A New York Times article, published on Oct 16, 2007, carried the headline "A bride sues her florist over pastel hydrangeas". A bride sued her florist when he changed the ordered dark rust and green hydrangeas with pastel pink and green ones, which clashed with the general decor and linen and spoiled the wedding's look. The law suit is not a big surprise considering the recent studies that show flower costs to be more than 8 percent of the total wedding budget.
A wedding is a magnanimous affair. Big money and even bigger visions are involved in making weddings a success. When finalizing deals with wedding florists, it is best to make a written contract that protects both parties, in case promises go unfulfilled. Make sure you know how long your florist has been in business, determine your requirements and only then, finalize a contract, that can be taken to a local attorney for review. Here we give you an outline of a wedding florist contract.
There should be no hassles over the payment terms, as it forms the first and foremost thing, when a deal is finalized. The deposit amount should be clearly mentioned along with other terms like repayment, payment guarantee, sales tax, overtime fees, etc. This section will also include clauses like - 'No guarantee on flower availability, for orders made less than two weeks of the event' and 'Color and style will be the closest available match to the initial order'. The entire payment schedule should be specifically mapped out under this heading.
All wedding orders are custom-made orders for florists, and hence a clause about final consultation is mentioned in almost all such contracts. The clause states that if all final payments are not made by the final consultation date, the contract is considered as canceled and all monies except the non-refundable deposits are given back to the clients. Cancellation of contract must always be done through a written document signed by both parties.
Substitutions and Changes
Most florists reserve a right to make changes and substitutions to the plan finalized by the clients. All substitutions and changes are only done as a last resort, and only when the reasons for doing so are reasonable and genuine. For example, if a certain bloom is unavailable on the wedding day, the flower has to be substituted with some other one. Or if the flowers delivered to the florist, are wilted and not in a condition to grace a wedding function, they are changed from the florist's side.
List of Ordered Items
Beautiful weddings require beautiful floral arrangements, whether it's the centerpieces, the cascading bouquets, vases, trellises or just bridal flowers, everything's got to be perfect. An itemized list of all required arrangements to be bought with their exact names, colors and amounts, should be detailed in the contract. If an arrangement is selected from the florist's previously done work (photograph albums), the photograph code can also be mentioned. A provision for the return of any hired arrangements (like silk corsages, etc.) should also be put in this section.
The arrival time for the florist's employees, the set up time that they require, etc. should be mentioned here. The venue for the event (wedding and reception) should be mentioned here clearly as most probably, those will be the places where the florist will be called with his flower supplies. If delivery is to be made anywhere else (home, ceremony site, etc.), it should be mentioned as well. Any over-time payment for extra hours is also put in here. Set up costs, delivery fees and set up fees are all mentioned under this head.
Flower alternatives that are within the price range of clients, are printed in this section. The clients can ask for any of these specifically, when their original order is unavailable. The clients can also add the list of flowers which are absolutely unacceptable to them. This way, they can ensure that nothing is delivered on the big day, that the bride or groom is allergic to. Clients can also request for an extra on-hand florist on the date, at the venue.
The names, addresses and signatures of both the parties to the contract are specifically mentioned here along with the date, time and location for both the wedding and reception. The jurisdiction for legal recourse is clearly stated here. Any other miscellaneous clauses that are made by either party can be included in this part of the contract.
A contract for your floral arrangement provides you with a right to fight for any unfulfilled promises, on your important day. If you think any of the things are missing in your deal, immediately notify your florist about it. Another advice is to make sure that you reserve your florist at least 3 to 6 months prior to the wedding. This gives you more planning and preparation time. It also gives the jittery bride enough time to change her mind a few times, before she finally settles on her final vision. Be prudent, get yourself a good, solid and airtight contract. I hope you will not have to exercise it though!