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In The Bloom with Maria: With an expansion in services, florists need to develop agreements and communicate them clearly

In The Bloom with MarinaA recent high-profile wedding filled with controversy and litigation once again demonstrates how those involved in wedding planning—including florists—need to have best practices, procedures, and contracts in place to help protect their work and reputation.

An expensive wedding hangover

Washington power couple Joan and Bernard Carl decided to foot the bill for their daughter’s extravagant wedding. This meant a designer label wedding gown, thousands of white roses, a five-course dinner, specialty cocktails, beachfront rehearsals, and costs that rose into seven figures. The event was big enough to be featured in Brides magazine.

Everything sounds great, right? Well, the Carls feel the wedding planner, Mindy Weiss, spent freely on the ceremony and reception and never consulted with the Carls as to the costs. The fallout from the wedding is the Carls aren’t paying Weiss her full invoice amount, and in turn, Weiss is seeking $340,000 in unpaid fees and another $1.4 million in damages. You can read all about the dispute courtesy of the Washington Post.

In case you were wondering how the Carls and Weiss got connected in the first place, according to the Society of American Florists article “Mega wedding gets messy after miscommunication between family, planner,” the family’s longtime florist, Jeff Leatham, recommended Weiss.

A lesson learned

Miscommunication—or no communication—between the bride’s family and their wedding planner have led to countering lawsuits post-wedding. In this case, the florist was paid directly by the family and is not part of the lawsuit.

However, as many florists now extend their services to include wedding and other event coordination services, this type of scenario could easily name the florist as the main party in the lawsuit.

If you’re a florist and act as a general contractor subbing out vendors, such as the photographer, caterer, DJ, etc., contractual agreements need to require that vendors provide evidence of coverage naming you an additional insured.

You should also check your own policy for professional liability coverage commonly known as Errors & Omissions. This coverage will protect you from errors, mistakes in rendering, or failure to render services not covered under general liability policies.

If you have any questions regarding best practices for your florist business, contact a Hortica agent.

Read more wedding-related topics from Hortica.