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 »
July 11, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Two dear friends of ours are getting married this summer, and as a tribute to them, their community got together to hold a pig roast in their honor. An old family friend hosted the event at his farm. Friends, family, and neighbors from all around came together to both help with the event, and to celebrate the marriage to come. Saying a few words to kick off the feast, the host’s wife congratulated the happy couple, adding that this was the way their small Ontario town wanted to congratulate them. I loved that. To me, it was the perfect personification of the heart and spirit of community. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 4, 2010 § 4 Comments
It’s the last day of the Canada Day long weekend. The weather’s been hot, humid, and beautifully sunny. It’s the perfect kind of weather that inspires cool, light desserts to go with that fruity beverage on a patio.
June 5, 2010 § 5 Comments
Last night was the grand opening of Parkdale’s highly anticipated new restaurant, Parts & Labour. Just down the street from Cowbell, Mitzi’s Sister, and the ever delightful Local Kitchen. The restaurant was renovated from an old hardware store, and a lot of the decor keeps that legacy in mind. An entryway that is lined with old car windshields, bar stools that look like huge springs, lights reminiscent of old fire extinguishers, and bar shelving that is styled like those that would be found in a garage. I love that. And it’s something the owners have a knack for doing very well, as we’ve seen in the other hot spots they’ve created: The Social, Oddfellows, and who could forget their flagship industrial design studio, Castor Design.
May 7, 2010 § Leave a Comment
May 2, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Over the last six months, I’ve occasionally snapped a picture of the Toronto skyline – particularly on the days I’ve glanced out and done a double-take. But lately, that’s every day.
In looking through the skyline images I’ve accumulated, it’s amazing how different the city looks from day to day, season to season. I’ve since decided to capture the city skyline every day over the next year as it evolves through the changing weather patterns and seasons, and will be posting to TO.365. Yesterday marked the first one.
March 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
If you haven’t yet, you should definitely try it. It’s like a hug wrapped in gorgeous Indian spices, sauces and a floury skin. And no matter what the occasion, there’s always room for a hug… Or at least a delicious roti.