Setting what could be a record for Bridezilla nuttiness, a New York City bride sued her florist for $400,000. Her gripe? The hydrangea centerpieces delivered to her wedding were green and pink, not the rust-colored hydrangeas the woman had requested and paid nearly $28,000 for.
A deal’s a deal. Brides have a right to get the flowers they specify. But who wants to cap off a honeymoon with scene out of Boston Legal? Here’s a quick guide on how to increase the chances you get the blossoms you want and avoid the courts.
Talk it up
Communication is key. For Maryann Geary, owner of Flowers in the Park, Greenwich, Conn., this means managing expectations and hashing out specifics with a bride immediately. Write a description of exactly what you want and bring pictures. You might even splurge and order a sample arrangement in order to identify any potential creative differences, Geary suggests. “Little nuances that remain hidden on paper ¬– like the size of petals, the tightness of the arrangement and the amount of greenery – reveal themselves in a sample,” she says. Concrete examples will help allay what Geary calls “day-of-delivery doubts.” Even images aren’t infallible. The unhappy hydrangea bride had given her florist an image to work from, and her “rust” was still a bust.
Be clear about money
Be upfront about your budget from the get-go. “Provide an idea of exactly how much you can spend on flowers,” says Marcella Galvis, owner of Arte di Fiori, New York City. If your budget won’t accommodate table centerpieces that cost $200 each, why waste the designer’s time, and yours, considering them? A friendly florist will be happy to provide information about the highs and lows of per-stem prices based on the season. A quick guide? French tulips, amaryllis, calla lilies, ranunculus and orchids all run on the high end. Hydrangea, large mums and regular tulips tend to provide more bang for the buck. (Although, it’s entirely possible, as our litigious hydrangea bride discovered, to spend buckets of money on a fairly simple flower.) Geary says that the rose gets a bad rap for being pricey; she thinks it’s a relative bargain. When allocating dime to your designs, spend more on your bridal bouquet and table centerpieces, which tend to be the most-photographed. And guests enjoy the centerpieces well into the night.
You can’t always get what you want. Seasons can be unpredictable and florists cannot absolutely guarantee the availability of your buds of choice on the actual day. But, says Geary, “your floral contract should have a clause outlining a What If scenario with agreed-upon alternatives of equal or greater value.” A conversation as simple as this one could have saved one bride and one florist a whole lot of green.
Color tips for fashionable slowers
Just the One: Geary says many of her brides choose one color, one flower and order masses of them for dramatic emphasis. The look is clean, simple and elegant. A bolder approach: choose one bloom but vary the shade (keep within the same palette to avoid color chaos.)
Geary credits Martha Stewart with establishing green as a fashionable color for bridal flowers. When using green-tinted roses or tulips it’s possible to dispense with the greenery.