Thursday, January 17, 2008

Parted ways with the "planner" "coordinator" or decorator as she calls herself.

This is a long one, but a good lesson. Okay, so rule number one of wedding planning... GET IT IN WRITING. Yeah, I broke that one and it bit me in the tush. Second rule, make sure vendors are really on the same page... and that ties back to rule #1- GET IT IN WRITING!

I've been waiting on a detailed estimate from my planner/coordinator or wedding decorator as she calls herself for over three weeks.
She says:

On 12/9/07, notgonnagiveheremailbecauseI'mnotmean! wrote:
It was great to see you again. (her hubby) and I had already discussed coming up with a list. See great minds think alike. I will work on that and get it to you this week. Have a great day.

I started getting impatient when the I had been waiting for two weeks and sent a snarky email with no response before Christmas. Then on the 28th, I sent her the following:

Hope everything is fine and your vacation from work is going well. Please let me know things are okay with you, as I am beginning to become worried that something is wrong. I'd expected to hear from you two weeks ago regarding the things we discussed.

I would like to address our arrangement for coordination and planning. I'm starting to feel that we are not on the same page. As you know, my number one priority is my budget... although I would like a nice and pretty wedding, I believe that your coordination and decorating services are an extravagance that I really cannot afford, due to your consistant suggestions to add on expensive decorating items. For example, the use of your gazebo for the cake area versus my usage of a canopy I already own, of which you stated would cost an additional $200 to rent for the day. Although this is our one day, I do not want to have to pay for it for years to come. I know I have told you this many times. The size and beauty of our wedding is not a reflection of FHand my love or the life we will have together... it is starting to feel like a "keeping up with the joneses" situation. This is not something that I am comfortable with. We have not yet signed a contract with you, and I feel I am still in the dark regarding what services you provide for your fee and what things your fees are for. I need this information to make my plans accordingly.
If we cannot get this information soon, I feel we will need to terminate our verbal contract and I would like a refund of my deposit, as I would not be using your services.

Thank you.

I really tried to use feeling words instead of accusatory words... tried.very.hard.

So I FINALLY get a response and it seemed like she was just waiting on a catty email from me or a phone call or something to back out... it just irks me and seems like that soooo much.

It was very upsetting to read your letter today. I told you that I would work things up and get back with you after the holidays. I had every intention of contacting you today, but then I received your e-mail. I was surprised by your accusations and comments. I have been very mindful of your budget and have tried to accomodate you at every suggestion you made. I have cut cost for you repeatedly because I knew you were on a budget. The beach canopy we use is a very beautiful canopy. I normally rent that out from between $1,000.00 - $1,500.00. I was letting you have it for $750.00 and that included the aisle runner. I reduced it more when you wanted to do your own aisle runners down to $500.00. I was going to "assist" you for $400.00. The one thing that I have never been accussed of is not working with a bride and trying to add expensive things to the wedding. I could provide you with many letters from brides thanking me for helping them stay on budget. I would like to address the fact that you made a comment that referred to "my constant suggestion to add on expensive decorating items." I have all my notes in great detail of what you wanted to add. If I made suggestions they were only due to what you wanted to add and the ideas you had for the wedding. I am very taken aback with that comment, because I have tried to work with you on what you wanted for your wedding and your budget. When we first met you told me that you wanted to have a beautiful and elegant wedding on a budget. That is what we were attempting to do. The price that I quoted you for the cake gazebo was $100.00 not $200.00. That included the flowers for the gazebo. I thought it was a great idea to use your canopy for the cake and I stated that, because it would save you money. All I asked was who would be responsible for setting that up. If you feel that you are having to "Keep up with the Joneses" it is not because I added items to your day. I would like to know exactly what expensive items I wanted to add, that were not a reflection of what you expressed a desire for. When we met with you at the hotel that day you went on and on adding so many things. I have the list of items that you described that you wanted to add, not me. I wanted you to have the wedding of your dreams and I was trying to help, however I can't do it for free. Your comments about yours and Mike's love for each other was so sweet, but it seems like you were implying that I was putting a price tag on it. You obviously have not gotten to know me too well because that is such a low blow. I would never do anything like that.
When we met I told you right then that the lady I spoke with was uncomfortable when I spoke with her. I am a planner/decorator. What would you have liked me to tell her? I told you all about that meeting. I explained that she asked who we were and I told her we were planner/decorators and she seemed to get upset and said that they do a beautiful job. I told her that I don't doubt for a second that they do a great job, that we were just helping you with some addition decorations and the ceremony. That is when she brought us her book of photos of weddings that she had done there and we commented on how lovely they were. By no means were we ever rude or unprofessional at any point. I am sorry that after the fact, you feel uncomfortable about something I told you about myself that day. You even made the comment when I told you that she was not the lady that you normally dealt with. Again your comments implying that because I introduced myself as your planner/decorator would ruin your reception totally blows me away.
I feel that after reading this letter from you I will not be able to assist you with your wedding. I wish you nothing but the best and hope you have a lovely wedding and happy memories to last a lifetime. Your comments have truly upset me because I know that I have acted in nothing but a professional manner and was making every attempt to help you make your wedding dreams come true. No, we have not signed a contract. However, I have already put a lot of time, effort and fuel into the planning of this wedding. I am sending you $200.00 and keeping a $100.00 towards what I have done thus far. Please let me know what address you would like me to mail the check to.

Planner lady

I replied

I apologize if any of my statements upset you in any way, I tried my best to keep those individualized and as unhurtful as possible. I do not doubt in any way that you are not a professional, as this is not something I meant to imply. I did not realize how tense the meeting was between you and the head of the wait staff until I met her yesterday and spoke with her and had no idea until your email that she brought you a photobook of the weddings they have done in the past. You are a very talented and upbeat coordinator/decorator and I do not deny this in any way, shape, or form. However, as I said before, we were just not on the same page. I know that it seemed that my ideas were out of my price range, and I thought that as a coordinator/planner, you would help me reign in those ideas into something similar, but affordable and within my budget, this I feel was where we had the most confusion, as I thought coordination and setup were the one in the same. I did not know what your prices were and what my discounted price was or exactly what I was getting for those prices, as I never saw all this information on paper.
Regarding the implication of putting a price on love, I feel the whole bridal industry does that and I felt that was how things were coming off. My future mother in law was there and made the comment about the "joneses" regarding the statement you made regarding this being our "one day" and "don't I want it to be pretty" (in reference to the column set up as back up in case of rain) in which I replied I honestly didn't care what that looked like since it wasn't on the beach. You did state in your email dated December 9th that you would get that list of pricing and 'discounted' pricing (so I knew exactly what I was getting) to me that week- not after the holidays. That is why I sent numerous emails and became worried, I did not mean to pester you with emails but I was trying to get things in order for the wedding. As you knew, I was spending the majority of my Christmas break from school doing planning because I am taking 21 credit hours next semester and will have little time for last minute planning.
All this said, I thank you for the time you have put in helping us thus far, and I agree that you should keep $100 of the deposit for the trip down here earlier this month for fuel and other costs.
My address is
not gonna tell ya!!!
Again, thank you for your help so far.
Sincerest regards,

So... lesson of this... get it in writing before paying any money because if you don't, well you don't get your money back in full because terms were not discussed in full perviously. I feel entitled to my entire deposit, but if I get snarky and catty, then I won't see a dime unless I take her to small claims court. BOOOOO!! on that. So I'll take what I can get and just call this an expensive $100 lesson on wedding contracts. I recieved the check within a week (faster than a reply on an email!!) and it cleared so I'm washing my hands of this as I send this out to blogland!

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