I read an interesting article this week about avoiding wedding rip-offs.
While it’s not the usual way to save money on your wedding, it’s still pretty good advice to follow if you want to avoid unnecessary expenses.
There is nothing worse than having put down a couple hundred dollars for your DJ’s deposit only to find out, a week before your wedding, that he has changed his number and disappeared with your deposit.
Now you are a couple hundred dollars short and also in a position of hunting down a new DJ at the last minute. And last minute vendor hunting is never good for the budget.
The Popular Scams
Beth Kotz wrote a great post about The Worst Wedding Rip-Offs and How To Avoid Them. In it, she mentions some popular scams being run, such as:
- Stores selling low-quality counterfeit wedding dresses as the real thing;
- Inexperienced wedding planners who aren’t good at planning, don’t know where to find good deals, or are terrible at budgeting;
- Faux-tographers (Beth’s word and I love it) who use other people’s work in their portfolio;
- Unreliable vendors who simply don’t show up on the big day;
- Vendors who tack on hidden charges once it’s time to pay the bill;
Read on to find out what steps you can take to avoid this unnecessary hit to your wedding budget.
Check Out The Reviews
Reading up on your vendor’s reviews can put a lot of uncertainty to rest.
Ari Cetron at MoneyTalks News recommends checking your vendor against websites such as TheKnot, WeddingWire, and Better Business Bureau. She mentions some other tips in her article How to Avoid 5 Common Wedding Rip-Offs.
Social media is also a powerful tool. Some businesses have been brought down to its knees while others were lifted them up high based solely on their social media reviews.
Word-of-mouth is also a great way to hunt down or vet out your vendors. Ask your family, friends, and colleagues for recommendations. Also ask what they liked about that vendor so that you know what you can expect or shouldn’t expect.
If you do decide to go with a vendor with limited experience, try to think of ways to test their abilities. Ask your make-up artist for a trial run or if your live band can play a few songs for you beforehand.
To Use Your Credit Card Or Not To Use Your Credit Card
This can be particularly confusing as people that fall on either side of the credit card fence.
OFX.com article on How to Save Money on a Destination Wedding tells you not to use your credit cards to make payments as the interest incurred can really add up in a short amount of time. A $30,000 wedding might cost you an extra $2,000 if you don’t pay your credit card bill on time.
Both Beth Kotz and MoneyTalks News, on the other hand, recommend using your credit card to make your purchases from vendors as this creates a paper trail of evidence that might help you later. This way, if your baker flakes (pun intended), you can report him to the bank and possibly get a refund through the bank.
In the end, the choice to use the card is up to you. Just remember to pay it off as soon as possible, because those interest rates will definitely put a dent in your wedding budget if not paid off fast.
Always Read Fine Print
This week, Jessica Bishop at The Budget Savvy Bride wrote about BYOB For Your Wedding Reception.
Bringing your own beverages (i.e. alcohol) is a fantastic way to cut some costs. Especially if you can get them at bulk or wholesale prices. But this great tip could end up costing you if your venue tacks on a corkage surcharge.
As recently written in ModWedding’s Wedding Venue Checklist: Always ask what is included and what is excluded in the cost of each service. Also ask about their payment, cancellation, and refund policies.
This is good practice to do with all your vendors.
Make sure your florist won’t charge an extra $200 for delivery. Make sure your photographer fee is for the whole night and not just till 10pm. Be clear if your live band’s fee includes equipment such as speakers and microphones. Rachel Torgerson from TheKnot has some other great examples in her article Watch Out For These 10 Hidden Wedding Costs.
These unexpected costs tend to cut into a couple’s budget pretty deep. In the end, the best advice we have found is to stick with vendors who have great testimony and reviews. And always ask lots of questions to be clear on what is included and what is not.
Do you have a story of a wedding vendor who applied a little creativity to their surcharges? We’d love to hear it down below in the comments!