Tag Archive | Lake Harriet Florist

Cathartic Vendor Review

At first I struggled with whether or not to review my vendors because the information is only relevant to those people getting married in Minnesota.  But being that there are not very many Weddingbee blogger bees from MN, I decided to go ahead and write the post.

The reason this is cathartic for me is because I had a bit of an issue with one of my main vendors.  I’m not sure how to handle my frustration while still being the bigger person and avoiding pointless catty comments other than to be as vague as possible while still letting it all out.

I am disappointed in how things went down with my photographer.  Sister Big Eyes’ and I shrendored her, which makes my frustrations doubly upsetting.

Our photographer is a talented artist no doubt but she was not easy to work with.  For example, my photos were late, multiple other promised deadlines were missed, and there was an overall lack of business savvy.  Days before Sister Big Eyes’ wedding there was an issue via email that could have been easily avoided with better communication.  There were misunderstandings about expectations, excuses instead of apologies, and both of us are still waiting on a part of our package, an album we were promised.

While I do love my pictures and am incredibly thankful for them, it’s hard for me to encourage others to hire her when she caused us both so much unnecessary stress, which is why I’m not linking to her website or recommending her.  (Although her information is not difficult to find if you go to any of my recaps.)

To turn this into something positive, here are a few things to remember that I wish I had known when interviewing photographers besides the usual, look at all the photos from one wedding, not just the favorites, and make sure they match your aesthetic/vision.

Picking the Right Photographer:

  • Get a timeline in the contract so that you have something to refer back to if they are late getting you your photos.
  • Ask them how many weddings they shoot per year, the lower the number the more time they will have to devote to the ones they have booked.
  • Trust your instincts, to quote Oprah quoting Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
  • Respect them as an artist but remember you have a right to hold them accountable as a paying client.  Be kind but firm with expectations.
  • Finally, do NOT pass their name along to someone else until AFTER you’ve had the full experience of working them.  Unless of course you’re sisters getting married within three months of each other and it makes sense for you both.  🙂

Now that the icky stuff is out of the way, let me tell you about a shrendoring experience that was the complete opposite of the last one.

Laura Westrem: A+

Sister Big Eyes’ and I shared our hair/makeup artist and I would recommend her a million times over!  She was so easy to be around and really focused on making the bride feel special and happy.  She also got to know our family pretty well from doing both weddings and she offered Sister and I discounts at both weddings.  She works really hard but still makes time to respond to emails, and was extremely accommodating of my out-of-town schedule.  If I need a hair/makeup artist in the future, I’m calling Laura.

Midwest Sound and DJ: B

The music selection at the reception was fantastic but they caused us some unnecessary stress by phoning the week of the wedding saying they couldn’t get the legal copies of TWO songs for our ceremony.  I was pretty annoyed because I had sent them our packet of song choices back in February.  The issue was resolved in time but it was still frustrating.

Embassy Suites Bloomington: A-

What can I say?  This hotel knows weddings.  The two ladies in charge are both very nice and great with responding quickly over email.  They worked with me when I had to set up meetings pretty far in advance and they answered all my questions without making me feel stupid.  A few hiccups, one they asked for a payment after I’d already given it (I almost paid them twice for the same thing but luckily we caught it), and they switched my coordinator at the last minute, and AGAIN I found out the week of the wedding.  It wasn’t a huge issue, but being that I’d only met one of the two woman, I felt very much like the rug was pulled out from under me.  Their expertise in the wedding biz came through in the end and it didn’t matter who my coordinator was, it all got done.

Also, one last thing, that doesn’t really have to do with Embassy Suites, or so we think, our bathroom baskets were stolen!  I was pretty pissed at the time, not only because those baskets were from my own house but mostly because we were going to reuse them for Sister Big Eyes’ wedding and instead we had to purchase new baskets and new items and make them all over again!  Dear people who steal bathroom baskets: you make me sad.  Drag your ass to Target and buy a Tide-to-go pen on your own dime!

The Gunn Slingers: A+++

Our Ceilidh band was the highlight of the night.  Hire them.  They rule.  Since they don’t have a website Google them to find their Facebook page or private message me for an email address.

Evan the Bagpiper: A+

He was young, sweet, talented, and on time.  He even came to our rehearsal.  Everyone loved his music.  Private message me for his email address if you want pipes for your Minnesota wedding!

Lake Harriet Florist: A

My bouquets were stunning and she worked within my meager budget.  The first and last place we went to, win win.

Videography

I can’t review or link to my videographers because they are done filming weddings and do not want inquires about them, but they rocked.  And if I ever need to film a commercial, I’m calling them.  🙂

Did you have a frustrating experience with a vendor that you need some closure on?  Is anyone else shrendoring?!?!  🙂

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My Wedding Dress Doesn’t fit and I Feel Crazy, but My Shower Rocked, What a Weekend Baby: 2

The second edition of my awkwardly titled series is about FLOWERS!  (This is Part One, in case you missed it.)

Back when I started planning, I was in the “I don’t know what the hell to do about flowers camp,” and was waffling between hiring someone to do my bouquets and having a friend arrange them for me.  Then there was the whole flower alternative idea floating in my head where you make flowers out of paper (thank you Miss Gray Wolf and Miss Panda for the awesome inspiration), but considering I gave up on making boutonnieres after a whole 1.5 minutes,  I think I lack both the desire and skill to DIY anything so grand.  I also decided that I’d rather have my friends simply be guests on the wedding day instead of friendors.

Consequently, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and order my flowers through a flower shop.

And boy, was it EASY.  Too easy.  In fact, maybe it was all dream.  No wait, the crappier part of the weekend most DEFINITELY happened so then all good stuff must be true as well!  🙂

My flight into the Twin Cities landed at 9:30 AM and by 10 AM I was seated at a table with BM L Dawg and meeting with C for our first appointment of the day.*

C was a dream to work with, and as L Dawg told Mom Sword, “we were a bit high maintenance” and she still gave us great customer service.  She hopped up so many times to show me flowers that I finally told her it wasn’t necessary, and she could just stay seated!

Get this Hive: I went in with ZERO inspiration photos.  BRIDE FAIL.  But it wasn’t a big deal, I did have a vision and I had a budget.

I’m actually going to share our budget with you because not only is it a great point of reference for those in the Midwest looking for flowers, but it’s also nice to know the actual numbers sometimes if only for comparison sake and curiosity!  In case you’ve forgotten, our centerpieces will be flower free, which means we only needed 5 bouquets and four corsages.

The budget Mr. Sword and I decided on pre-MN trip was 500.00 dollars for all things floral.

When we first sat down I turned to C and said, “I know very little about flowers and what they cost, but our budget is 500.00 dollars, can you help us get all that we want for that amount?”  And she said, “yes.”  Immediately, my heart soared and we got to work picking flowers.

Umm, I think I’m holding stock but don’t quote me on that!

For my bridal bouquet BM L Dawg and C helped me choose white hydrangea, ivory roses, white heather (as a nod to Mr. Sword’s Scottish culture), and mini calla lilies in eggplant as accents.

image via Fifty Flowers

I’m also incorporating some fiddlehead ferns in my bouquet to add in some darkness and drama (they are the curly-q things sticking out of the bouquet shown below).

Source: luxefinds.com via Jessica on Pinterest

 And finally we decided to cradle the flowers in these big leaves known as aspidistra (I’d never heard of it before).  The bouquet featured below has leaves at the bottom of it that appear to be aspidistra (although hopefully they’ll be a bit darker), and this is the overall look we are going for in all of the bouquets.

image via The Flirty Guide/ Photo by Karen Hsu

Suddenly, all four wedding colors are represented in my bouquet: eggplant purple, chocolate brown, forest green, and ivory.  Insert happy bride dance here!

Cut to the maid’s bouquets.  Since the bridesmaids are wearing the color eggplant…

Thank you MOH Big Eyes for modeling

it didn’t make sense to have their bouquets dark purple as well, so instead they are going to have a mixture of different shades of purple flowers (I love purple so much), ranging from really pale to lavender to the  dark eggplant calla lilies like in my bouquet.  MOH/Sister Big Eyes will also get a splash of spray ivory roses in her bouquet to make it stand out.

Finally, we ordered wrist corsages using what else but a purple flower (of which I have forgotten the name).

Here is our numbers breakdown in case you’re interested (while calla lilies are expensive, we also incorporated some inexpensive flowers so all in all I think we did good):

Brides bouquet                                                                                                 135.00

Bridesmaids (3) ea, 80.00                                                                              240.00

Maid of honor (1)                                                                                            95.00

Wrist corsages (4) ea. 20.00                                                                         80.00

This comes to $550.00 less 15% discount (-82.50) = 467.50 x 7.775% sales tax 36.35 = 503.85

Did you notice the 15% discount?  Isn’t C amazing?  I can’t speak highly enough of her as she worked within my budget, was flexible in offering different types of flowers, and super easy to converse with!  We even showed C some of the tartan fabric and she agreed to wrap all of the bouquet stems in it as well!  Success!

Table of my stuff including a swatch of the tartan

After BM L Dawg and I left the shop, we promptly got into the car and canceled our next floral appointment (this was pre-estimate btw) because we were confident with C and lesbihonest, we just wanted to get to our movie.  (Random movie plug: Go see Pitch Perfect, you won’t regret!)  Aca-believe me.

(all photos personal)

*I have no problem sharing my vendors and linking back to their websites once everything is fully signed and dotted, but private message me if you are a MN bride in need of great service!

What do you think of our floral prices based on our Midwest location?  Am I crazy for not getting a second opinion?  What can I say, I was going on instinct!