Friday, 24 October 2008

Wedding Scams

Let's face it -- wedding vendors, like any other businesspeople, are in it to make money. Even though we tend to associate weddings with romance, weddings are a business like any other. That means that there are trustworthy vendors and shady vendors. It would be great if you could identify shady wedding vendors by their shifty eyes or handlebar mustaches, but the fact is that you can't tell whether your vendors are trustworthy just by looking at them.

It's up to you to avoid getting burned by wedding scammers. Sometimes, wedding scams are easy to spot and avoid -- be wary of any wedding vendor who wants you to hand over money without providing you with a detailed contract to sign first. In other cases, it's not as easy to tell whether the deal you're looking at is on the up and up. Here are some things to look out so you can protect yourself when dealing with vendors.

Don't beg or whine
This only makes you appear desperate -- and gullible. You say (subconsciously) that you are more than willing to pay any price and give up perks to get what you want. Don't make the mistake of settling for less than you paid for just to secure one detail. If your reception site isn't available on the day you want, either change your date or venue. Don't agree to take a smaller space! If your florist has strict policies against using certain pieces in his arrangements, find a new florist or compromise on new arrangements. Don't pay outlandish prices when another florist will likely give you what you want for less money.

Don't let impatience drive your decisions
If a vendor says to you, "This is a popular date or month so you need to sign soon," they are probably telling you the truth. However, resist the temptation to sign a contract immediately unless you're sure it's what you want. Unless you have done your research, are knowledgeable on comparable pricing or are satisfied with the level of service you will receive, think it over. When you're in a rush, you're more apt to make a decision you'll regret later...or to end up locked into a product or service that is sub par.

Read the fine print
Contracts exist to protect you and your vendors, but sneaky vendors can slip shady clauses into wedding contracts without your realizing it if you're not careful. Pay attention to all of the clauses. Do they sound fair? Does it outline all of the important details surrounding your event? Does something in the contract make you uncomfortable? Ask that it be removed and never, ever sign anything that might bite you in the rear later.

Don't be a pushover
If your vendor refuses to negotiate with you or makes you feel inferior for even asking for their business, thank them for their time and exit stage left. Remember, this is your wedding, and you hold the checkbook. While they have the professional experience to meet your needs, you hold the purse. Your vendor should not be trying to force you to accept products or services you don't want or can't afford, and you should be willing to walk away if they do. If you feel pressured by a particular vendor, run!

Protect yourself
Surround yourself with great vendors, and do your research. Ask someone to look over your contracts -- your wedding planner will be able to decipher which clauses will protect you and which could be to your detriment. Always take someone with you on vendor visits, whether that is your wedding planner, your mother, your maid of honor, or someone else. They may catch a detail that might be crucial to your decision-making process.

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