“20 Questions, Or The Questions You’ll Probably Want to Ask Me”
1) How does it all work?
Great question! It usually starts with you reaching out to me to discuss your wedding/event. And then we just talk. You can either come into my office and showroom in Petoskey or we can do a ZOOM video chat so that we can discuss your wants, needs, vibe/feel, style, any questions, etc. We work with a lot of destination couples, so the video chat (that works with both iPhone and Android) allows you to see what we have “in-person”. We can also “chat” via email or even text. Whatever method you find most comfortable. Once we have some details, I will send you a written proposal. Once that proposal is agreed upon, we move to the signing of the preliminary quote, and the legal documents (excessive damage, decor/consultation booking agreement, etc.). Due to the nature of the décor biz, we may have up to three revisions and no changes are ever done without communication between the two of you and me. Once I have your signed documents and the booking fee of 25-50% (depending on if rentals are in stock or if they have to be purchased) of the projected total, you are considered in “reserved” status. The final balance is due in two payments: one at the six-month mark and the final due ONE MONTH prior to your event. Drapery and lighting require 50% down.
2) How does your rental period work?
Our rental period runs from Friday until Sunday (and in some cases, Monday). A lot of this does depend on the policies of your venue. If my team can get in Friday to set up and Sunday to tear down, that’s what we will do. The ideal situation is to get in to set up the day before and tear down the day after. If you are picking up rental items, they are to be picked up on Thursday between 1pm and 4pm and returned Monday between 1pm and 5pm at the Heart office. Failure to be on time will result in late charges. There is a charge of 5% of the rental order for pick up/drop off services.
3) Are you licensed and insured? Yes. To both.
4) Why aren’t your booking fee and installments refundable?
The nature of this business is quite a bit different than choosing a wedding day photographer, for example. You typically choose that professional and then probably don’t meet them again until wedding day. Here at Heart, we know that several meetings will most likely be necessary. Something new might catch your eye and will need to be added to your initial proposal or you may change your style completely! A LOT of work goes into décor and design and it can be ever-evolving. Again, as with most of what I do, things are negotiable. One caveat: NO REFUNDS will be given within 60 days of the Big Day, unless I am able to rent those exact items out within that timeframe. In the event of a wedding cancellation, I will be more than happy to honor those payments if and when the date is rescheduled in most cases.
5) What is the minimum order?
Minimum orders are typically based on a couple of things: whether items are picked up or delivered, distance to venue/site and whether we have an event at that same location with our other services. For example, Heart is ten minutes from the Perry Hotel in Petoskey. The minimum order for the Perry ($500) will most likely be less than that for an event over 45, 60 or 90 minutes away from our office ($750/$1000/$1250).
6) Can I pick up my stuff or do you require everything to be delivered?
Small stuff like linens, non-delicate candle holders and other such items can be picked up, but the pick-up and return will be on a rather strict timetable. Of course, larger items have to be delivered by us. No one wants to be responsible for damage to these one-of-a-kind pieces! There is a 5% fee to use this service.
7) How do you calculate delivery fees?
Delivery fees are charged based on a number of factors: weight/size of items rented, distance to venue or location, whether we have other weddings at that same location, etc. Delivery to venues less than 45 miles from our showroom in Petoskey will be 20% of the total order (including a handling charge of $25 per person for heavier items). Venues 46-60 miles will be 30% (plus the $25 charge) and venues 61-90 miles are 40%. We don’t typically travel farther than 90 miles (unless our entertainment package has also been booked). All of the charges will be clearly spelled out in the initial proposal.
8) Can changes be made to my reserved items?
The short answer: yes. One of the fun parts to this (and yet, one of the harder parts of the job), is that tastes evolve over time. Or you might see a design or item you like more than what you have originally reserved. Minds do change. Each situation will be judged on a case-by-case basis. For example, you decide you want to rent our brushed gold lanterns instead of the metal and wood ones. Since they rent for the same amount, and if the other item is in stock, it is no problem to do an even exchange. Where this gets more difficult is deciding to cancel a $700 cool mod lounge rental and opting for a crate display instead. There is quite a bit of difference in price for these two scenarios. While it’s difficult to say “yes, you can pick the cheaper option”, I most likely will agree to do it. If I had the lounge held for you, added set-up people to the schedule, and since it was held, I couldn’t rent it to someone else who had wanted it for their event; I would be less willing to negotiate a change. Note: at NO point can reductions be made that are more than a 20% price difference. Increases can be made, based on availability.
9) How do I make an appointment to visit the showroom?
You can text, call, message, or even send smoke signals; whatever works the best for the two of you. I will be more than happy to work with your schedules.
10) What is your policy for procuring items that are not in stock?
Again, this is one of those things judged on a case-by-case basis. If you want an item that I am unlikely to rent out again, we’ll have to chat about pricing. However, for most items, the rental cost is usually three-quarters of the price of the new item. And I am a serious haggler when it comes to the purchase of my goods. If I get a good deal on something, know that the savings are passed on to you. The most important thing to know about our buying something that is not currently in stock is that I do typically require a signed booking agreement and the booking fee must be paid. In other words, you need to be an official client of Heart.
11) How do I reserve the items I want? Do you take payments?
Easy. Our booking fee is typically 50% the estimated total. Drapery and café lighting always require half down. And yes, if you want to make payments in smaller increments, it is no problem, as long as everything is paid on time and fully paid for at the one month mark. We do charge late fees ($50) for ANY late payments unless you have made other arrangements with me. And don’t worry; I know you have a LOT on your plates. I send out reminders via email when payments are due so that you have plenty of time to pay your balances.
12) Can we use your furniture rentals and other items outdoors?
Absolutely. However, I do ask that if the weather is “iffy”, that they either be covered EXTREMELY well, or they get brought under your tent or inside. I do have an excessive damages contract portion that covers this. If the items are wet or different (dirty, etc.) than the way they left the showroom, there are charges involved as this is considered negligence and would not be covered under the "Picture Perfect" fee.
13) What are these “design services” you speak of?
Design services can mean anything from installing drape to complete design such as ceremony, centerpieces, tablescapes, signage, lighting, and décor for any other tables, such as the head, gift and dessert tables. We may have several consultations to decide exactly what you want and/or need for your ceremony and reception. We will work with your florist and venue coordinator to ensure everything is as you dreamt it to be. Got a Pinterest page? I welcome them! Many designers complain about the “Age of Pinterest”, but I find it a great tool, especially if you “know” how you want everything to look, but have no idea how to go about it. That’s where we come in! And no service is too small, as long as the minimum order is met. Note: We have a $35+ fee to set up rentals or pieces that are not supplied by Heart. The charge for this will depend on the complexity of the work. Subsequent consultations beyond the first FREE one are billed at $50-$100/hour (this also includes venue visits).
17) What if I don’t see “it”?
One of the most exciting, and rewarding, parts of what we do is hiring local craftspeople and artists for the specialty builds. For example, my wooden crates, the donut wall, the arches/arbors, farm tables, and a few other items are built by a gentleman in East Jordan. My wine boxes are handmade by a couple in South Boardman. Our personalized signs are created in-house. I do my very best to hire local people for many of the items that we offer. With that being said, if you want a special item that you want handmade, I’ll need to know that well in advance so we can get the plans to the artist in plenty of time for completion, and any revisions that might be necessary. The payment for these is highly dependent on what I am charged by these people and I do tend to ask for a higher down payment. The most important thing to know about our buying something that is not currently in stock is that I do typically require a signed booking agreement and the booking fee must be paid. You need to be an official client of Heart.
18) What is the "Picture Perfect" fee?
This fee is insurance against accidents. It would cover a glass of wine getting tipped over onto a table line, for example. It is charged on ALL rental quotes. It does NOT cover negligence, such as leaving furniture out in the rain.
19) How much? Because a decor quote is so personalized, I cannot give an exact price until I have all the details. Decor rentals typically start at around $750 and the average spend is $2250.
20) Do you serve the LGBTQIA community? Absolutely.