Common Mistakes: My 10 All Time Worst Mistakes


I have often been asked what my worst mistakes are. Being in the industry for over 30 years, I could write a book called Preston’s Screw Ups.

However, in the hope that you do not make the same mistakes, here are my 10 all time worst mistakes going from bad to worse.

10. I think all florists can relate to this one. 10 years ago I purchased 500 hundred stems of white hydrangea, put them in water tubes, only to arrive at the event and find out they were all dead.

Lesson learned: One needs to properly cut and constantly spray to keep hydrangeas alive.

9. I had to set up an event in New York at a Fifth Ave. venue but didn’t know there was a parade that day and the area was completely blocked off. So, we arrived at the setup three hours after the wedding was supposed to start.

Lesson learned: Make sure you check for parades or any kind of blockage near your venues.

8. I promised a client she’d get 1200 peonies delivered from Holland, however when they arrived at the airport they were destroyed because of agricultural concerns (bugs were found on the flowers, so they needed to be destroyed).

Lesson learned: Some things are beyond our control.

7. Creating an over sized puddle of fabric with your tablecloths is not always a good idea. One of my client’s guest’s feet became tangled and she fell.

Lesson learned: Even if our clients like that generous look of any fabric, do not do it. It could be dangerous.

6. While installing a job, a hanging chandelier fell and injured one of my assistants.

Lesson learned: Make sure you have workman’s compensation and good insurance at all times.

Sometimes live fish don’t stay alive for long. (Image via Au tum n).

5. When I first started, I thought It was the coolest thing to use live fish in round bowls for centerpieces. However, two hours after the event began some of the fish started to die and float in the water.

Lesson learned: If you want to use live fish at any event, make sure they are in a proper fish tank. Or maybe, just don’t.

4. 12 years ago, I was a guest at one of my events, and I actually witnessed one of my tall arrangements falling on one of the guest’s heads. They needed to take her to the hospital. (I still have nightmares about this one.)

Lesson learned: Make sure all of the tall, gravity-defying centerpieces you created are properly screwed to the tables. And of course, make sure you always have great insurance.

In next week’s Common Mistakes, I’ll list the top three all time horrendous mistakes I have ever made. You are not even going to believe number one.

As I have read many times, making mistakes is one of the surest ways to become an expert. So, please share with us any of your mistakes.