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Beginner June 2024 Devon

Garden Weddings/ Totem Tipis - North Yorkshire

Melanie, 7 of July of 2024 at 17:22 Posted on Just Married 0


I got married on the 15th of June and used Totem Tipi bought out by Garden Weddings (N.Yorkshire) and wanted to make you aware of my experience - hoping you don't go through the same.

With Garden Weddings I just feel that there's no attention to detail. It's a slapdash approach; it felt like we'd gotten some leftover furniture from the back of a dusty shed. I tried to rectify so much with you, but your communication was unprofessional, and I'm really disappointed.

I'll start by saying that our supplier of choice was Totem Tipi; however, this company was bought by Garden Weddings around six weeks before our wedding. I had this planned a good year in advance, and I needed to spend a lot of time communicating with both the old supplier and Garden Weddings (who now own Totem Tipi). You'd think that this process would be simple, but it was far from that. Even though both were on the phone call at the same time, the quotation came through at least three times incorrectly—from an email where I had bullet-pointed everything. I can't tell you exactly how many emails were exchanged, but it was a huge amount, with many repeating myself. I think they need a simple checklist or something!

The brochure which was on the previous Totem Tipi website (which I screenshotted and saved) didn't match the quotation when we got it through. They tried to change a Chesterfield sofa and chair to a sofa, the cake stand to a barrel, 14 tables to 4, and the size of the catering tent which had already been agreed upon with the supplier about ten months before. The "floral hoop" had no flowers (so just a frame then, maybe call it a frame?), and the peacock chairs didn't fit under the table and weren't the ones from the images on the website. Also, the pricing throughout the brochure online was subject to added VAT—which wasn't communicated until the quote came through—a very weird American way of pricing something.

The attitude and the exact sentence I got from Bronte was, "Please excuse me being very to-the-point with my next line, but I think I need to make it clear: without Garden Weddings taking on Totem Tipi's brand & bookings, there would be no Totem Tipi anymore, and therefore the booked events would not be going ahead." I couldn't have been clearer in my communications, and when you've repeatedly tried to explain the differences via phone and email but you're getting nowhere fast, trust me, it's frustrating.

So now I'll get to our setup day of Thursday, 13th of June. We'd agreed to meet them at 8:30 AM, and they were there. I noticed they'd got an old marquee plan/drawing with them, with the wrong festoon lighting setup and the wrong number of tables, parts of the dance floor missing, and no cake barrel. When they'd gone back to the store for these bits, we moved around the setup slightly of the tables and noticed how disgusting the tables were. They hadn't been cleaned from the previous wedding, and they were covered in sauce and dirt (like a pub at close!). As you can imagine, this isn't great when you're in the middle of a field with no running water or bleach, meaning I couldn't set up the tipi for the wedding on Thursday evening. There was no communication as to when they'd be back with the missing items. They came back around 7 PM (we'd been there since 8:30 AM), and then I mentioned that things weren't clean. The member of staff said that they'd got loads of summer staff who didn't care too much for their summer jobs and also that the cleaning staff wasn't put in the van and should have been. I was close to tears, as you can imagine, spending almost £5k, and you want everything perfect. Also, the cake barrel he presented me with was a joke. It was just a lid covered in cobwebs and dirt—to sit on top of the barrel, not the same one at all from the Totem Tipi website, which spun around and was attached. So I cleaned that too.

The tipi didn't close. Having viewed this tipi previously (because when we were looking for a supplier, we did go to Garden Weddings before Totem Tipi), the tipi is open when you go in it, so I thought I'd just put the sides down and it would close. No, it doesn't close fully at all. So I said to the man who returned with the missing tables, "Why doesn't it close?" He said, "If you ordered directly through Garden Weddings, they all come with a door, and it then would have stayed dry inside." Oh, silly me (as it is raining, I can't put any vases out due to wind, and I assumed it closed—nothing was ever said to me!). The other thing is, we paid £25 each for these 'peacock chairs'. They didn't fit under the tables at all. They had stupid high backs and, again, were nothing like the ones advertised in the Totem Tipi brochure. We couldn't use them for the top table as intended at all—the arms didn't fit under the table!

On Friday, another chair and sofa arrived from a supplier on behalf of Garden Weddings. I had no idea he was coming, and he had no idea I didn't know he was coming. Again, a quick call maybe?

Due to not being able to decorate the tables on Thursday because they were dirty, I messaged Bronte at Garden Weddings about the tables and lack of door. She texted my partner to say someone was coming to clean first thing Friday—which they must have done and gone by 8:30 AM because we were there then. The problem being on Friday, I had a 1-hour walk-around meeting, a 1.5-hour cake collection, a 1.5-hour flower collection, napkin details/table setup, floral hoop creation (or floral frame!), and my legal ceremony at 4:30 PM. So I actually finished on Friday at 10:30 PM and left the site for my wedding the following day.

So big thanks—writing here due to lack of response from them. I really hope this helps other couples because I couldn't be angrier with my service from them.

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