to its fullest.