Vendor referrals are crucial folks. There I said it. Don’t just look at the pretty pictures. Do your research. For the first time time in almost ten years the photobooth/flowerwall company that my client had sourced and booked herself, simply didn’t show up – well at least for 3 hours after they said they would.
I was helping a lovely couple at Gunners Barracks recently. The bride had booked us in for a half a day wedding coordination. She initially had booked us in for a short day (three hour) wedding coordination session, but deciding later on to increase it to five hours for a bit more peace of mind. It’s a good thing she did.
It was so obvious when I arrived at bump in to Gunners Barracks that she had invested a lot into the wedding. Flowers like you wouldn’t believe everywhere, and the bride had a great eye for detail. She had even arranged hand dyed silk ribbons for me to tie around her napkins. It looked amazing, take a look below. Gunners Barracks is always a challenging venue for set up. Always so much to do and not enough time as they usually have their own lunch service and bump in is always tight.
Happening tonight at Gunners Barracks for the lovely Sue and Ian. Venue Gunners Barracks / Set Up and Coordination Girl Friday Weddings / Celebrant Linda Waterson / Photographer The Beautiful Collective / Flowers Miss Fleuriste / Hire Harbourside Decorators and Fleur Events / Cake The Art of Baking / #wedding #weddings #weddingflowers #flowers #tablescape #sueandian #ianandsue #weddingcoordinator #sydneyweddingcoordinator #sydneyweddingplanner
So once we had successfully set up the ceremony space and the reception space, there is always a massive feeling of relief. Everything had been done, all the suppliers at arrived, delivered and installed successfully. But upon doing a final walk around prior to the reception, I could see that although the photobooth that my client had sourced and booked herself had been delivered to the drawing room, there it was sitting in pieces on the dance floor. There was 30 minutes to go until the start of the reception. There are three words that come to mind, and you can guess. WTF.
After calling the supplier and the phone ringing out on both the landline and mobile, I was at a complete loss. This has never happened before. I checked their website and I noticed that their website was pretty much offline. And that fear of dread and of thinking terrible things. And yes trading whilst insolvent definitely came to mind. The only thing left that I could think of doing is to trying to contact them using Instagram with a photo of exactly what was going on. Around 5 minutes after I sent my direct message on Instagram, I had received a phone call.
Long story short, even though my client had her photobooth/flowerwall booked and paid for from 6pm, it was finally running by 9pm. 3 hours late. Yes three. I am still flabbergasted by any business in this industry having the gall to show up 3 hours late on someone’s wedding day without so much as a phone call ahead to say they were having staffing issues / someone was sick / there was bad traffic – whatever the reason. I am glad I was there for our five hour coordination session. I was able to manage it, I was able to stay on top of the flower wall company until there was some sort of result. I ended up staying back almost two hours on my own dime to make sure it was resolved. But to my relief my gorgeous bride and groom had no idea what was going on, and I only let on to a few other key people in the bridal party. The flower wall company did commit to me that night that they will be refunding my client in full for their service. I do hope they keep their word.
You could say that crisis was sort of averted. But I still feel totally disappointed and let down for them. She was robbed of having a decent supplier, one who would have supplied the service she had wanted in the first place (and done a much better job). Their business name is one that I shall forever remember. And it saddens me to think that it’s because of operators like these, that gives the impression to others that our industry is one full of opportunists and rip-off merchants.
Stories like these that must serve as a reminder to couples getting married, the value of doing your research and looking to trusted suppliers for vendor referrals. I wish I had been booked in with this client earlier on in the piece so I could have been of more help with helping them source trusted suppliers. But folks getting married, do your research. Look at the suppliers work experience. Talk to your venues and ask them who they work with. Look them up on ASIC and find out how long they have been in business. Use your credit card to make payments so that if they are trading insolvent, then you have some fallback for recovering money.
It’s horrible to plan ahead with the worst case scenario in mind, and really the only short cut is to have someone help do the planning or vendor sourcing for you.