November 5, 2012 § 5 Comments
This year has been the year of weddings. My man and I had our own, and were happy to be there for the unions between some of our closest friends.
The unifying perception of wedding planning is that the event is synonymous with “stress”. To that end, there are an abundance of options on planning weddings – whether it’s a full DIY, or an elaborate affair planned by a professional. In our case, we opted for a middle of the road option: someone to help with the “day of coordination”. That meant we would still plan the event, but a planner would help us execute our plan on our day. The vendor we went with, EventDecorator.com (not to be confused with Flourishes Event Decorating, LLC which we had no experiences with), required us to also go through them for event decor and rentals, which at the time was fine with us. They seemed professional and experienced enough.
As it turned out, the help we thought we would be getting from Event Decorator, ended up being the opposite. Our Event Decorator became the sole source of high stress and frustration leading up to our event. In the end, we made the difficult decision of having to ditch our day-of-coordination plan with only two months to go and essentially redid our planning on the fly – the definition of high wedding stress, but far better than the alternative. At least we would get what we wanted. In the end, we had an incredible day. Everything came together beautifully, thanks to our other vendors and the support of our wonderful friends and family.
I thought long and hard before writing this post – did I want to wade back into an event now past? In the end, I decided to write it with the hope that it could save someone else some of the pain we went through. So here it is. Our top ten list of warning signs that your vendor is not the one for you… and it may be better to cut your losses and walk… or run. The earlier the better usually, as in our case, we lost a sizeable chunk of change that would have been avoided had we paid attention to our gut feelings to begin with.
1. Your Event Decorator / vendor only addresses one of you and ignores the other.
When a vendor only addresses or speaks to one of you and dismisses input from your partner, it may be time to reconsider. From the start, someone who respects both of you as equals will respect you as a client. If you decide to have one person be the main point of contact or the final decision maker – that’s different – but a vendor shouldn’t start by acting on that assumption.
Our experience: From the start, my (now) husband’s opinion was ignored. We tried to give the benefit of the doubt thinking that perhaps it was a wedding industry thing. It was not. It was just our vendor. Apart from all of my husband’s questions and suggestions being overlooked and ignored, our repeated requests to include him in copy on emails going forward were not carried out time after time despite multiple reminders. Later, that same attitude and treatment expanded into how I was also dealt with. Also not good.
2. Your Event Decorator / vendor’s quote far exceeds your intended budget outside the bounds of reason.
A wedding planner is an expert in the wedding industry. What you should be able to expect is for them to have a sense of scale and proportion in terms of how much of a budget should reasonably go towards different aspects of the wedding (like flowers). Most planners, depending on your arrangement, will even work with you to generate your wedding budget with advice around how much you should expect to pay for each service.
Our experience: As we were planning our own day, we did the portioning ourselves based on research and advice received. We were open to shifting funds around to make things work. However, when the quote we received from our Event Decorator took up a third of the entire wedding budget, landing 2-3 times more than our anticipated floral and rentals budget, we were shocked. Particularly as the form we had filled out for Event Decorator included our wedding budget. Not a good sign. Rather, it’s a sign your vendor may not be paying attention to the details or to what you want. As a footnote – it shouldn’t matter what size budget you have. Some vendors will tell you upfront they only work with a certain sized wedding budget – that’s fine. Find someone who will work with yours.
3. Your Event Decorator / vendor handles differences of opinions, questions, and requests poorly.
It will be inevitable that you will have questions about your day, what you’re getting, as well as suggestions of new things you’re considering that you may want to add or remove. The important thing about any of that is the open conversation and discussion you’re able to have with your expert vendors. It’s fun to discuss and brainstorm. What you want is someone who is open to those conversations, questions, or requests. It makes for a very frustrating and stressful time when the opposite happens – and frankly, the wedding stops being your wedding.
Our experience: The first sign that Event Decorator was closed to questions or inputs was in the discussion of our quotation, and was the first of many closed discussions. I had questions about some items that seemed unnecessary, duplicated, or not adding the right proportion of value to our day compared to the price tag. This conversation (and all others of a similar nature) quickly become difficult, defensive and even aggressive. My fiance and I were blamed. Our budget was “impossible to work with”. Oddly, when we decided that we would regrettably not engage Event Decorator for our planning services and decor under those circumstances, the story was completely different and all of a sudden, there was room to discuss… what we wanted to begin with. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
My man and I recently got married and from the beginning of our planning process, we knew we wanted a laid-back country barn wedding. It meant big open space, family-style food, beers all around, and décor and table dressings that oozed rustic comfort. What else to say rustic than burlap?
Somewhere along the line, I got the brilliant idea of sourcing our burlap and cutting it down for our table runners, favours, and other things… myself. So, a few months before the wedding, I started my search. Who knew there were so many different types and weaves of burlap! After getting a pile of samples in, I chose one and did the calculations of how much we’d need, then visited a few fabric stores in our area. Nadda. No one had what I wanted. So, I tried a few online wholesalers. The burlap tended to come from too far away and the shipping costs were quite steep – for the amount I needed, shipping nearly cost more than the burlap.
November 26, 2011 § Leave a Comment
We’ve all been there. Standing wearily at the sink, washing our beloved apples, painstakingly removing the ever-persistent fruit labels from them. First, we gently pick at and peel back the label. If we’re lucky, the process ends here. If not, we find ourselves running the apples under increasingly warm water, rubbing off the paper. Then eventually, scraping at the fruit with our fingernails in the effort to remove the sticky glue from the fruit skin, before turning, with a sigh of submission, to the knife or vegetable peeler lying on the kitchen counter.
Now, it seems, Scott Amron, an electrical engineer in training now turned designer and “engineering atelier”, has a solution that not only removes the harmful pesticides and other residues from our apples, but also the pesky fruit labels as well. The solution: Fruitwash labels. These fruit label stickers effectively dissolve into an organic fruit soap when placed under water. With this solution, gone are the chemicals and the tiresome fruit labels.
“I’ve always been discontent with fruit labels and felt they could do more than just display product info and be difficult to peel off,” Amron told Gizmag. “We buy, wash and eat fruit. So, the wash step was the next thing the label should help with.”
Unfortunately, the product is not out yet, although Amron is selling a 10% stake in the fruit label patent as an investment opportunity.
May 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
Tired of waiting in the long retail lines every time you need a carton of milk? Some U.S. retail stores are including a check-out system on their shopping carts that allow customers to check out their items as they shop. So far, it looks like it’s a win-win solution for both customers and retailers. Customers are happy because they don’t need to wait in lines to pay, and the retail stores are happy because it turns out this new way to shop actually nets an average increase of products purchased by 10%. In other words, retailers are making shopping and check-out so easy that you although you might only need that carton of milk, why not pick up an extra bag of chips, fruit, and flour while you’re there?
Certainly an interesting concept that just highlights the continuing trend towards a more seamless intersection between bricks and mortar and mobile and online commerce.
Full article at The Wall Street Journal.
August 26, 2010 § Leave a Comment
An experience my friend and I had in a parking garage last night highlighted the importance of consideration to user experience when technology is introduced, and how small details can quite often make all the difference.
Upon entry to a parking garage, we were greeted by the gate and an automated payment machine that asked for a credit card, or offered a ticket. We opted for credit card and fed one into the machine. The gate opened. Easy. Nothing unusual here.
Later in the evening, we returned to the parking garage to pick up our vehicles. We naturally went back to the exit we had entered from, but were stopped. The parking attendant insisted we turn around, saying we needed to leave from another exit in the opposite direction. We complied. As we approached the next intersection, the signage offered exits both to the left or right, depending on the street we preferred, but first, there was another payment machine. It asked us to feed it either our parking ticket or credit card. We fed it the credit card again, were provided a receipt, and opted to go left. Wow, isn’t technology a convenient thing, we mused.
August 7, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I went to throw a quick update up on my posterous blog this morning, and came across the message below on their site.
I actually had not been aware of the scheduled maintenance that was to occur, but upon being informed, understood and had no real reaction. (Contrary to my confused reaction and subsequent post a few months ago when the JustMeans website went down. To be fair, that was not a scheduled maintenance, but all the more reason and need for effective communication.)
Posterous did a very good job in keeping the page clean and the message abundantly simple. The call to action for me, the customer, was clear: if I wanted real time updates, I should go to their Twitter stream. The main message was also very clear: a scheduled maintenance was underway, the site was temporarily down and would be back up and running as soon as they were done. I noted that the estimated time of completion for the scheduled maintenance had actually been 2AM PDT, but didn’t bother doing the time conversion for my timezone immediately. I went straight to Twitter. « Read the rest of this entry »