Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Wedding Road Trip

My beautiful niece and Goddaughter Alexis is getting married this Saturday. She and her fiance Dan have been together for a number of years and this Saturday, July 2nd is their big day.

We've been anticipating this day for a while on our calender, not just because it's their big day, but because we're doing the flowers. And the wedding isn't in Louisville, it's in Wisconsin. So needless to say, there's just a bit more involved in planning this.

So, Wednesday morning, bright and early, Jessica, Grace and I will be leaving about seven-thirty in the morning and driving north. We're picking up some fancy-schmancy silver glass vases and then heading west to Normal, Illinois. In Normal, we'll pick up the flowers we've ordered and head north to Wisconsin. Jessica has promised a super-fabulous mix cd for the road trip and she swears it will absolutely make the trip beyond memorable. And of course if our memories slip our minds- there will be video- We'll have flowers to clean and process and prep work when we arrive. Thursday we'll have site inspections and start the designing. Friday we can finish the designing and begin setting the props and Saturday install the fresh flowers. Once things are installed, we get to switch mode from florists to guests and relax.

The other couple of "biggies" on this same weekend are my darling son turning the big -25!! On of course Alexis' wedding day. And he and his fiance will be closing on their first home, just a couple of days before. So unfortunately, they cannot attend the wedding as originally planned.

When I return on Sunday, I will re-pack and early Monday morning, I will be on my way to San Francisco to officially be inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers. It's finally happening, and I can't wait!! This will truly be a memorable weekend for everyone.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A contract- don't hire a vendor without one..

Planning your wedding or any event usually includes retaining a variety of vendors for their services. Each vendor should have some type of contract for you to sign- and you should always sign a contract. After you've had the time to thoroughly read it. If you have questions, make notes for the areas you need clarification and do not sign or give a deposit until you are comfortable with and agree to, the fine print. The contract protects you as well as the vendor.

But what if one of the vendors is just starting out and they don't really have a contract? Get something in writing that clearly explains what you are paying for and what it is that you are expecting from them to provide in the way of product ie. cake, invitations, flowers etc. or services, DJ wedding coordinating, musician or whatever their service or product is.

But it's a person I work with, and I really like them, and I'm going to get the cake for sooo cheap!!! And who cakes about the cake anyway? No one really eats it? - Oh, really? I can pretty much guarantee, the day of your wedding, you won't quite feel that way. You WILL want your cake straight, not leaning. You will not want the frosting to look like cracked play dough that has been left out for half the day- you know, all dry and crusty. You will want it to taste- well, tastey- not like sawdust with sugary lard on top. And you do want to have the cake arrive and be set up BEFORE the guests start the reception.

Why am I being so snarky about people that might work from home? I'm not. I started my business a LONG time ago from my home and eventually moved out into a retail location. Many vendors have home based offices, ie. wedding coordinators, DJs, make-up artists and some photographers. The bottom line is they must behave and run their business like a professional, bottom line.

For you the client, please read the fine print. This might be in reference to a hourly rate for time above the contract amount for a photographer, DJ, stylist or coordinator. It might be your responsibility to be sure your bridal party doesn't wander off and compromise the photographer's ability to 'get all of the shots' you expect them to. You might need to provide the list of names for your bridal party to the photographer, DJ or florist. Be sure you do whatever they ask, especially if it is noted in your contract. If something goes wrong as a result of you not doing what a vendor requests, it can compromise your contract.

For us the florist, it might be making sure any items you might bring to us -vases or other containers or props are clean and free from price tags or stickers. It might be - making sure the flowers you request for your ceremony or reception are removed or given to family or friends; so when we return to pick up the rental items we're not cleaning up and disposing of things we shouldn't be.

Be sure your rentals are returned to the vendors whether it's linens, cake stands or anything else. Most rental contracts have a notation regarding late fees, returning damaged items [it does happen] and plain not returning items because they disappeared.

And lastly.... please be sure to pay attention to the dates your final counts are due whether it's for food, table decor, or favors. Note when your final payments are due and what's accepted for a final payment. Do they take a check? can you pay with a credit card or is it only cash?

I know some of these things seem like no-brainers, but I mention these things because everyone I know in the wedding industry has had to address at least one of the areas I've noted. I know there are a lot of things on your plate, but a little attention to detail now will save you a lot of unnecessary stress a day or two before your most wonderful day.