This weekend the bride only had one very specific request, she would like cream roses, preferably scented and full faced. I knew I wouldn't have any now, and the garden I can usually get good roses from didn't have any either so I said that I would order from the UK's main cut rose supplier for her. So I ordered her roses from David Austen. These arrived in good time and good condition and the roses were very beautiful. But they were completely the wrong roses.
I had a few moments of utter panic thinking that perhaps I had been on some other planet when I had ordered and had actually ordered the bright orangey-peach coloured blooms that arrived. Fortunately I had ordered the right roses. And had put very specific instructions on the order that only buttermilk roses might be an appropriate substitution if my choice of roses was for some reason unavailable, and that the company must contact me if there was any problem and if they needed to substitute. When I called them to question why I had the wrong roses and see if they could ship me the correct ones immediately they said they had sent me the orangey ones because they didn't have any cream, so they could not rectify the situation as they couldn't send me any appropriate roses.
So I had to spend the whole of Friday morning, when we should have been preparing other things for the wedding, trying to track down cream roses and eventually Meg had to go off for several hours to every garden we could think of to see if we could possibly pick any potential bouquet roses. We did find a few, incredibly beautiful - thanks very much to great gardeners in Dilwyn who offered what they could - cream blooms and cream with a hint of gold but they were more fragile than those I would normally have wished to use. The bouquet looked exquisite but I was very worried how it would stand up to the day. Fingers crossed all was well, no doubt I will hear. (And no doubt a proper photo will appear in due course!)
Now I know none of us always get everything right all the time, and a couple of weeks ago I had to send off bridal bouquet and buttonholes, wrist corsages and table flowers after weeks of incessant rain, so I was concerned about the travelling and keeping qualities. A couple of things didn't survive as they should but I had sent plenty of spares and felt I had to offer a substantial discount even though the job had taken longer than usual because of the weather. It was not ideal but I did communicate with the recipient.
I was surprised that a large and reputable company such as David Austin should fail to check before making an uncalled for substitution. It was probably just a silly error in one of their departments failing to pass on the right information, but think how disappointing it would be for a bride to order a bouquet direct from them to arrive on the morning of her wedding only to open it up and discover it was entirely the wrong colour?