Wedding planning can be extremely stressful. The last thing you need is being a victim of Wedding rip-offs by a dishonest wedding planner or outside vendor. Here are some wedding planning tips to help.
Timing is everything!
Make all your bookings and wedding arrangements as far in advance as possible. Most wedding venues, catering vendors, and planners can be booked more than a year in advance. If possible, take advantage of this time line opportunity. When things don’t go just the way you planned, this will provide you with a “Plan B” option and also allow you tie time to implement your alternative arrangements. Also, be aware that last minute booking can cost you a bit more and staying on your wedding budget should be a priority.
Shop Around and Deal With Trustworthy People
It’s O.K. to call in all favors from your wonderful friends.
Before booking anything you should shop around and get an idea of current prices for each category of your wedding. Sometimes you can be amazed at the results, not to mention the huge savings you can find. By all means, do NOT just hire the first caterer you meet with because they gave you the right time of day or were very nice to you. Ask around with family, friends, co-workers, etc. and get their recommendations about services they may have used. Checking with any friends who are currently employed in the food and beverage industry can open a world of opportunities. If you want to be extra safe in this regard, you could also check out your local Better Business Bureau. They can provide you with any problem information they may have received regarding a particular company. Just don’t depend on their findings. Check local sources as that’s the best way to get the up to date information on any business.
Get Everything in Writing
Getting everything in writing for your wedding can totally save you from being a victim of a wedding rip-off. It would seem obvious to do this, but too many couples tend to go on “faith” of what a “professional” says, then are shocked with the wedding planner, vendor, photographer, caterer, florets, (the list goes on) doesn’t follow through It’s so easy for one part of the puzzle to drop the ball. Get everything, down to the smallest detail, in writing and be sure both you and the vendor agree on all points before signing any contract. Include exact descriptions, such as if you are ordering flowers: how may bouquets, the exact type and color of the flowers, etc. Don’t forget to get your copy of all documents you sign. No copy machine handy? Take a photo or scan with your call phone – no problem. Just don’t forget your copy.
Be Aware of The Fine Print
This is a major wedding rip-off. Read any contracts over very carefully and look at each and every page. Pay particular attention to any cancellation policies. You want to make sure it includes a provision for a refund of the deposit if you cancel or change your wedding date by a certain time period before your wedding. Be reasonable and understand, you would not expect to get a deposit back if you cancelled two days before the wedding. Be sure to also include a written statement on the contract that you will not pay for services and will expect a complete refund on any deposits if the company does not deliver exactly as specified in the contract. A reputable company will respect this clause. If you feel that there is not something written in the contract that you feel is important, talk about it if it’s realistic, don’t back off just ask it to be added.
Regarding Photographers and DJ’s
DANGER DANGER DANGER! When seeking these services with any company, you may have a particular photographer/videographer and DJ in mind for your wedding. Typically because you have seen their work or heard their play style and feel it’s a great fit. Make sure that the particular person you are looking for is detailed on the contract and substitutes or fill-in person are not permitted. Again, make sure to also include the clause that if that particular person is substituted, you will not pay for the service and will receive a refund on all deposits.
Don’t pay up-front for ANYTHING. Deposits are fine and normal but total payment should never be paid or expected until the work is completed. This happened at one of our weddings with the DJ. He showed up but none of his equipment worked. All the music that had been requested was gone. We fortunately made a back up of all music and found a family member who was able to “step up to the plate”. Unfortunately, the D.J. was still paid.
Another wedding was a Wedding Rip-Off photographer, who never produced the final prints but because the couple was so taken with this photographer, paid the balance when they received the digital prints. Lesson learned, final payment is due when the final service has been rendered. No matter what!
Just make sure that your contracts are clear and concise so you are not a victim of the next Wedding Rip-off.
Hope to see ya soon,