Some newlyweds are suing a florist for $400,000 for messing up their wedding. They say they paid 30k for centerpieces of rust, fuchsia and dark green at $465 a pop, but were surprised to see cheaper flowers used to create pinkish-white centerpieces that ruined the overall look of the room. The florist says he has proof they got what they asked for and will counter-sue. We say we’re in the wrong business. [Reuters]

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. XTC46 says:

    this is going to be a pretty simple case. The contract should have the requests and expectations in writing, the photographs will show if it was delivered. The hard part will be to determine the damages to pay if the florist is found at fault.

  2. Namilia says:

    Call me naïve, but doesn’t $400,000 seem a bit extreme considering they spent $30,000.00 on the flowers? Speaking of which, that is a lot to spend on flowers. These newlyweds must be already loaded anyways if they can squander that much money on floral arrangements (squander because I am sure it would have been possible to get flowers nearly as nice at a cheaper price)…

  3. Charmander says:

    I have no comment other than just wondering if the centerpieces alone cost $30K, how much did this whole wedding cost??????

  4. FDCPAGuy says:

    the flowers for my wedding in Hawaii ran a whole $176 and were made by hand by a woman who has owned a local lei shop for 20+ years. How the heck do you spend $30,000 on something with a life span of 5 days or less? Lesson for the day: a fool and their money are soon parted.

  5. XTC46 says:

    @FDCPAGuy: I am from Hawaii and yes, flowers here are great looking and smelling and are cheap. Good stuff. I don’t think I could spend 30k on flowers if I tried. I just don’t see it happening.

  6. kamikasee says:

    I just got married a couple of months ago, and let me tell you, it’s completely within the realm of possibility to spend that kind of money (especially if you listen to the florists). Mostly it has to do with the automatic 2x (or 10x) wedding markup, but sometimes it is just a question of scale. If you have 200 people at a wedding, that’s 25 tables. Plus flowers for the church, bridal party, etc. You can even get arrangements to go on the back of *each chair*.

    Whether that’s all necessary is another thing entirely. My wife went to various local florists with a $300 budget for bouquets, corsages and boutineers, and most of them just showed her the door. We did finally find someone who could do it for that budget, and it was fine.

    For the most part, expectations for weddings are way too high. I’m happy we did the things we did, because our guests had a good time, but I would not have wanted to do more. I’m still waiting to get the video back because I have only vague impressions of that day.

  7. MercuryPDX says:

    @Namilia: My guess is that they are suing for the ENTIRE cost of the wedding, since the ENTIRE wedding was ruined by cheap flowers. [insert eyeroll here]

    In the very odd event that they are victorious, the Judge Judy School of Lawâ„¢ would say they can only recover what they were actually damaged… so they can be made whole. At most they’ll get $30K, but it will probably be much less considering that they got something, with zero awarded for any kind of “emotional distress”.

    Considering how big this story has grown (Reuters? Really?) the florist would probably make beau coup bucks on his counterclaim. If possible, the couple should also be fined for wasting the court’s time with this BS.

  8. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    conclusion: the entire wedding chapel and reception hall were hand crafted from flowers.

    but otherwise…30k in flowers. wtf?

  9. dcaslin says:

    While this whole thing sounds ridiculous, keep in mind that the crazy wedding markup on flowers is *specifically* because everyone is so crazy about mistakes in weddings. Florists charge extra because they know customers get super upset if everything isn’t perfect and they build in a premium to prepare for that issue. A florist should expect that anyone crazy enough to spend $30k on flowers is also crazy enough to sue for hundreds of thousands if things don’t work out.

    My mother-in-law had a small, impromptu wedding and spend under $200 for the flowers, but had to spend about 15 minutes swearing up and down to the florist that she understood this was a last minute order and everything might not be exactly perfect.

  10. uricmu says:

    Reminds me of the BBC3 skit:
    [www.youtube.com]

  11. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Heh, I never told my florist I was having a wedding. That’s really the easiest way to save money (but I only wanted two dozen loose calla lilies anyway).

    That being said, I’m not going to jump on the “omg how did they spend so much MONEY??” train that always shows up in wedding discussions. It doesn’t matter whether or not I would spend my money in that way; what matters is whether or not they got what they paid for.

  12. timmus says:

    $30K for flowers for a wedding? I think my sympathy and interest just trotted off somewhere else.

  13. aka Cat says:

    @timmus: My sympathy jumped ship, but I’d love to see a couple pictures of that 400k wedding. Just for the o_O factor.

  14. crackblind says:

    This story has already been making the rounds in NY (where, while still crazy, it is not uncommon to spend that amount on a wedding). There was no contract because the florist had worked on a sibling’s wedding and they had been more than rational so they trusted them.

    The bride(zilla) is known as a lunatic and a litigator and the florist warned her that the flowers may not be exactly per her request due to this little thing called nature.

    On top of all this, the mother in law paid for it, not the bride, yet the bride is the one suing.

  15. Chairman-Meow says:

    Wanna bet that by the time the lawayers all settle out this nonsense the legal fees alone with be over 30k ?

    Some people just want to be right – all the time. Some use lawyers to do it unfortunately with predictable consequences.

  16. There was no contract because the florist had worked on a sibling’s wedding and they had been more than rational so they trusted them.crackblind

    Of all the stupid reasons NOT to get a contract…honestly, have they never met anyone with a crazy sibling?

    …the florist warned her that the flowers may not be exactly per her request due to this little thing called nature.

    Does the florist have proof of that?

    On top of all this, the mother in law paid for it, not the bride…

    Where are the “I’m not your lawyer” lawyers? Is this lady out of luck before she even gets started?

    @timmus: The amount of money spent makes me more sympathetic towards the bride than the florist. Nobody spends $30K on flowers because they wanted something that was maybe, kind of, almost close to what they were asking for.

  17. satoru says:

    @FDCPAGuy: Don’t think you can spend 30k on flowers? Think again! I’m getting married next year and when you go through those damn wedding magazines your brain will short circuit. Just consider centerpieces for your wedding. We assume that you’re stinking rich so you’re probably in the 30+ table range. Even CRAPPY centerpieces will run $70-$100. Something grand like a 5ft tall can easily run you into the $500 range. So now you’re already at $15k. Oh yeah and you haven’t decorated the head table, the cake table, the reception hall, or the wedding hall yet!

    Let’s not forget the $30k food and beverage minimum you’re already shelling out for at that fancy hotel. And the $10k you’ll need for a photographer and videographer.

    Weddings are one of the hardest things to control costs on unless you’ve really got a death grip on what money goes where :P

  18. satoru says:

    [www.youtube.com]

    This video very accurately describes the wedding florist industry, as well as the sheer irrationality of brides simultaneously.

  19. ElizabethD says:

    “Rust, fuschia, and dark green” ??? Ummm, ew.

    Maybe the florist did them a favor.

  20. synergy says:

    @satoru: crazy females give the rest of us a bad name. She should’ve paid for them if she wanted them that bad.

  21. phrygian says:

    Hydrangeas are fickle flowers. It’s completely understandable that the “rust” hydrangeas might have been pink. The color hydrangeas the bride wanted are only available at a certain time of year (autumn). Before their full color comes in, the flowers probably are light pink and green. The photo of the centerpiece that I saw showed extremely pale flowers — almost cream colored in the light — they were not detractions from the rest of the decor. I read that the bride claims that some of the flowers were already brown/dead, but considering how bridezilla the whole suit seems, I have to wonder how much she’s exaggerating. After all, if the flowers ruin your wedding, you’re doing something wrong.

  22. hexychick says:

    Amazing. You can sue for 400K over flowers in New York, but in the state of Maryland, there’s a cap on malpractice suits and you can only sue for up to 800K for emotional distress in a wrongful death case. Hmm… flowers ruining a wedding versus a cut and dry smoking gun case of doctors killing my family member. Clearly the flowers are worth more. Way to go justice system!

  23. jacknval says:

    @FDCPAGuy, UMM Where the heck do you live? I live in Chicago and did all the reception tables, plus the church and bridal party flowers from an Evanston florist for $900. My bridal party had rose bouquets and boutenierres and the tables were a mix of those and other flowers. I think people go overboard and make spending mistakes when it comes to weddings. If you have the money, then you spend the money. But it is entirely possible to spend within your means and still have a beautiful wedding.

  24. flowergirl says:

    ok i work in a flowershop! i do wedding flowers for people like this
    (i’m in a trendy san francisco neighborhood) all the damn time. one
    thing i’d like to say: for all of you who say “it’s way too much $ they
    got ripped off by the florist” etc- do you have any idea how much WORK
    it is to pull of something like this? i’m talking physical gruelling
    dirty fingers pierced with thorns strained muscles 24 hours straight
    with little food and no sleep kinda work. especially working for a
    bridezilla who will have your head if any little detail is out of
    place. flowers are perishable. you cannot do any of this work ahead of
    time. it must all be done the day of the event which can also- for a
    wedding this of this size & extravagance- require a huge crew of
    people working the flowers. this intensity of labor is what makes it so
    expensive. also the fact that most of these flowers have been flown in
    from ecuador, new zealand, holland, and california- jet fuel is not
    cheap these days.
    that said, any reputable florist should be happy to learn your personal
    budget restrictions and work with you to come up with something you
    love. however you have to have reasonable expectations to go with your
    $500 budget.
    also, this woman is full of s**t. flowers are flowers. they grow. no
    one has any control(well, god, i suppose, if you think he cares) over
    them, when they bloom, what color they come up. if there is a big
    snowstorm or rainstorm or a cold snap or a hot snap whole fields of
    flowers die and – whooops. did you want dead flowers, no flowers, or
    for us to make a reasonable substitution with the most appropriate 2nd
    choice we can find the day of your wedding? it’s standard busines in
    the floral world. the florist should have insisted on a contract- she
    would have had to sign off on the substitutions.

  25. flowergirl says:

    also: the summary above says the florist substituted “cheaper”
    flowers. my understanding reading about this days ago was that the
    flowers were the same but in a different color. ?

  26. UpsetPanda says:

    I just signed a contract with the florist and when I first walked in, she asked me what my budget was, and I said $600. Giving her one flat price, she and I talked it over, looked through books and she quoted me $511 or so. The other day, I go back and I have to change a few flowers around. Price difference? Nada. She kept the price even though I was picking slightly pricier flowers. Just to show that good business practice goes a long way.

  27. UpsetPanda says:

    I wanted to mention too, that I’m not using terribly cheap flowers…though from a floral standpoint, they might be, but it isn’t like everything is a carnation, I’ve got roses, hydrangeas, lillies, orchids, daisies and delphiniums.

  28. almondwine says:

    If this doesn’t warrant a “Bad Consumer!” tag, I don’t know what does.

  29. erica.blog says:

    @kamikasee: hear hear. More couples should concentrate on making the event enjoyable for themselves and the attendees! We spent $5,000 total ($400 on flowers) for 150 guests and it was a great day. My cousin spent about $50,000 and it was insanely tacky and uptight and all our relatives spent the reception telling me and my husband how much more fun they had at OUR wedding… :D

    On topic — I can see being pissed off if the colors weren’t what I expected. I can see demanding a discount for not delivering what was promised. Suing for 0.4 million, though…