Weddings should be a big day, but people fall prey to some of these very popular wedding scams. Here are the ones that are the most popular scams and that are infuriating brides all over the world.
1.) Hear What I Say, Not What I Play
The wedding band switcheroo is unfortunately very common. A band will hire studio musicians to record a quick demo or get a demo from another band. You listen, you like them, you hire them. And then the next thing you know, the band that plays at your wedding reception sounds just awful and not what you bought into. Be sure where wedding bands are concerned that you get not only references, but if possible, an opportunity to see them play live at a local venue where you can go check them out for yourself and not just rely on studio magic.
2.) Bridal Registry Fiasco
It seems easy. Grab a price gun, zap what you want and walk away. The store documents what you scanned, tells your wedding guests and they buy it and as they buy it, it gets marked off the list as purchased. Seems easy enough. But in some cases, the store will quote the bride one price and then charge their guests and family something else. This is a very common trick that bridal registries and stores will scam your guests with because there typically isn’t anyone watching them or keeping track of what prices they quoted. Ask the store for a written policy, go to well known stores like Target or Outlet centers, or just ask for gift certificates and do it yourself.
3.) Something Used
Some bridal shops have decided that selling used dresses is a good idea. While some brides nowadays are actually looking for used wedding dresses to save money, these shops are selling used dresses at a new dress cost and claiming that they are new. While some dead giveaways are dirty trains, lipstick, hair, etc, the best way to avoid this scam is the same for most. Get it in writing as to who the designer is, the model of the dress, size of the dress and especially what alterations are guaranteed and included. When you pick up your dress, cross check it.
4.) Chauffeured Stretch Limo Lie
The scam is really surprisingly prevalent in the tons of various limo agencies that are out there. They use limo photos of vehicles that they don’t even own. You request a stretch limo and you get a Black Cadillac or worse that they don’t show. The fix? Make sure that the contract specifically says what you’re getting. If you want a 20 seat Hummer limo, make sure that it says “20 seat Hummer limo” and not just “large limo”. Make sure the contract also reflects the date the service is to be provided, the time frame you’ll be using the service, arrival time, address of both the church and the bride, the reception and anything else that you can think of. As for the vehicle switch, physically go and inspect the vehicle on a weekday around lunch time when the vehicle will actually be there and inspect it. Is it nasty and smelly? Does it have torn and stained seats? The most important thing is to verify that it’s even there at all. If there’s a specific one you want, that would also be a good time to snag that license plate number. As for the no-show limo, check their references and your local Better Business Bureau for any lodged complaints.
5.) Wedding Planner Flim Flam
This one is specifically for wedding vendors to watch out for. Here’s an example of how this works with someone like a wedding planner. A supposed bride will call from abroad (Europe, France, etc.) and call a legitimate wedding planner to set up their wedding in the states. She sends a cashiers check to pay for the services, but it’s for $3000 more than what was agreed on. The check clears the bank with no problem. The wedding planner is told to then transfer the $3000 to a wedding band or caterer that they want to use. No red flags yet because a wedding planner paying another vendor on behalf of the bride is common for the industry. The money gets forwarded to the band and then the bank realizes a couple of weeks later that the check is a fraud. Guess where the money gets taken back from? The wedding planners bank account. So if you’re a wedding planner or any wedding vendor that practices this, watch out for this one. Check out more details on this scam here.
6.) You’re Not Ansel Adams!
Wedding photography is unfortunately a huge industry plagued with scammers. You hire that big name photographer that you’ve always wanted to shoot your wedding and they send out someone else. Sometimes it’s even a nightmare to get the photos from them after multiple calls and emails, which is outrageous when you pay them up front. Again, it’s all about what you get in writing. Make sure the contract indicates items such as who is going to be shooting the wedding, how many photos you get, how many albums you get, if you retain the negatives, etc.. Don’t mess around with this because you can’t re-enact this moment of your life. Well, you can, but it probably won’t be the same.
7.) It Must Not Have Bloomed Yet
You hire a wedding florist to do the bouquet, centerpieces, etc. and the expensive imported flowers are replaced with not-so-expensive flowers and 12 flowers per centerpiece mysteriously becomes 10. The solution? Are you seeing a trend here lovely Bride? Get it in writing. What exactly you get from type of flowers, how many centerpieces, how many flowers are in that centerpiece, what exactly is included in the centerpiece down to the little plastic plastic fork placecard holder.
8.) Diamonds Are Us
The bride takes the diamond ring in to be cleaned and when she gets it back, it just doesn’t look the same. It has flaws or cracks in it and is obviously not the same diamond. When she goes back, what do you think she hears? Everything short of “you’re crazy” and “you’re mistaken, but that IS your diamond. “ How do you protect yourself? Believe it or not, the original jeweler can etch a serial number into the diamond girdle. You can then have the jeweler doing the cleaning write down the serial number onto the invoice. That way they have documented what they received and can’t switch it out. Alternately, you can also bring your diamond grading certificate so that you can match the flaws originally documented with what you’re getting back.
9.) Hide and Seek
Anyone paying for a wedding should understand that there could be some unforeseen expenses that happen. They always do. But don’t get bamboozled with ridiculous fees that you get blindsided by such as one report from a bride on Blogger Brides that documented being charged a whopping $35 per gallon for fruit punch! I’m sorry, excuse me?! You can avoid things like this by keeping what the venue supplies to a minimum and taking away those opportunities to be gorged. And be sure to watch out for cake cutting fees, cork fees, plate splitting fees and other nonsense fees that they figure out a way to rob you for. Make sure that it’s clear between you, the wedding planner, your family, and anyone that may ask the venue staff for anything to try and do it themselves first that is outside of what you’ve already discussed beforehand with the venue.
As you can see, there is a common thread in avoiding these scams and most all of them are “get it in writing”. Everything down the dirtiest detail needs to be documented and signed off on. This is your big wedding day. It’s not enough to just choose a wedding professional
from a wedding vendor
You must do your homework and make sure they’re licensed, don’t have any complaints against them in the BBB, and that you get everything that you’re asking for. It’s well known that the wedding industry is littered with overpriced expenses, scammers, and wedding vendors waiting to pray on your wallet like a vampire bat at a blood drive. But it’s your day, not theirs, so watch your purse strings and protect yourself at every corner.