After attending a dozen bridal shows and reading some chapters from my wedding book, I was finally ready to sit down with vendors and put together my wedding team. I decided to search for a florist first because behind venue, food, and possibly dress costs, flowers are one of the biggest expenses. Finding a photographer became my next priority, as photographers can only do one wedding per day and photo deals that include quality services, products, and compatible visions are extremely difficult to come by.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were devoted to meeting florists, videographers, and photographers. It’s been a stressful weekend filled with hope, fear, and apprehension. Where do people really begin to plan dream wedding? Here I was pinning my life away, clipping from magazines, yet I was completely clueless when it came to my bridal bouquet–which is the first thing florists ask about. I expect my vendors to flush out my vision and present me with options. After all, they are supposed to be knowledgeable about what is available and utilize their creativity to make my dream a reality.
The first florist I met with… who was the first vendor I’ve even met with regarding my wedding (besides my wedding coordinator), was a total nightmare! Well, not total. But he left a bad taste in my mouth. The first thing he asked me when I sat down was why I chose my wedding to be where it is and how much I am paying per person. First of all… you do not ask someone that, even if you are a potential florist. ANYWAY, I told him it fit my and Ezrael’s personality and had this certain novelty and elegance I really wanted. And do you know what he said? “I don’t understand why people get married there. The rules are so strict. There are so many beautiful hotels and golf courses out there.” Really. REALLY? You do not dump on the place where I am getting married, especially if I am a potential client. Needless to say he was not helpful in selecting flowers and styles for the bouquets and centerpieces. Apparently, I had to know exactly what flowers and styles I wanted before I walked in the door. Every time he suggested we add something and I said I didn’t like it, he never gave me an alternate option! He was basically mad that I didn’t like his “stunning” suggestions. I don’t care if you have five-star reviews and you produce the most amazing pieces for a reasonable price… if you can’t help me fulfill my vision with your creative abilities, then we are not doing business.
This morning, I walked into a floral shop in downtown LA… I was terrified! Should I have studied bridal bouquets overnight? Was I supposed to memorize flower types by heart? I sat down at Crystal’s desk and that first question came out: “What are you thinking for your bridal bouquet?” CRAP. I did remember the types of flowers I had considered from the other florist. Cool, that was a start. And then Crystal’s ideas and suggestions started flowing. I told her my colors and key words. She had these reference books for flower types by color. Who knew there were 9 shades of blue roses? And yellow filler could actually be attractive? Crystal was giving me everything and more! When she started showing me centerpieces bases for the price she had quoted, I looked around the store and found some other bases to fit my style. She was more than willing to change the styles up and provide alternatives… rather than shutting me down because they didn’t fit in my original budget. After talking flowers for an hour, I left the shop with a detailed estimate and felt… relieved. I really can make this dream wedding happen without employing David Tutera’s help… though that would be much appreciated and basically the most awesome thing ever.
I met with three other vendors who were all offering photography/videography packages for competitive prices. There are things I liked and disliked about each vendor… from styles, to hours of coverage, and prices. It’s interesting because two videographers are just starting the photography portion of their businesses, while the photographer is starting the videography portion of his business. Hence, why the packages are so affordable. Because there aren’t a plethora reviews or samples from the new side of the companies, they offer their services at a discount so that customers can’t say no. This way, they get clients, more samples of work under their belt, and rave reviews–assuming they do exceptional work at the discounted price. But that’s where the obstacle stands: it’s tough for me to entrust wedding photo and video services when there are no reviews to back up the amazing work I’ve seen. This is one of those moments of faith I must have in the wedding planning process! These vendors are by no means amateurs, though. They are simply expanding their creative ventures and collaborating with other artists to meet the demands of the industry. These deals fell into my lap for a reason and I’m grateful to have three viable options, all somewhat within my budget.
I’ll be in North Carolina this week to attend the Marine Corps Birthday Ball with Ez and we’ll finally get to do some wedding planning together. I’m excited to go through wedding videos and galleries and select the pros who will be documenting our big day. These consultations are not a game, people! Especially since I’m such an easy sell -_-