May 22, 2010

Flower Art from Our Heart
( 2.6 / 5.0 )
It's been over 6 months since my wedding and I've had a lot of conflict in my mind about whether or not to leave a review. I like Cynthia a lot and she is clearly incredibly talented; she is also very nice. However, there were some very serious problems with how she runs her business and, specifically for my wedding, how she chose to handle some issues.

All along leading up to choosing a florist and finalizing ideas related to the flowers, I had a lot of trouble. I LOVE flowers and had some very specific ideas in my head about what I thought would look good. Cynthia was very patient with me and assured me on multiple occasions that she would do what I wanted. Looking back, I had several examples of how that may not work out quite the way I wanted, but I didn't really see them for what they were at the time.

Regardless, I went forward and my flowers were very beautiful. However, unless I had given her a very specific example of exactly what I wanted (as with my bridal bouquet), she disregarded many of the things I said I wanted (or included things I specifically said I did not want). I'm not saying she's a bad florist (quite the contrary), but I am saying that I was led to believe she'd make what I asked her to make and on the whole, that didn't really happen. If anyone needs specific examples of that, you can PM me.

In addition, there are some recommendations I have related to how this business is run. First and foremost, there really isn't a contract with policies, etc. I was a VERY organized bride but leading up to the wedding, life gets incredibly chaotic and it's hard to keep track of things that were said (but not written down) 6+ months before. All of my other vendors gave me contracts with policies laid out so that things like final payment would be taken care of in proper time. For Flower Art, I had to contact them to ask (maybe 10 days before the wedding) when they were needing the final payment (no call, email, or anything from them asking for it anytime before) and the response was yes, they needed it and it was late and I needed to send a money order overnighted to them (no, I could not drop it off). This forced me to go to the bank and post office (neither of which were on my extensive list of errands 10 days out from my wedding). Did I owe the money? Yes. Did I want to be sure they had it prior to the wedding? Of course. Did they need to make me race around and jump through extra hoops of fire when they couldn't be bothered to contact me about it or give me a contract with terms like money order and date final payment is due? I don't think so and it was aggravating.

Finally, and these were really the straws that broke the camel's back for me and made me feel it was necessary I write a review. On the day of my wedding, there were 2 grievous errors. First, they showed up with too few cocktail table arrangements. Sure, this can happen, and their fix for that problem was to take flowers from other arrangements to make the 3 or whatever more, which is a reasonable solution. However, I did NOT hear about this happening from them. They never once contacted me (in 6 months from my wedding) to refund the $60-100 (total) on those arrangements or apologize for the mistake. To me, this is stealing. I paid X amount per cocktail table arrangement and if they showed up with fewer than we agreed upon (and that I paid for), then they have taken my money for doing nothing and that is wrong. There were also bathroom arrangements that we paid for that didn't get there. These items are all probably less than $400 altogether (and I paid over $3000), but I don't care if it's $5, it's still money we paid to get something that they did not provide. What really sends me over the edge is their lack of contact about it; mistakes happen, but when they do, you should admit it and do what you need to do to make it right.

The second major issue I had was that apparently certain flowers we agreed would be used must not have been available. This happens, of course. However, the choices of flowers they used instead were completely inappropriate. For example, they chose to substitute carnations instead of hydrangeas. I don't dislike carnations necessarily, but I did not agree to those in my centerpieces and I REALLY did not agree that they should be used in place of a significantly more expensive flower, like a hydrangea. Again, this was something that should have been discussed and put in writing in advance (and yes, I take partial responsibility for not thinking of doing that), but since it was not, she should have contacted me or my coordinator to approve the choices of substitutes, particularly when we're talking about such a significant value/price difference.

It concerns me that where financial matters were concerned, their business practices were questionable, and this was ultimately why I felt I had to leave a review. For all of the reasons given above, I cannot recommend Flower Art, despite how nice and talented they may be.
Services used: Flowers

In Stitches with Reene
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
All I can say is Thank God for Reene!! Oh my, my dress was several sizes too big! Reene saved the day... she took in over 7 inches... all lace dress, mermaid (so it needs to FIT!) and she just made it look amazing! Plus, we added straps so I would be able to dance without fear and a bustle. She will definitely be direct and say what she thinks, which I really appreciated since she will tell you what she can and cannot do.

If you'd like to make your own mind up, there are pics in my bio (of the wedding, so once it was done... I don't have any pics of it when it was huge, but just take my word for it :)), but suffice it to say, she had to seriously take in the dress, it was all lace and mermaid fit (so those are complications), she added a corset, straps, and a bustle, and had it pressed. There was a lot of work to be done and by the time she was finished, it looked like that dress was made just for me! She does beautiful work and she's a fantastic person. I highly recommend Reene!
Services used: Dress & Attire

Just Invite Me {by JBDESiGN}
( 3.2 / 5.0 )
April 2010:
I used Just Invite Me for my wedding invitations. Jessi was really nice to work with in a lot of ways (prompt, friendly, flexible, polite, talented) and I did get several compliments on my invitations. However, there were some problems with them and ultimately, I was not personally happy with them. In addition, because of the problems with them, I ended up spending many additional hours correcting problems I found.

When I brought my concerns to her attention, she was very polite and professional in her response, but did indicate that the problems I had with the invitations were likely due to having been a rush order. She stated that generally they require 4-6 weeks to do invitations and because my job was rushed, essentially, some things may have been missed. The problem with this, to me, is that I paid their rush fee, so in my mind, that should mean that they should be perfect or don't take on the job.

So, I would recommend Jessi and Just Invite Me if you have enough time in advance of your wedding to work back and forth with her to decide what you want, see a proof, etc., but I cannot recommend her if you have a rush job, based on my experience.
Services used: Invitations

Tricia Dahlgren Wedding Consulting and Event Coordinating
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Post Wedding Update (May 2010):
I cannot say enough how thrilled I am with Tricia and her staff! In the days leading up to the wedding and, of course, on the wedding itself, she was there and completely on top of everything! Even family and guests noticed how great she was! She was there from rehearsal to the final song (and after helping clean up!!) and it was such a stress reliever to me to know that if I needed something she'd take care of it. All of my previous comments stand, so I'll just say that I HIGHLY recommend her and would be more than happy to discuss my experience with her in more detail if anyone's interested (just PM me :)).

April 2010:
I am actually so happy with Tricia so far that I had to leave a review now, even though my wedding isn't for another couple of weeks. Tricia was recommended to me by one of my bridesmaids. I had not budgeted or planned in general to have a coordinator, but this was the best suggestion EVER! I just had no concept going into this wedding how many details and things needed to be done, thought through, etc. and Tricia has just been SUCH an amazing help to me!

Even though Tricia is only my Day-of-Coordinator, she has been helping me coordinate for over a month now and we're still a few weeks out! She's met with me several times, including at my site, to discuss my vision and plans for my wedding, she helped me think of things I had not considered or even realized needed to be considered, and provided tons of support! She also offers, when requested, her suggestions and/or advice based on her experiences with previous weddings, which are never forced or pushed upon me, but generally very useful.

About a month out, she created (based on our discussions) a timeline for the wedding day and days preceding the wedding (beginning with the wedding rehearsal), which has in itself saved me countless hours. She got in touch with all of the vendors so that they will know her and be comfortable with her in advance of the wedding and to coordinate things like their arrival and departure times, etc. which were then included in the timeline (PM me if interested in seeing this).

She has been incredibly responsive, professional, courteous, friendly, and helpful. Her obviously strong grasp of how weddings run and useful insights into ways to be most efficient, etc. have given me a very strong sense of relief and trust. I am so incredibly grateful to have Tricia coordinating my wedding and feel very, very comfortable with her handling things (which is seriously saying something because I'm a bit of a control freak!). I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Services used: Wedding Planning

Brides of California
( 1.0 / 5.0 )
I should say that my visit to their store was back in January 2007 and I have definitely not been back since. I understand that they have a new store (Address: 1445 Marcelina Ave, Torrance, CA 90501) but I have not been to the new store, so I cannot comment on that. Despite that, here's how my experience was with Brides of California: I found Brides of California online originally. They have a really good website (better than the store, in my opinion) and a wide selection of designers (but be warned that they do not have all of the styles in the store that they show on their website, which is quite frustrating!). So, my situation was that I was going to be a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding. My friend was in town for one weekend from across the country to go bridesmaid dress shopping with me (yes, she flew out for this and other wedding-related activities only). We had a list of dresses we wanted to see/try on based on what we found on the website. I made it clear that we had a lot to see and try when I called over a week in advance to schedule an appointment (did I mention my friend was coming from out of town for only this one weekend??). But, no one told me at that time or in a subsequent call that we would only get 45 minutes and a maximum of 10 dresses we could try on. Now, let me just add as a side note here: WHAT THE HECK KIND OF POLICY IS THAT ANYWAY?! But then not to tell people?? But I digress... So, when we arrived they told us about this policy and despite it being THEIR mistake, they did not offer any solutions to fix the problem, such as giving us another appointment (we asked -- they said they were booked). And, just to be clear, I have been to several other bridal salons (this is not my first bridesmaid gig, ok?) and I have NEVER heard of such policies. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, they weren't even particularly attentive or helpful for the 45 minutes we were allotted. The store was small and the dresses were packed tightly together so it was really hard to see them or pull them out to look at and many were tangled together. Perhaps we just didn't look like we were going to buy (so wrong!) but I was not impressed with their service in the store, the store itself, or their policies. I would strongly recommend you avoid this place as their prices are not even good enough to justify putting up with all of the other problems. I truly hope that this is not still how they run their business, but I cannot recommend them since my experience was just that bad.
Services used: Dress & Attire