Post # 1
AGH! My wedding is two weeks away, and the balance payment for the florist is due Saturday. After two weeks of unreturned phone calls to discuss the final balance, which she had never given me, I finally got ahold of her yesterday.
After twenty minutes of going over things yet again and correcting her on things I thought we had straightened out in conversations in june and july, she springs my "discounted" price on me: $600-700 more than we discussed!
Back in the beginning of June, my dad had a stroke, and my parents sadly had to cut our wedding budget almost in half. My dad is okay, but I had to scramble to re-plan a wedding I had already finished planning. This meant calling vendors, seeing about scaling down, re-applying our non-refundable deposits. Every single vendor (hotel, church, cake, photographer, videographer, rehearsal dinner location) happily leant a hand to me, except the band who kept our deposit as we had to cancel them, but my florist was the last person I could get ahold of!
When I did, telling her our TOTAL floral budget (including deposit) was now half of what it was before (which seems fine since we were having half the guests) she said she would make it work. So yesterday she acted like it was my fault in not communicating that clearly!
I don’t know what to do. I don’t have the money to pay her what she wants, I don’t want to pay her what she wants after I feel I was very clear (obviously I was clear enough with all my other vendors because we are all on the same page). But she let me know if I try and scale back the flowers anymore, she will "walk" from the wedding, and I will have less than two weeks to find someone to do flowers – near impossible since I will have lost my deposit money! Oh why did my mom pick a florist who doesn’t "do contracts"?! Any suggestions??
Post # 3
Did you communicate with her in person or over the phone? If it was via e-mail, you could use the correspondence as proof of your agreement.
If you don’t have any proof of her agreement, I can’t think of any way to get her to stick to her word.
If it were me, I would try to use the deposit money for some of the flowers (like have her do the bouquets, corsages, and bouts) and then get the centerpieces elsewhere. Since she wouldn’t have to deal with making, delivering, and setting up all the centerpieces, she might not ‘walk’ despite the reduced budget.
I ruled out floral centerpieces for my wedding because of cost and went ahead with just candles. However, I’m kicking myself now, because I found an online flower place that can do centerpieces for $15 each (not including a vase). It’s called http://www.theflowerexchange.com and I found it by reading another post by a fellow Bee (do a search on weddingbee to find her comments). I don’t know what the delivery cost would be, but that might allow you to stay within your budget.
PS- whatever you do, make that florist sign something agreeing to the new terms!
Post # 4
I’m assuming that when you say the florist "doesn’t do contracts" you mean that nothing was in writing? However, just because there is no writing doesn’t necessarily mean there wasn’t a contract–it’s just harder to prove. Depending on the agreement between the two of you, she may be in breach of her contract by charging you the extra amount. If it’s worth enough to you, a lawyer would be able to help you–although a lawyer might cost more than what the florist is over-charging you.
You can always start out by playing nice, explain to her (sweetly!) that you already told her what you could afford and you thought you had an agreement. You can’t afford any more! Get her to feel sorry for you. If she still won’t budge, start playing hardball. Don’t back down on what your understanding of the contract is; explain to her that you believe that you DID have a contract, and what the terms of it were (i.e. she agreed to charge you no more than X amount). You can always threaten to take her to small claims court and hopefully the trouble and expense of dealing with that will get her to knock the price back down. Also, FYI from now on I would communicate with her in writing and save copies of everything you send her and everything she sends you. In the unlikely event that this ends up in court, the more you have in writing the better. It will also put you in a better bargaining position if you have her committed to things on paper–she can’t just weasel out of it saying that you never communicated with her clearly. Good luck!
Post # 5
Thanks for the advice ladies! I’m considering both these options right now, and have already cancelled the RH dinner flowers with her, not wanting to give her any more business. There is nothing in writing, shame on us for not insisting and her for not having them, and she is in Carmel Valley, CA and I am in Seattle and won’t be down in Carmel until Sept. 3rd to deal with her in person.
Post # 6
Casually mention you have been corresponding with other weddingbees. Be careful not to sound condecending. Vendors are usually cautious with their reputations, this might make her think twice before making a big deal out of the situation. It’s bad enough for her you want to take your business out, it will be worse for her if you take other business out with you as well.