Planning a wedding is a major emotional and financial investment, and Better Business Bureau advises brides and grooms-to-be to prepare before selecting vendors for that special day. Every year, BBB receives hundreds of complaints about wedding services and suppliers. Typical complaints concern contract disputes and failure on the part of the vendor to provide products or even show up for the wedding.
“Organizing a wedding involves orchestrating a symphony of vendors, and bridal expos can be a great one-stop shop to find all of the service providers you would need”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “There is much to consider, however, so couples should take their time and do their research before signing on the dotted line.”
No bride wants their wedding to be less than perfect and would take precautions if they only knew what to look out for. When preparing for the day of your dreams, BBB advises brides to be to weed out potential problems before they happen and offers these tips to help couples navigate a bridal expo:
Consider timing, packages and expertise - Ask about vendors’ various package and pricing options to ensure their services fit within your budget. In the case of a photographer or videographer, ask whether the work will be done by the owner or an employee. Make sure you know what it would cost to have the photographer, DJ or limousine stay longer than is specified in the contract.
Bring along a friend - Take someone with you who is not as emotionally or financially connected to the wedding planning as you are. They may provide a different perspective when talking with vendors and visiting booths.
Create a new email address just for the show - Whether you are pre-registering or signing-up at the door, it is a good idea to create a new email account for wedding vendor communications. This allows you to keep track of special offers. This also can help reduce high volumes of email in your personal inbox.
Research the vendor thoroughly before signing a contract – It is crucial to know the company’s track record by taking the time to research its reputation in the industry and community.
Pay with a credit card. Credit cards offer consumers the added protection of disputing any charge over $50 within 60 days of the purchase. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on the card, and many card issuers have “zero liability” policies if someone steals your card number and uses it. Never wire money.
Seek references from other couples, family and friends, and always check the marketplace experience of other consumers at www.bbb.org .
Get all sales promises in writing - Written contracts should include specific dates, times, products, prices, name brands, etc. and signed by all parties involved. Cancellation policies should also be included in the contracts. Plan a delivery date well in advance for wedding gowns to allow for delays on the part of the supplier.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.