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- Published on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 18:26
BBB Offers Tips During Planning Season
CHICAGO - February 22, 2017 - In 2017 it's estimated that more than two million couples will tie the knot. For the bride and groom their greatest hope is for a perfect wedding; and not saying "I do" to a bad service provider. Figures from 2015, the most recent available,reveal the average cost of a wedding at just over $26,000 dollars. With all the time and money that goes into a wedding, it's imperative that the happy couple take every precaution when planning for the big day.
Because of the intricate details involved, everything from choosing the venue, florist, caterer and photographer to the honeymoon location; through no fault of their own, couples often find it's very difficult to have everything go perfectly. The Better Business Bureau receives hundreds of complaints every year about wedding-related vendors.
"There are honest mistakes that can be made, and there are also dishonest individuals who can ruin the best laid plans," says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "That's why couples need to be very diligent in determining who they hire for one of the most important days of their lives."
The BBB website is a great place to start the search for reputable businesses that with help with the big event and make a good faith effort to resolve any complaints.
To take some of the stress out of planning their wedding, some couples turn to wedding expos to find the services they need. But the BBB advises couples to be cautious when presented with one-day deals or discounts for advance payment. Additionally, read contracts and ask questions before signing anything; and be skeptical if vendors ask you to pay most of the fees in advance. "It's also very important to ask about refund policies for deposits or prepayments," adds Bernas.
Ask vendors for references. Don't rely on brochures or online reviews, which can be faked.
Some common problems that couples encounter and tips for avoiding them include:
Unexpected fees. Some caterers, hotels or reception venues try to charge extra for "plate splitting," "cake-cutting" or "corkage" fees, especially if you bring in a cake or liquor purchased from another source. Ask whether any fees apply beyond the cost-per-person, gratuities or room rental, if applicable.
Dresses that don't measure up. Brides have complained to BBB about bridal shops ordering the wrong sizes and colors of gowns as well as dresses that arrive too late for timely alterations. Make sure your order specifies new merchandise, sized to fit you and your bridesmaids. Remind the shop of your schedule in advance.
Wedding transportation problems. Complaints about limousine service include poor customer service and rigid cancellation policies. Get details in writing. Ask how the company handles problems if you aren't satisfied. Don't pay the entire amount in advance.
Musician switch. Couples shouldn't rely on a website, demo tape or phone conversation when hiring a band or other music service. Find out where you can hear the musicians play before you hire them. Ask who will actually perform at the reception and get a written commitment from the band or musician, including the amount of time they will play and costs to extend the time the night of the event.
Photographer issues. A common complaint is that the photographer a couple hired doesn't show up for the wedding or fails to deliver pictures until months after the wedding. Find out when and how pictures will be delivered, whether you will have the option of getting all the images on a DVD or CD, how much time you will have to choose the pictures and whether other members of your family or wedding party will have access to the pictures.
Floral changes. Fresh flowers are a perishable commodity, and the final bouquet or arrangements may need to change depending on what's available on the wedding day. Make sure you spell out a minimum size or number of stems in each bouquet or arrangement. Ask how the florist will handle any last-minute substitutions and charges.
Bridal gown preservation. Some bridal shops or other businesses sell bridal gown preservation packages, including cleaning and a box, for $250 or more. Many of these packages are no more than regular dry-cleaning and a cardboard box, which may not be acid-free. Check with a reputable cleaner on the cost of cleaning and storage for your gown.
To search our databases anytime and at NO COST to help you find trustworthy businesses and more important consumer information visit http://ask.bbb.org. Also, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and add us on Instagram.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Consumers and businesses can search business reviews and ratings on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.