Not ALL Florists are created equal!! A cautionary tale for Brides.

cropped-cherub-2-colorized.jpgSo you have said YES, and are about to start on the road to wedding planning bliss. A Huge part of your wedding day will be the decor and flowers. And many brides are reluctant to enter into the world of flowers or may not know the difference between a flower shop and a wedding floral designer , an in house venue offer and a hobbyist. We wedding designers and pro florist share Horror stories among our peers and sometimes the flowers and stories are so bad that you have to warn the public! Here are two “incidents”that happened this wedding season in the UK. A bride was given a recommendation from her caterer for a low cost florist  , and thinking he must know their work, she called. “Wow “she thought, “I can get all these flowers and save so much!!” The “florist” did not have an office nor home based studio , or a shop, and met the bride at a coffee shop to get the brides details. The bride was surprised that this so called designer did not bring a laptop or portfolio of their work, but only took a few notes. The red flags were flying by the end of the meeting. So the Smart bride asked to see a sample of an orchid bouquet and was willing to pay for that sample. a week later,( see photos) This is what was presented to her as a Large orchid Bouquet!!! It was pulled out of  the so called designers hand bag no less!  Truly a mess ! This bride saved herself from a major disaster , took this low cost mess to a great designer in her town ,and tearfully shared her tale. The Real designer “educated ” the bride to what things cost and what to expect , and to NOT get lulled into a false sense of confidence based on cost  and in house venue referral only! We have all heard of the DIY / Pintrest Fail! LOL Some folks just think anyone can whip up a hand tied bouquet or bake a wedding cake or be the DJ. Not all are “artistic” . The second cautionary tale is “Believing” that the Venue or church will place professional details and designs for free or at far less cost to you than your professional wedding florist or designer. A fellow wedding designer that is known for her pretty rose work and traditional pew designs, had a bride call and cancel all of her church pews because the church lady told her she could do it for free. The florist arrived to set up the altar flowers and saw these “Pew Posies” with plastic wrap and cotton balls, zip ties and damaged bug eaten leaves and dying  roses down the aisle. NOT the lavish 4 inch wide satin bows and full garden roses that were promised!! I had a similar incident where a spring bride was told the venue would place all her ceremony items free of charge.  So she cancelled all her ceremony details with me. Five  minutes before the ceremony ,as guests arrived, not one rose petal or candle was in place.  And the Maid of Honor was scrambling to unpack massive boxes of  lanterns, candles, wine bottles and asking if we had any petals they could have!!! The Venue had forgotten! That bit of savings clearly was not worth it in the end. Time that should have been for used for fabulous photos of the bride and her ladies, was a stress filled pre ceremony melt down situation. So a word of gentle caution to Brides on any budget.  Trust the professional wedding designers , get it in writing, LOOK at  Photo samples of real weddings the florist and venues have designed, read reviews and communicate ideas clearly . Any promised item, Get it in writing!! Thankfully there are many wonderful designers in the wedding business, with great reputations. I invite couples in my area to come and visit me in my office and studio and see what  experience and a realistic budgets can create!!

and they wont look like these disasters!

This is so bad it hurts my eyes
This is so bad it hurts my eyes
Are you kidding me!!
Are you kidding me!!
PEE uey pew Fail
PEE uey pew Fail
Oh this is classy!

A New Twist on Preserving Your Bridal Bouquet

 So your Wedding day is almost  here!

You have planned for months and you know that the day will be filled with moments that will take your breath away, make you laugh and sing and dance .

This Day you will carry the most special bouquet of your life.

How can you capture the moment and preserve it?  

One way is to locate a preservation company .  This must be done at least a month in advance. It can be quite expensive, but for the Romantic at heart, the idea of your actual bouquet preserved under glass may be a must have.

BUT, what if you are a More Modern bride with an eye for clean lines and contemporary art for your home???

graphic novel style This is a contemporary graphic

of one of our Brides wedding bouquets  done in Graphic Novel styling. Once rendered and saved it can be sent to one of the many Photo on canvas services available.Its a wonderful way to have an original piece of art for your home , taken from a full color photo of your real Bridal bouquet.

Wedding Westie Spring watercolor
Having  your Flower dog ring bearer immortalized  in a painting can be a fun way to remember the day

More traditional?  Try a water color render! a soft and romantic version that will look wonderful.                                                                                                            kris and david wedding 1 watercolor                    cake 300dpi water color

Taking a section of the bouquet and enlarging it to get the details can give the feel of a realistic still life. These look amazing On Large Canvas and can be used in the dining or bedroom.

brides bokay 1 watercolor

Water color option
Water color option

Not a techy or artistic type?  No worries, Suzanne M Smith Designs is offering this transition from photo to art option for their wedding and event clients.

Feel free to ask your designer about selecting a couple fave photos to transform.  A small labor fee will be charged for their time, and you may have the option to take your finished JPEG to you favorite canvas print location or have us select one from our providers.



Floral Trends for 2014 – Something for everyone!

What will the 2014 Wedding and Special Event Trends be ?

Looking at the forcast from the Top Designers, Nature based designs will still be in vogue. But with a twist.

REVIVAL-Less Mason jars, and More vintage elegant pressed glass, Lace and Pearls, Think blush and muted tones with romantic textures and garden flowers. a lean toward Art Nuevo with tendrils and garlands. 20’s and 30’s inspired glam continues.

Grand Lodge with a Distinct Craftsman elegance will be seen .The forest and woods, ferns and rustic yet more fairy glen than mountain man as the natural beauty of the mix will overtake the Whimsical country feel of the past seasons. Frank Loyd Wright shapes and motifs.

Confetti- Bright colors, sharp patterns and artistic vases and shapes. Fun, festive and fabulous! Zinnias and Dahlias will be popping up as well as single focal blooms like Protea pin Cushion and art wire and glass.Think Summer Sun and Fiesta.

Aqua-Culture is the cool shimmer of water and moonlight. Cool shades of blue with white and silver. Natural blues that give a dreamy sensual impression. Spa inspired Meditations and settings with scent and warmed with frosted candlelight.

The palettes and floral combinations for 2014 are embracing distinct emotional responses.

when you are planning your wedding or events remember to look at your venue and visualize the colors and seasonal accents that speak to you.

Here are the projected Trends in Colors , focal flowers, and graphic elements Image

2014- A Vibrant year ahead – Pantone color of the Year “Vibrant Orchid”

Echos of Tropical Punch with a hint of lavender. This years trending color for weddings is

Vibrant Orchid

It is a fun color that will blend well with the popular deep purples and romantic tones such as the soft Mint green that has been trending in Bridesmaid colors on the runways of all the formal fashion houses.

Some easy to  locate flowers that are available in this new Rave Shade are. Dendrobium and Phalonopsis orchids. CA. Roses, Freesia, Field Dahlia, Alstromeria , Mini Carnations and for a fun addition Decorative Kale.  Complimentary tones of silver, pewter grey, Black & White and bottle green work well with this color.

Whether adding a hint to your Bouquet, or using various tones of the Vibrant Orchid palette , It is sure to be fashion forward throughout 2014


centerpiecejust marriedpetal votive aisle         fun dots corsage1dahlia amethyst and orchids Prom

Color Trends for 2013 Weddings- The Good the Bad and the UGLY!

pantone emerald 2013Color Trends are NOT for everyone!

The Color Gods at Pantone have proclaimed 2013 the year of the Emerald!

BUT, their idea of emerald is not My idea of emerald.

I envision Oz and crisp elegant green!! OZ 1

(I had a bathtub in my childhood home, built in the 50’s that was their vision of  green, Too hipster and retro with a hint of blue? LOL)

Then come the magazines and online versions of the trending colors, not really found in nature. But clients will be asking!

pantone 2013 colors flowers     Unless you are going to scuba dive with these mums you wont find them in that unearthly tone

Disbud%20spider%20mum%20green  Here is the real flower a nice lime tone as you can see.

So what can you do to still stay fresh and current? Pick the tones that compliment you!

trends for spring 13As you can see from this image. There are variations on the Trending color wheel that should fit almost every taste. and frankly when it comes to weddings and party designs a hint of the trendy with classic can bring your event into the current without it feeling dated in photos a year from now.  The same goes for Themes. Less is more!

We have all heard ” You look amazing in that color!” Or ” Have you lost weight, that outfit looks beautiful!” Think how confident that made you feel.

Event decor is no different. “dressing” the venue to its best potential and feeling great in that space is all part of the planning process. The season, lighting and the element of beautiful flowers!!

Complimenting your desired theme does not mean that every nook and cranny must have a theme item.

For instance… A winery wedding doesn’t have to be dripping in bottles, barrels, corkscrews and purple linen. 

 .arbor details french wed 1  Nor a French Theme have Eiffel Towers and Poodles on every table.

It’s the essence thats important!

Being located in So. Cal. Wine Country ( Temecula) we have over 30 wineries, each with a unique personality. So when designing for my couples I will ask them if they have walked the venue. And What was the first impression they had of the location. One may say Tuscany, another the So. of France, or another a Villa In Spain. So that can be the point that you say “Oh!!” And the design inspirations start to flow.  Colors spring to mind and unique flowers of the season pop forward from all the others.

So if Pantone says Emerald Green and you are more of a Poppy Flower Red , No worries. There is something to be said for being true to yourself and what makes you feel confident and beautiful! 

surround yourself with these personal tones and gather the compliments!

ribbons in the vineyard 430007_375797882432544_311559672189699_1513593_1272045503_n  garden tables1 

bridal table2 bridesmaid bokay

A Reflection on Brides of Fashion and their Bouquets… from Victorian to Today

June and the Summer Months have our minds turning toward wedding season and all the joy and beauty  and traditions that surround it.

Who as a child hasnt sat looking at old photographs of relatives long gone, celebrating weddings?  That old black & white 8×10 of Grandma and Grandpa, looking so young and hopeful.Aunts and Uncles and cousins in starched collars and lace veils.

I thought it would be fun to feature a little bit of Floral wedding history for my readers this month and scoured my photo albums and historic notes to find wedding photos that would reflect the decades from Victorian to 2011. with a bit of commentary on the floral bridal bouquets.  You may be surprised to see a renewal of these styles in our current selections. so lets explore the years!

1890-1900’s– Oh those Naughty Victorians! They loved the most ornate of fashions, laces, layers, and FLOWERS. Our Great great Granny’s did not have the luxury of the modern floral storage or even the gorgeous flowers we take for granted today. The Victorian Bride placed “Meaning” in her bouquet with selections from the seasonal garden. Orange Blossom, Lily Of the Valley, Myrtle, Honeysuckle, Garden roses, Gardenia and Massive displays of Botanical specimens.  a Tiny nosegay tucked at the waist or neckline of a gown was considered proper, and as the turn of the century progressed the signs of wealth and opulence were displayed at weddings with massive gardens and hanging arrangements as well as “Feasting ” tables.


   1920-1930’s as wealth and fortunes are bound to do there was an era that saw great progress and industrial growth only to have the Stock Market crash, the dust bowl and depression rear its ugly head and major changes to our moral standards.

Yet weddings were still part of the main stream that remained important in every culture. The 1920’s saw  Prohibition and the rise of the “roaring 20’s ” ladies of fashion went from the high button tight collared show no leg fashions to daring scandalous women in short fringed and beaded “Flapper: dresses and “Bobbed ” hair dos. 

 The Bridal Bouquets became massive cascades with yards of silk satin”Love” knotted ribbons for good luck. Gardenia, Lily of the valley, Easter Lily and Calla Lilly  and Bushes of Greenery that nearly dwarfed the brides were fashionable.



                                                                                                                                        1930’s   The 30’s was an era of sophisticated art, clean sweeping and curving lines of the Art Nuevo and Art Deco The use of Trumpet and easter Lily and anything Fragrant was a Must. armfuls of calla lily with a dramatic length were all the rage.  Amazingly long veils of tulle. The rise of the  Hollywood movie era would influence many of the wedding fashions and flowers of the day.









1940’s   Saw a transition as the world was plunged into war. Modest classic lines of  a more somber and subtle nature were used by the Brides lucky enough to have Church ceremony’s, flowers were simple tributes for the most part. Gardenia or Orchids perched on a prayerbook.  Many a War bride wore their best suit with a pretty Cattleya orchid and ribbon to the courthouse. Followed by dancing to a Big Band and a quick honeymoon before the groom shipped out, and in some cases the bride too!

As war ended and the troops returned, it was a time to rebuild and renew. Large family weddings with Luncheons were the prefered style . Bouquets of roses and gardenia in more generous cascades for everyone.

The 2nd photo to the right – My Mom and Dad who were married on July 3, 1946.










1950′ s  saw the Next generation of teens  listening to a new fangled Music called Rock & Roll. It was all about the fast car, the poodle skirt and sock hops. Movies still set the scene for Many wedding fashions with stars like Elizabeth Taylor playing the part of brides.  The dresses were Boufant . The Short petticoat gown would gain favor, with yards of tulle and strapless bodices, with modesty capes or bolero. French Influence and the rise of the Bridal Fashion houses. Fanciful hats and crisp full veils with “blushers” would be a must.  The sophistication of high fashion would come to the fore front. The Bullet Bra fitted bodice and nipped in waist were the silhouette and the gloved hand was a must for formals.


  1950’s flowers saw the Popularity of carnations and daisies with frills of Tulle and crazy Chenille “pipe cleaner” leaves  arrive on the scene . The Large Hawaiian Cattleya orchids were still all the rage for Bridal Bouquets  Wired and taped into pouf and cascades .  The traditional white flower girl basket would plant its fame in the 50’s and  stay as tradition.











1960’s  If ever the times were a changing it was the 60’s. from the Rat pack smoothness of shark skin suits and tailored gowns to the towering Beehive hairdo of the early 60’s it was sexy, chic and daring.  Jackie Kennedy set the scene with her Mohair suits and classic pillbox hats, clutch bags and form-fitting styling.  The Beatles hit our shores and the British Invasion was here. Twiggy and her Minis stirred things up, and everything was Groovy. But with the rumble of a new war starting in Viet Nam and the rise of the Make Love Not War hippie era changed weddings more than any decade.

From smooth sophistication and Vegas style weddings  to the Flowers in your hair vows on mountain tops, it was a time for anything goes.Cascades for the Mad Men era Brides  and the start of the Gebera and Shasta daisy era for the free thinkers.


The Hippie movement was all about Peace and Love, But Marriage survived the free love movement. The Hippie wedding could be as simple as grabbing some friends a couple of bottles of sangria and a handful of wildflowers for the brides hair. as the decade progressed the influences of the counter-culture would be seen in the Fashions from designer houses.












1970’s  Okay I will be showing my age here, but I was a Bride of the Mid 70’s, There were so many changes in a 5 year span in the 70’s with weddings that it was hard to keep up with the trend.  BIG hats and Parasols were all the rage, that Southern belle influence was seen in the flowers. Rainbow weddings, Gathering baskets of  Mixed spring flowers with an emphasis on the daisy were popular. Hybrid Roses in vibrant colors, Phalo Butterfly orchids would gain in popularity. The Halo of flowers was a Huge item of interest. Designers experimented with the Bohemian look ( not always with stunning results, LOL) and God forbid the Leisure suite with white shoes reared its ugly head.  Theme weddings were beginning with the Hippie ideal of anything goes! Renn faire and Love In, Picnics and simple vows said in a meadow or park. The Gunne Sax wedding dress was the go to for Hippie chic. My families Bridal Salon in Los Angeles was one of the few that carried them along with the traditional Eve of Milady, Alfred Angelo and Bridal Lure gowns. We rented and sold  so many hoopskirts each week it was the best-selling item in the inventory!


   That’s me  in the white hat  in 1974  & My Bridesmaids









  The Powder Blue Disco Tux! 

With ruffled shirt and matching tie, yes they weren’t just in Dumb & Dumber!



1980’s    The Disco age and as I like to refer to them the BIG hair 80’s saw a return to the extremes in wedding fashion. If clean lines and romantic looks were the 60’s and 70’s the 80’s were Over the TOP . Designers said make it puffy and then went Atomic on the size of sleeves.  Rock stars weddings were like circus shows and the Bouquets were massive  as the brides hair.  Probably the most famous 80’s bride was Princess Diana with her silk gown and 25ft train.  Disco styling brought in the Polyester wrap dress and the handkerchief hem, Platform shoes and the emergence of the single stem rose bouquet for the attendants ( probably because the bride used enough for all the others combined!



 Biggest sleeves in decades!







1990′ s 

 The Girls Just want to have fun Decade.  The crazy bouquets and skirt styles remained, But the sleeves were now replaced with  and more fitted cap and long sleeve, Cleavage was everywhere.  Choker necklaces and fluffy up-dos. The Bouquet of choice for the brides in the early 90’s was a cascade of Casablanca lily, I designed so many of these in that  decade I think I could do them in my sleep, LOL , But the Tight round Clutch Bouquet was now become the trend with the start of Martha Stewart’s influence. BIG weddings with tented venues soon became what is known as the Platinum wedding.

    The New Turn Of the century  Early 2000’s  The Y2K Brides  and the start of the New millennium, saw Hopeful couples celebrating in style. with the tragedy of 9/11 couples faced a dilemma of whether to celebrate the same and Many saw it as their patriotic duty to not let anything change their families traditions. 


As the 2000’s Progress we are seeing a return to  many of the influences that past decades of Brides created. The Retro looks of the 20’s , 30’s and 40’s are hot, the twist on Victorian can be seen in the Steampunk Industrial stylings complete with parasols and mini riding hats. 

 Victorian Steampunk   , 30’s Retro, Even the mixed influences of the 40’s and the meaning of flowers as seen in the recent Royal wedding.

Whatever your Floral or fashion style, Let it express your personality. Yes The Flowers may fade, But the Memories of their beauty and fragrance will live on, just as the images above have. After all your wedding Photos will be the stuff of someone elses dreams in years to come.  Make it Memorable!

Thank you to those of you who allowed me to use your fashion images for this Blog, you are Awesome!

Dont be a Babe in the Woods! Reality Budgeting for Wedding flowers & Decor

  How exciting, You are engaged!  Now comes the fun of planning your big day                                                                                                                                                                                             

Your head may be filled with fantasies of Pink tulle and roses or stylish chrome and candle light.  But wait ….How much does that dream cost?

In my many years of consulting and designing fabulous weddings and events, It has been my experience that most couples arrive for their first floral consultation  a bit confused over costs, flowers, seasonal options and apprehension that the designer is about to raise the rates when the word WEDDING is announced.

So Instead of being a “babe in the woods”, Lets educate ourselves a bit and be a better prepared and happy couple. The result of a bit of fact checking and reality checking will result in a beautiful day filled with special memories.

Let me assure you that any reputable floral designer with experience isn’t there to rip off or mislead the Bride and Groom,  The reality is that weddings require more work than a standard party. Hiring the best designer for your budget is easier if you are Up Front and honest about your ideas.  We are here to celebrate you!  The personalization of a brides Bouquet, the hand delivery and set up of the ceremony to reception decor is a service, and requires time and labor.  It is not the same as a drop off delivery for a birthday vase of Daisies.,  Or a supermarket bunch of posies.

 Dont try to deceive the designer, TRUST is the first part of a great relationship, and this holds true with your vendors. Forget all the stories you read on the Brides Boards,The best vendors have a sterling reputation and would not be around long if they were not honest.  There are Options for almost any realistic budget! It is better to arrive at the designers door with an idea of what you can spend and design to fit , allowing the florist to suggest seasonal items that will give you more for your money. These designer options may be the perfect solution to a tight budget.

Speaking of the realistic budget! If you only have $500. to spend for flowers for the day. You need to rethink the priorities and not fault the vendor for charging what is the fair market rates for flowers and decor.  instead of a lavish cascade of orchids and 8 bridesmaids and groomsmen. You may want to downsize or look for a single unique flower to carry such as a designed Duchess rose and single roses or long stem calla for each attendant and a couple of blossoms for your hair.  BUT don’t expect to have a church  aisle filled with chiffon and dripping greenery,3 ft. tall table designs  for 20 tables and lavish linens.  The standard response from a designer to this budget and request would be “Did you forget a Zero?” or “Is that $500. per table?”  Does this mean you can’t have the dream? No, But you may need to make an adjustment of your reality and budget.



Small Budgets and TV Dreams


So you watch every TV wedding show and devour every bridal mag on the shelves and love it all, You don’t want to be the Bridezilla, But you would love to have that antique Candelabra and David Tutera “rescue” you.               Okay Nice dream but the reality is that what you are seeing is not the norm! That single table of DT design with dripping crystals would be the average couples Honeymoon budget! Step out of your fantasy for a moment and get realistic with a list. Start with the location of the ceremony, what is needed and allowed ( yes they may have restrictions on decor). The church ceremony may be completely different from an Outdoor garden ceremony, so list the allowable. Now how many attendants , Jr Bridesmaids and Flowergirls, Number of VIP’s for corsages and Boutineeres, what flowers you love. Anything special for that WOW moment ( butterflies, Doves, Hot air balloon arrival or departure).  Moving on to the reception. How many guests =how many tables, Will there be need for special linens and lighting? What is the theme and colors.  Add in how much per person for dinner and DJ, Photographer and Cake. Oh and what about the Gown and rings!

 So How does this all add up?   Does it feel like a reality for what you want to spend? The average Couple with a catered wedding for 100 will spend approx. $25,000. for their wedding. The rule of thumb for flowers is 10% or $2500. from that budget. Now add in the special touches that your floral wedding designer may offer, linens and live butterflies, Peonies,  and specialty LED lighting  or antique vases in table designs and that can increase the Decor budget an additional 50%.  This is a REAL idea of the current 2011 pricing in our area.


My suggestion is to allow your designer the opportunity to blow your mind with what you can have for that Minimum! BY using your Colors and theme concept we can create for our Couples an awesome display of beautiful flowers that look like a Million, but kept you on track.  I see Brides arrive in the studio with pages torn from magazines showing what seems like a simple bouquet to the bride. In reality that Magazine dream bouquet is filled with RARE flowers that some Sherpa climbed the Himalayas to pick and hand carry to the magazine designer, LOL, Yes its a lot of Magic and Mirrors with these designs, and have you noticed they never list a price! 

Allowing the designer to give you the FEEL of this bouquet in a price point and size to fit your bank account is better than a mind-set on the unattainable.

If you have $1500. to spend , ASK what that will get you. Dont be shy.  It is better to be AMAZED at what you CAN have than be disappointed in what you can’t.  Dont have the designer do a lavish sketch and cold quote on a Platinum dream and then ask  Can you GIVE ME a discount and all the details free.  Better to say I have a budget of $$$ and Love Pink flowers, My wedding is in June at the Fab Wedding Location . This allows the designer a chance to show you so much more and can be very exciting as you see with NEW EYES the creative results.

Fresh wedding flowers are available for everyone if they expect the reality of current costs and appreciate the artisan designer and their personal services.

Cali Prom Trends 2011

With Valentine’s Day coming and Spring events on the mind of Ladies & Gents.

I thought I’d jump on the trends for 2011 and let my Fans and friends Know what’s Hot and Rockin in So. Cal

 for Prom season ( ours start as early as March this year!)

                                     Short & Sassy

Sweet But sassy for dancing the night away

The Short Party dress is still popular and allows for fun and flirty floral accents,

 Ankle Corsages, or pearl rock candy Bracelet corsages accent this look
  And the unexpected  fun of a Satelite Bracelet and ring with fresh flowers






Hot Color for 2011
Pantone the Gods of color have announced that the top pick color is Honeysuckle.
This pink tone is

rich and can be seen from Vinatge inspired romantic to Hollywood Glam.

Other tones that will compliment are Industrial grey, Rich Cream, Subtle pale yellows with a hint of sheer white.

Old  Hollywood Glam.

Think Fred & Ginger Floral choices Fragrant Freesia and Gardenias, Magnetic backed Corsages with Crystal and gilded ribbons placed at the waist or bustline or in your hair.    

Love flowers But active and afraid they will be crushed? Try a Handbag corsage
If you want the pin up look or the classic debutante…
 Working with  your local floral designer to accent your fashion will take your Prom look to the next level.
Call us today to arrange for a prom design session to accent your look!
Corsages and Boutineers as well as floral wearable art for your Big event.
714-892-2241  or
We also take special orders for Graduation leis direct from the best lei makers on Kauai and Maui!!
Please allow 2 weeks for pre orders.

Inside Weddings magazine!!

Fall 2010 cover



we are so pleased to be featured in the Fall 2010 seasons beautiful Inside Weddings magazine

Our wonderful Organic Bride and Groom , Amy & Nick asked us to create an Eco friendly wedding using sustainably grown veggies and flowers, materials and elements for a simply stunning vineyard wedding. Our 8 page feature shows just a hint of the wonderful touches that we created for them.

We hope that you will be inspired by this fun couple and allow us the Joy of bringing YOUR

arbor details

Wedding day vision to life.

Brides Organic Bouquet
Ceremony Dove release

Grooms Picasso calla

The use of rich colors and textures added to the organic elegance of the setting

Organic vegie decor and Lime seating cards By Suzanne
Organic table designs with a theme
The Guys
Ladies in Waiting

The Ladies

Amazing cake with a touch of our organic flowers and votives
Apple Table
In the orchard
Amy the Beautiful Organic Bride

Prefered Vendors Lists, Quality & Talent or Paid Ads, Brides Beware!

Planning a wedding or special event can be a daunting task.  Great vendors can make that experience a dream instead of a nightmare.

 Especially in our current economy.

So What’s wrong with just going with the Prefered Vendors on your Venues List?  Shouldnt that be the easiest option?

In all the craziness of the wedding biz there are some Venues that are holding the Couples over a barrel as well as vendors who wish to work at their locations, This is known as “Pay To Play” and is the dirty little secret that is creeping into the mix. 

Basically the situation rears its ugly head as you sit down to sign contracts on your dream venue and find that you MUST pick from a selection of Planners & Prefered vendors from a list. They may not fit your vision and price range, but you MUST use only these folks!  They do not tell you that the vendors have been asked to PAY a fee to be on the list and that some pay a percentage back to the venue. And who gets the fee tacked on to their bill? The bride of course!

Even worse is the “Outside” vendor fees some will demand if you wish to bring in your own Favorite baker, Florist, Photographer and Dj. I have heard outrageous fees of $500-$1000. to bring them in!  If you trust your selected vendors and they have proof of Business license and insurance and  references and a portfolio, why should they charge you to have them walk on the premises?

So how can this trend be stopped? Brides have More Power than they think. Voting with your Pocket book and selecting venues that allow you to be selective is a start.  After all you have worked hard to pay for your wedding and should be able to get the best fit for your personality and budget.

1. Ask the venue if they allow you to bring in your professional of choice. Most Quality venues will allow you to select florist, and photographers and Dj as long as they are licensed and insured. I stress the PRO aspect of this, as most wont allow DIY other than a favor or gift for the guests. DIY disasters of the past may have something to do with some of the reasoning they demand you to use their list, but most in the industry think it is  a $$$ Grab by venues feeling the economic pinch!

2.Ask if their “prefered ” vendors are PAID advertisers or PROVEN TALENT. If they are upfront they will disclose this.  Many wonderful venues and caterers have favorite folks they have worked with and who are respectful of the venue and meet the credentials and insurance demands of the property.These are the Proven talent and will be “Suggested” . You should be able to meet them and get a feel for their style and then decide. But NOT have to be forced to pick only these suggestions.

You may be into an alternative style of Music or Want RAW food or all organic floral designs. Will you have to Settle for a traditional meal , cookie cutter flowers and the 70-year-old house DJ?LOL  

3. Ask if you need to have an Insurance rider? Yes they do demand these at times and this is again an additional fee that may have to be added to your budget. Most professionals have basic liability, But when venues force  the harpist to show proof of $ million dollar insurance for her 30 minute performance. they can cause last-minute hassles. Day of event coverage can be purchased for your vendors , but some venues try to force out your selections the last week or so with this disclosure. ALWAYS check the contracts!

4. If  couples start opting for venues that allow some wiggle room and Individuality in the planning of their big days and avoid the Venues that demand “their way or the highway” it will  protect future couples from going over budget and not getting their dream wedding .

Above all NEVER go blindly into a contract , ask questions, and get written answers .

 Be pro active and aware that MANY fine independent vendors are being pushed out by this practice, and it is tainting the industry’s reputation.  YOU Have the Right to choose!