Special Events
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1701 Pleasant View Dr
Des Moines IA 50315
United States

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We are a full service wedding planning, floral and decorating company that specializes in YOUR wedding. Our goal is perfection. Your wedding day is one day--why not make it as perfect as possible?

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Wedding on 2013-06-01

Executed Your Dream Wedding

Proposal Sounded Too Good To Be True

How did wedding planner make your day special?

Weddings in Iowa also known as: Special Events LLC/cynwhd b. designs/UBetts Rental & Design

What was proposed in contract:

Event Ideas

Theme & Design Development

Budget Development & Management

Contract Negotiations (this did not happen)

Room arrangement & floor plan of your reception/ceremony

Month to month detailed online checklist

Unlimited contacting of vendors/meeting assistance ( We ended up contacting most vendors ourselves and arranged meetings in order to get this accomplished in a timely manner)

Wedding etiquette advice

Unlimited consultations and meetings throughout the planning process

unlimited phone/email help throughout planning process (only email used)

Final confirmation with vendors week of wedding and arrival confirmation

Assist with Rehearsal dinner plans

Rehearsal attendance and direction

oversee head table staff direction

Unlimited help the day of your wedding from up to 2 hours before ceremony up to the first dance (Wedding planner was decorating the venue on Saturday and was not available to the bride or wedding party.
Wedding planner appeared to be visibly tired, irritated and agitated on day of wedding. She did not want to be interrupted during the decorating process, even by the individuals paying for her services. This is a definite red flag. Refer to Most Important Recommendation at bottom of page.

Day of wedding help to include all of the following:

Detailed instructions for Bridal Party to make sure that Processional runs smoothly and on time. (Just as the parents were getting ready to walk down the aisle, wedding planner realized that the grandparents were standing there and should be walking down the aisle ahead of the parents.

Instructions for Ushers, guest book and gift attendants, host hostess (no direction was given to host/hostess)

Detailed itineraries for day of wedding will be emailed to your photographer, musicians, videographer, caterer, reception venue coordinator, and any other vendors that need a timeline of the day.

We also bring extra printed timelines... (This did NOT happen and was something that was very much needed. The wedding party did not have any itinerary the entire weekend. We were left with obtaining information by word of mouth. It was very confusing.

Distribution of gifts, flowers, or gratuities if needed

Directing of ceremony and reception vendors and general oversee of all wedding day activities
wedding day emergency kit -

Order of service help - we will help you decide who walks in with whom and when (refer to above)

Wedding Day Timeline - one of the greatest wedding day stress relievers we have found (NOT provided and was much needed)

Oversee of Gifts and Gift attendants during ceremony and reception ( The original proposal had the gift table placed inside the ballroom. The wedding planner placed the gift table outside of the reception area. A family member watched the gift table, but missed parts of the wedding/reception. For safety reasons and the ease of watching the gift table, it should have been placed inside the reception area.

Useful suggestions, tips, wisdom your planner offered?


Beautiful flowers
Wedding planner answered all emails and traveled to meetings when asked.
Wedding etiquette advice

Cons: What we got vs. what was promised:

Rehearsal Dinner:

Contract stated that there would be 12-14 vintage platters, stands, plates, chalkboard flavor signs and accessories to create sweets bar at Rehearsal Dinner. We ended up using platters I brought with me. There were not enough platters/plates to put all of the desserts on, and so we had to borrow casino platters to fill the rest of the table.
There were no vintage platters, stands, plates or chalkboard flavor signs provided as promised.

When we arrived at the casino at 2:00 p.m. (dinner was at 5:00 p.m.) the wedding planner was still putting together centerpieces. Since no florals were involved, the centerpieces could have easily been completed well before the day of the rehearsal dinner. The planner appeared to be in a state of disorganization.


No identiication signs for food at rehearsal dinner

We had asked for 3 baskets to be included at the bowling lounge to hold ladies/men's/children's bowling socks. We ended up with one wire basket to hold all of the socks, so they were not separated.
The children's, womens, and men's signage was lying in front of the basket. They were postcards that had two holes punched in the top of each card. It appeared that the postcards were intended to be attached to a container, but that apparently never happened.

The socks still had the plastic attached to them so that guests were not able to pull individual socks apart and use them.


The string quartet had already set up in the ceremony room when I asked the planner what they would be playing. She did not know since she had yet spoken with them. Since music is a critical part of the ceremony, I believe that this should have been addressed. Fortunately, the quartet was top notch and we didn’t have any issues.

Ceremony decor:

"12 large vintage crystal bowls filled with lush, overflowing florals will march down the aisle on vintage stands,
adding height and creating a gorgeous "garden feel" to the room. We will relocate these bowls to grace guest tables at the reception during social hour. - No crystal bowls or vintage stands were provided for ceremony decor

"We will fill the vintage white mantle opening with vintage frames and 4 lush and overflowing bouquets of flowers in vases wrapped with golf vintage fabric, placing them on various vintage pedestals that can sit on the floor, creating a beautiful tableau". - Not provided

The flowers were beautiful, but from the very beginning my daughter said she did not want roses. The venue was filled with roses mixed into bouquets. The wedding planner is also a florist and tends to use the same types of flowers over and over.

"We will bring large gold vintage frame for picture raking to use as you like" Not provided

I asked consistently to have a wedding program (nicely made fans on sticks) put on each seat at the wedding. The planner refused to do this, saying she would put one on every other seat. I asked her to please set out a basket with extra programs for people to take if they wanted one.

The groomsmen, grandparents and parents were to receive bouts and corsages. The planner said she could make a cute, vintage corsage out of burlap and buttons. When she sent photos of the corsages I knew we were in trouble. The green floral wire was glaring and stark. I asked that it be covered in twine, at least. I also asked that a flower be added to soften it up. No flower was added. Only baby’s breath. I asked if we could please have a simple fresh daisy bout or corsage instead… and was ignored. We could have hired another florist to do this, but it was 3 days before the wedding. We ended up wearing the vintage button corsages. A fresh daisy was our preference.

Social Hour Decor

"We will provide 10 pint size blue mason jars filled with florals in a wildflower type bouquet. Jars will be wrapped with burlap and twine. - No blue mason jars were provided

"We will bring dinner chimes signalling guests when it will be time to find their seats in the reception room"
This was not done.

The banquet tables provided by the hotel had skirting that was extremely wrinkled. I pointed this out to the wedding planner ans she said, 'The tables are not ours.".... I would hope that any wedding planner would represent their client to the best of their ability and seek out the hotel management in order to get the linens steamed, or do it yourself. Instead, a family member had to track down the hotel staff and get this taken care of.

The one item I was adamant about not using were cocktail tables with a ribbon tied around the middle. When I took the final walk-through, all of the cocktail tables in the atrium were covered in tablecloths with ribbons tied around the middle. At that point, there was little I could do.

Family Photo Display

We were looking forward to incorporating old family photos into the wedding decor. We framed approximately 50 wedding photos that guests sent to us as well as old family photos. We wanted them scattered among the atrium where the social hour was held, the reception area, as well as the ceremony area. What we got was one banquet table and half of the gift table for these photos. They were crammed together and not easily visible. Very disappointing display for something that took so much time to put together.

Guest Tables:

"Gold & Burlap table runners"... No burlap runners provided on any tables

"Escort Card Board will be a three arch chalkboard, art & vintage accessories to create an adorable display"
The escort card board was placed on the floor. People had to bend over to read it. There were no art or vintage accessories or display provided

Tables were filled with battery operated pillar candles. Many of the candles were not working and the planner was going to open the ballroom anyway until the reception asked that the candle batteries be changed before opening the ballroom up to guests.


There was a fatal error in the place settings matching up with the seating chart/escort card board. Several guests were left without seats and had to relocate to other tables. Extra place settings had to be brought out. The chargers that the planner provided were so large that it likely limited the number of place settings provided at each table.

The table settings did not match up to the revised seating chart. The revised seating chart was emailed to the planner on 5/26 and she confirmed that she received it. The tables were not set up to reflect the updated seating chart. The planner should have checked and double checked this critical part of the reception. This was her error and not the error of the hotel staff.

At one point, the groom's parents were without seats.
Two guests of the bride were unhappily forced to sit at a banquet table with people they did not know. Two other guests opted to remove the large chargers and add two chairs in order to accommodate themselves at the table they wanted to sit at. This was NOT a good experience, to say the least.

Sweet Heart Table Decor

"We will use small family mementos here and there to add a vintage flair to this special table"
No family mementos displayed here


No signage for food as promised.


Our cupcake vendor failed to deliver the cutting cake, but the wedding planner failed to advise us of this earlier in the day. If we had known that the cutting cake was forgotten, we would have contacted the vendor and had them deliver one.
The planner displayed cupcakes on a vintage cupboard prior to the beginning of the reception. Guests proceeded to eat cupcakes after dinner because they did not see a wedding cake. The wedding planner was reprimanding guests who attempted to eat cupcakes prior to when the bride and groom shared one.

Sweets Bar/Lounge/Photo Booth

"We will supply a vintage buffet for your Photo Booth along with fun props for guests to use.
No props provided.

"Guest Lounge was to include family photos... It did not.

I had a large amount of candy that was to be set out for a sweets bar. I had asked the wedding planner to set out ALL of the candy at the beginning of the night. When she completed the setup, I asked her if all of the candy was displayed (I could tell it was not) and she replied, “I have a little bit left.” I told her to display it all and the staff brought out two huge tubs from the kitchen filled with candy. Frustrating!

Party Favors

I had several dozen customized decks of playing cards left over from the rehearsal dinner that I asked the wedding planner to put in a basket and set out at the reception. I went to the extent of writing this down in a note that was hand delivered to her on the day of the wedding. This still did not get done.

How the planner reduced your inner-Bridezilla?


The planning process seemed to be on track (or so we thought) until the weekend of the actual event.
Much time was spent on the proposal with beautifully detailed descriptions of what to expect.

As the weekend unfolded, it became clear that things were not coming together as promised in the proposal. It also became apparent that the wedding planner's cheery personality was unraveling before our eyes.

Perhaps bringing in a staff of more than two or three (what appeared to be family members) would have helped ease the workload and stress.

We had several guests point out to us that the wedding planner was rude to them. Whether the irritability was caused from lack of sleep, and/or lack of organization and time management skills... the lack of professionalism was not acceptable.

It would have also been nice if the wedding planner and staff could have dressed appropriately for the occasion.

Would I recommend hiring a wedding planner? Yes, Would I hire this wedding planner? No

Value of a wedding planner?


Be absolutely sure to let the planner know early in the game that you will be assigning a friend or family member to be present at the venue(s) while they are setting up for the big day. They will bring the contract/proposal with them and will check off each detail as they are completed. If the wedding planner balks at this or hesitates in any way, this is NOT the wedding planner you want to use!

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