Deciding to get married may be easy, but planning a wedding — finding a location, dress, caterer, florist, and photographer - can be difficult. With so many options, how do you sort the good vendors from the not-so-good? Researching wedding vendors and asking important questions can go a long way to help you avoid problems on your big day.
Make sure you are dealing with reputable businesses that won’t take your money and run. Check for any complaints against a vendor with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515 and with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org. Also ask friends and family for recommendations, and read online reviews of potential vendors.
When you meet a vendor, ask a variety of questions, especially about fees and total costs. Some reception halls may require a nonrefundable deposit to hold the hall for your wedding date. Others may charge extra fees for cake-cutting and bottle-opening. Make sure all verbal statements and promises are put in writing. Also find out about any specific rules or restrictions, cancellation policies, and refund policies for deposits and payments. Be skeptical of “one-day” deals and discounts, which may involve high fees or hidden costs. Also be wary when a vendor requests most of the money in advance.
Guard Your Personal Information
While researching possible vendors, you may be asked to provide your name, phone number, mailing address, e-mail address, and other details. Supplying this information may seem harmless, but be sure to ask how your information will be used. A vendor might sell your information to other businesses that may start calling you or sending you offers.
Plan for Worst-Case Scenarios
Although unlikely, consider what would happen if:
- One of your vendors goes out of business before the wedding.
- The dress you ordered is never delivered.
- The power goes out at your reception hall.
- Your limousine fails to show up.
- The band sounds nothing like its demo tape.
To protect yourself, make sure you ask for detailed contracts with information about possible substitutions, refund policies, and how the company handles complaints. Also ask your venue about its policies for storms or power outages. If you plan to have an outdoor wedding, establish a backup location and a way to alert all vendors and guests of the new location.
When ordering a wedding or bridesmaid dress, make sure you get all the details in writing - including the model number, size, manufacturer, color, and all other details pertinent to the order. Ask for the date when the order will be sent to the manufacturer and follow up with the store to ensure that your order is on schedule.
If possible, pay with a credit card. Credit card companies allow you to dispute charges if a business fails to deliver the goods or services you purchased. Debit cards, cash, and checks do not carry the same protections. The back of your monthly credit card bill should have information on how to dispute credit card charges.
You also may want to purchase wedding insurance, which may cover vendors that go out of business, postponements, damaged wedding gifts, or sudden illnesses. If you are spending a lot of money on your wedding, insurance policies might be worthwhile.
While no one can predict everything that may happen on your wedding day, researching vendors, paying small deposits, and paying with a credit card can help keep you and your money protected for your big day.
Link: Attorney General DeWine Sues Alan Ray Bridal for Consumer Law Violations