This article about “avoiding wedding rip-offs” is part of the bigger “Essential Wedding Tips” guidance. Be sure to check it out for useful tips and advice on planning your beautiful wedding day.
Planning a wedding can be a stressful event. The last thing you need is to be ripped-off by an unscrupulous wedding vendor or planner. Here are a few tips to help avoid this problem.
Make Your Wedding Arrangements and Bookings As Far In Advance As Possible
Most facilities, vendors, and planners can be booked more than a year in advance. If possible, take advantage of this window of opportunity. Should something go wrong, it will provide you with more time to make alternate arrangements. Also, be aware that some vendors will actually charge you more if you order or book things at the last minute.
Although it is true that venues can be booked at decent deals in the “last minute” window, there are others who may try a rip-off scam on you. You see, there are vendors out there who will prey on last minute buyers. No matter how small a window you have left for yourself, ensure you follow our next tip…
Shop Around and Deal With Trustworthy People
Before booking anything you should shop around and get an idea of current prices for each category of your wedding. Don’t just hire the first caterer you meet with. Ask around with family, friends, co-workers, etc. and get their recommendations about services they may have used.
If you come across a vendor who is not well known, this does not mean that they can’t be trusted. Instead, it means they need to go the extra mile to prove that they can be. Ask for samples, ask for details of previous venues/events they’ve worked on. Essentially, you are asking for references – don’t rely on testimonials alone.
Doing your homework goes a long way to ensure you avoid rip-offs – whether established vendors and providers or not.
Get Everything in Writing
It would seem obvious to do this, but a lot of couples tend to go on “faith” of what a vendor says, then are shocked with the vendor doesn’t follow through.
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 colour of the flowers, etc.
This way you have a specific instruction you are holding them to. In the event that the worst should happen, you will then have a valid and reliable body of evidence to prove in any claims being made against them.
Be Aware of The Fine Print
Read any contracts over very carefully. Pay particular attention to their cancellation policy. 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.
Of course, reasonably, you would not 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.
A solid set of terms and conditions will provide you with a huge safety net against rip-off merchants.
Regarding Photographers/Videographers and DJ’s
When booking these services with a company, often you may wish to have a particular photographer/videographer and DJ for your wedding because you have seen their work or heard their play style and really like it.
Make sure this is detailed on the contract with the person’s name. The one you have seen the previous work of, and the one you want to be producing work for you. You might consider also including the clause that if that particular person is substituted, you will not pay for the service and will receive a refund on all deposits. This is acceptable if both parties agree to the clause, but it is also slightly unreasonable so long as every possible measure has been provided by the vendor and the quality of the product remains the same.
It is absolutely agreeable if any substitute has no clue what they are doing in substitution (a reliable vendor will have provided them with all details they require to do the job and to do it well). If, for instance, a DJ you were told was coming and who knew how your ceremony music was laid out did not show up, and the substitute DJ that showed had no idea how the wedding service set up was to proceed with the music – then there’s a real problem. Should that substitute then cause a mess up with some songs during the ceremony then you would have no recourse, as you didn’t include a provision in the contract that any substitution should be as good as the original vendor (if not better). So be aware of this. Don’t pay for a last minute substitute (unless you were thoroughly happy with their service).
So long as you have remained calm in your preparations and planning process, you should have no problems – but hopefully these thoughts will help you on your way.
Don’t forget to check out even more of my “Essential Wedding Tips“.
Good luck with your wedding planning, and I hope your getting hitched gets off without a hitch!