We are a couple who’ve been preparing for our church wedding for 6 years. We chose to be married at the Shrine of St. Therese in Villamor Air Base because it’s near the hospital where we did our medical internship (Air Force General Hospital). When we booked the Shrine, we were ready to comply with all their requirements.
A few months before our wedding, we found out that we have to order church flowers from Janea Flowers and Balloons, because they’re the in-house florist at the Shrine. Thinking that since they’re the Shrine’s in-house florists, we won’t encounter any problems with them.
On our first meeting with the owner, Joycee Yanson, she assured us that even though we got their lowest package for church flowers, they will deliver them on time, fresh and well-arranged. She even asked us if we have flowers for bridal and entourage bouquets already. But I said we’re still waiting for my gown to be finished. I wanted to see my gown first so that I know which flowers would look good with it.
We got Janea Flowers and Balloons’ standard set-up of…
16 hanging pew decor for the aisle with tulle
1 long and low arrangement for the altar
2 floral arrangements for the 2 candle stands (with candles according to a text message confirmed by Mrs. Yanzon)
2 floral arrangements for the podium
2 floral arrangements for the tabernacle
… using white calla lilies for Php8,000. We paid Mrs. Yanzon an initial down payment of Php2,000 to book them on Jan. 24.
A few weeks before the wedding, Mrs. Yanzon called me in my cellphone asking me to pay P3,000 to be deposited in her BPI account. To this I agreed even though it did not say in the contract that we have to pay them right away. I remember that she said we can pay the remaining balance on our wedding day right after we’ve seen the flowers they’d deliver.
However, instead of depositing P3,000 in her account, I paid her in person when we had our Pre-CANA seminar at the Shrine. She was there because they had a wedding that day. She issued me a receipt for that 2nd payment.
A few days before our wedding she kept on calling me again asking that we deposit our remaining balance in her account as soon as possible. Since I’m not really bothered because they’re the Shrine’s in-house florist, I deposited the remaining balance of P3,000 in her account. It was supposed to be the least of our concerns, we paid them in full before our wedding date. They’re the in-house florist of the Shrine after all.
Come wedding day (Jan.24), Ian, my groom came to the church a few minutes before me to find out that Janea did not deliver the flowers we ordered. There were altar flowers, but they are definitely not for us because what we ordered were white calla lilies. Those in the altar were an assortment of pink and white flowers that look like they’ve been there for a while. There were no aisle flowers, and the wedding was about to start! Our coordinator called Mrs. Yanzon asking why there were no flowers. Mrs. Yanzon then called Ian and told him that the flowers were on their way to the Shrine. She said she thought our wedding was Jan. 27 and not 24. Mrs. Yanzon told Ian over the phone, “Nakaligtaan namin na may wedding ngayon… Akala namin sa 27 pa… Tska nasa ospital ako ngayon.. Wag po kayo magalala, ibabalik ko po ang lahat ng binayad nyo sa akin..” This was about 15minutes before the start of our ceremony. Ian went to the Shrine’s secretary, Arleen, who was apologetic. Arleen said, “Sorry po, sir. Tinatawagan ko po siya (Mrs. Yanzon). Sabi nya hintayin po yung mga bulaklak. Darating po yon.” Then Ian said, “Kelan pa darating? Hanggang anong oras kami maghihintay? Kayo nga po nagsabi sa amin ng tungkol sa pagsunod sa oras.” But Arleen insisted that we wait for the flowers to arrive. The Shrine is strict about time. Weddings there should only be for 1 hour otherwise they’d turn-off the air-con and lights. And they did turn-off the electricity after exactly an hour since the ceremony started.
Finally Janea people arrived but only with aisle flowers. I was there in my bridal car already. Only the aisle flowers were calla lilies. The altar flowers and the candle stands’ arrangement were old, definitely not the white calla lilies we ordered and probably not for us. I would have bought candles to be lighted by the secondary sponsors, but since it’s part of Janea’s package, I didn’t do so. I should have bought candles because the ones Janea provided look like birthday candles or candles you’d light when there’s a brown-out.
I was a blissfully unaware bride when I finally walked down that long blue aisle. Ian spared me from knowing this unfortunate event otherwise I would’ve freaked out. Mrs. Yanzon even told Ian that the coordinators just contacted them on the day of the wedding and did not do so before. When Ian told me this, I couldn’t believe Mrs. Yanzon’s gall that she’d blame the coordinators for their incompetence. It’s not the coordinators’ responsibility to have to remind them of our wedding. What if we hadn’t gotten coordinators? Mrs. Yanzon texted Ian last week (Jan. 25) that she’ll just refund half our payment next week (Feb. 2). Her text to Ian read, “Good pm dnt wori I wl return back half of the total amount of the package. Pls gve me ur act. Number thanx”. We then texted her my account number.
Thinking that she will still return half of the amount of our package and giving her a chance because according to her she was hospitalized, we waited for her deposit in my account. But last February 4, I decided to check my account, I found out no deposit was made by Mrs. Yanzon. I texted her asking why she still hasn’t returned half of the amount of our package. She immediately called saying she was recuperating from an eye operation and would refund our money next week. If there’s one thing I hate more than people who take advantage of others, it’s people who malinger their way out of a tight situation. She bragged that they’ve been in the business for a long time. If that’s the case, they should have had back-up plans or crew who’d deliver flowers. The reason that she kept on reiterating was that she forgot our wedding date and thought our wedding was Jan 27. Even so, prior to our wedding she called me several times to get our remaining balance. We were fully paid before our wedding yet they forgot our wedding date. We couldn’t believe they’d forget a wedding just like that. We definitely got the brunt of Janea’s poor customer service, and we don’t want this to happen to other couples who like us just want to be married at the Shrine of St. Therese.
They’re very unprofessional! And to think we’re fully paid before our wedding date… Imagine if we’d gotten our bridal and entourage bouquets from them… Scary!