We recently worked with Elizabeth Partyka who claims that she is the owner of Avant Décor out of Minneapolis, MN – it was one of the most awful and unprofessional experiences we’ve ever had with a vendor, especially towards the end where she bailed out on our event in very bad terms. I STRONGLY advise that everyone steer clear from this woman/company, especially BRIDES, she will not hesitate to screw you over and ruin your special day. When we started to plan my parent’s retirement party a year ago we did very thorough research on all of our potential vendors and the only reason why we went with Elizabeth/Avant Decor was because our first choice was booked. We were ultimately mislead into booking with her. We specifically chose her versus another runner up because she openly said she was able to provide the services and replicate the “design(s)” we wanted, I’ll even include proof
No where in her email did she ever question the style I sent her, nor did she mention that she doesn’t do that style of draping nor did she bother to double check and see if the pictures were the exact thing we wanted. (I don’t know, usually when people give people a sample of something, it’s usually what they want unless otherwise stated!) She never took the time to talk about our vision, I initiated all the conversations and asked all the questions, so I was basically going to pay her for all the detail gathering, designing, problem solving, and follow-up that I did or had to do all by myself. And please remember that this was almost a whole year of planning, at least six months worth of communication with this woman (she didn’t even respond sometimes). I wish I can smother the internet with all of her emails so the world can see her incompetence and lack of attention to detail. I made attempts and repeated myself in emails over and over about design, location and placement.
The fact that she never initiated or seemed interested in doing any detailed consulting definitely concerned me. She claims that she offered to do phone consultations “if” that was something I’d like. Well is it something you like? Or that you even do? So yeah I’m not going to reach out to you to do a consultation when you act like you don’t want to communicate and when you act like you already have your ducks in a row à you already had my sample pictures, I already told you where things ought to be and what color, and most importantly your mentioning of working numerous times at our venue before. So – I trusted that piece of our event in her hands as I did any other piece to our other vendors who all followed through. All of our vendors called me with questions, concerns, and confirmations, she was the only one who did not. After all, I’m busy too, that’s why I’m hiring YOU.
Out of the blue, almost 2wks before our event, I get a final invoice from her and nothing more, puzzled, I asked her to basically recap what she was actually going to do (what we were going to get), thank god because she had the design completely wrong, she had no idea where the backdrop was supposed to go (when I told her numerous times it would go on the stage!), she still had no idea where to hang the chandelier (in the beginning I told her it would go in the center of the room like my pictures!) and now she finally tells me she doesn’t do flat horizontal ceiling drapes/swags and that even if she did, it would cost a lot more. On top of the fact that she finalized the schedule without my knowledge or input and was now installing the drapes on the Friday prior to our event, which states on her contract that if she sets up on the Friday prior to events, it’s an additional $200.00. Tell me what kind of company allows this kind of a miscommunication to occur 2 wks before an event?
So at this point I tell Elizabeth how unhappy I am about overlooking our entire vision. And then she starts to get defensive and snippy, instead of trying to resolve the conflict professionally. If you read the email, she gives me an attitude, and turns around to point the finger at me, the CLIENT. Again, reiterating that she didn’t pay attention to anything I’ve ever requested or wanted.
Is this how someone with years in the industry talks to a client? I’ll let the email speak for itself. She mocks “if the drapes were so important”, well of course it is, that’s your entire line of work, that’s what we hired you for, so indeed it WAS VERY IMPORTANT to us! Of course I could have dotted every I and crossed every T and laid the entire ground work for her from bottom up, but then why would I hire her if I was going to do everything myself! Her job is to take away the stress of CEILING DRAPING and to make sure she has all the correct details of her JOB. Correct me if I’m wrong!
She also makes a strong claim that it was my fault communication was missed, that she was always available and I once again, DID NOT DO MY PART TO INITIATE CONVERSATION. But take a look at her email about finalization. She always tried to push off any sort of communication and detail planning and if you’ve kept up, she is very SELECTIVE in how she wants to answer emails.
She was very offended that I called her unprofessional, and INDEED I did, I could have called her a lot worse for attempting to ruin my parents special day but I held my composure. I wanted to make her aware that her services were not meeting expectation and the level of professionalism that any business should have. So rather than stepping back and reevaluating the situation, she attacks me and then bails out on the entire event. Compassion? Morals? Once again, brides, steer clear! Had she once admitted to or apologize about over looking the details I would have looked passed it and proceeded with the relationship, but her first response was to point the finger at me in DEFENSE. It is evident that she bailed out so quickly because my emails were well kept and it clearly paints a picture of her quality of work, ethic and standard of conduct. If you check her website, it even states that she is an “event planner”, I don’t know how you can claim to plan events with such a lack of attention to detail and no compassion for CLIENTS.
So to anyone planning a special event, especially a wedding, please don’t let her reviews fool you for a minute. I’ve wondered about that and have been very confused. Which is why it always struck me as surprising the way she engaged with us, I kept waiting for that “above and beyond customer service” – never came. Few reviews that I read stated she was so detailed oriented and listened to the client’s vision so perfectly. Just as she was always selective in her emails and communication, she must also be selective with her clients and services? She claims to have NEVER had any problems or complaints before, but none of the vendors that I’ve ever worked with was this nonchalant about details, if anything, most people are ANAL about every little detail. When they were ready to send me an invoice they laid out everything to the T about what they were draping, where they’re draping, how much, how long, what colors, everything! All I got from her was a couple of subtotals and a total to be paid. That is the difference between 0 customer service and up to par customer service!
Elizabeth Partyka of Avant Décor may have left us high and dry and most definitely in distress and thought that she hit us where it hurt, but little does she know, happiness is not HER or her shady work, our party was beautiful, and moved on swiftly without her. Our local vendor squeezed us into her schedule and we even got the design we wanted! She was not going to ruin us or the amazing day that we so diligently put together for our wonderful parents. She must not know what it means to do something for someone out of your own good heart as we’ve done for our parents and them us, that’s why our work went to waste and she threw us under the bus without hesitation. She doesn’t care about how her actions impact others especially in her line of work. It is an embarrassment that she so confidently expressed that she is the OWNER of Avant Decor. A receptionist with a bad attitude I probably wouldn’t think much of, at least you can hope that there’s still room for improvement and growth, but the owner? If the owner acts in such a disgusting manner, who would have any faith in the rest of the team, I feel bad for them. So thanks for not continuing to subject US to you. Most owners I know of try to make things RIGHT. They problem solve and commit to their clients and customers, but she may not be in it for the customer service, clearly. Elizabeth, I hope you know that even millionaires go broke and rivers run dry. your “many” years of experience and “thousands” of events mean nothing to me with your heart of coal and less than acceptable way of engaging with clients. There is something called KARMA. Perhaps this will be a constant reminder for you to stay afloat and up your customer service. Neither our family, or friends, or even our large community will ever be taking a second look at your company for services in the future.