9 Major Wedding Scams

mad-brideWeddings 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

registry-scan-gunIt 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

ghetto-caddyThe 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.

film-canister6.) 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

diamond-closeup-80-karatThe 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.

bride-and-groomAs 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 directory.

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.

Reality TV Always Ends in Divorce

kate-gosselin-wedding-ringWedding rings aren’t cheap and they signify something a tad more important than just being jewelry.  While Jon Gosselin is off partying with Lindsay Lohan’s father in the Hamptons for some reason, his wife Kate has put her ring back on.  Apparently Kate is trying to keep herself together and her kids heads on straight.  She is the only glue in these kids lives, so why she’s still wearing the ring is a mystery.

On the flip side, LeeAnn Rimes who was caught in a scandalous affair with costar Eddie Cibrian has separated from her husband and has decided to finally take her wedding band off.  As a result, Cibrian’s wife has apparently decided to take a marital break also since the affair was uncovered by the press.

While divorce seems to be the hip new trend in Hollywood, many people have begun to notice that when you invite cameras into your home, divorce is closely behind.  Just ask Jon and Kate (Jon and Kate Plus Eight), Hulk Hogan (Hogan Knows Best), Nick and Jessica (Newlyweds), Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro (Til Death Do Us Part), Britney and Kevin (Chaotic), Travis and Shanna (Meet The Barkers), Whitney and Bobby (Being Bobby Brown), and Danny and Gretchen (Breaking Bonaduce).  There are very few marriages that have withstood the glare of the lights and walked away unscathed.  Hail Snoop!

While Americans have an insatiable appetite for reality television that invades the lives of interesting characters, at what cost is enough too much?  Is it necessary that we see how celebrities live, what they eat, what brand of toilet paper they use, and to see every argument and failure?  Is it to prove to ourselves that they are just like us by watching them fail in various aspects of their lives?  Is it to live vicariously through them by following them on shopping sprees, drinking binges and temper tantrums?  What is the fascination that keeps the ratings skyrocketing and ruining lives and marriages one after the other?  While to some degree TV and movie stars are “asking for it” and give up their privacy to some extent when they sign on for the job, where is the line to be drawn and will we ever be able to draw it?

Top 12 Strangest Wedding Rings

Wedding rings should be a big investment, but most of these are not.  I personally could not begin to imagine wearing any of these (except one) and you’ll soon see why as I show you

The 12 Strangest Wedding Rings

#12 – USB Wedding Rings
The concept is that the couple will join the rings together and swap data.  Maybe love notes or grocery lists?  The funny thing to me is the guy in the background of the ad biting his lip like he’s saying, “Yeah, yeah, baby. Blang blang.”


#11 -Engraving Nightmare
When you only have a small band of precious metal but so much to say, look no further than this atrocity.


#10 – Cryptic Decoder Ring

No need to wait to try and decipher what your wife is trying to tell you. Start off with this remake of the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring and don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine.


# 9 – Serial Killer

This ring is for geeks that have been down since DOS days. Not that the serial connector isn’t still being used anymore, but for real?


#8 – Mini Cup?
I have no idea what this would be used for other than for illegal drug usage or a quick shot of whiskey and it probably couldn’t even do either of those well.


#7 – Binary Ring
Easily the coolest ring on the list and the only one I might even consider wearing.  This ring is binary code for a personal 20 character message that you choose.  Strange, but actually neat.


#6 – Cat 5
What is it with computer rings?  This ethernet ring may be cool if you could actually get ethernet access only when you were together.  That would be quirky.


#5 – The Maya Angelou?
Is this supposed to be an ode to “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”? If it is, that’s not a very warm and cuddly matrimonial moment. Hey, I know why people trapped in marriage whine!


#4 – Nuts and Bolts
While the concept is obvious, it’s the action involved in putting them together that makes it inappropriate.


#3 – Intertwined
The ring looks very cool, but it looks ridiculous when separated and is probably very uncomfortable when they’re not together.


#2 – Heat Activated
Your anniversary date is programmed inside the ring and the concept is that the wedding ring gets hotter the closer that you get to the date.  Just how hot it gets is unknown and to me, this just seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.


And here we are folks!

The winner of the strangest wedding ring award.

#1 – Pokey
I’ve got nothing.  I don’t even know how you would wear this thing.


And that’s it. The 12 strangest wedding rings. Do you have ones to share that I didn’t post here? Post them!

Picking the Perfect Engagement Ring

wedding-ring-setLet’s not go into planning a wedding just yet, but let’s at least by hypothetical. When your significant other presents you with your engagement ring, it should represent you and your relationship perfectly, something you couldn’t have done a better job had you picked it out yourself.  In an ideal world that is exactly the scenario that would take place, but how to do you know that you will get the ring that you want?  To ensure that when you open up that little square box you will find a ring you are truly excited about, take the time to lay a little bit of groundwork – chances are he’ll appreciate the help.

Your personal style should be reflected in the ring end up with, so if you’re a sleek, chic businesswoman perhaps a simple solitaire is for you, or if you are spontaneous and fun, then maybe a colored stone is your thing.  Keep in mind your lifestyle as well as your personal style while you ponder over your options.  If you are very active or work with your hands, make sure you subtly hint for a ring that won’t get in the way of your daily activity.

Since your ring should be a reflection of who you are, you need to make it clear who you are not.  Try to be a bit more coy than leaving out a wedding magazine with pictures of engagement rings circled and crossed out.  Instead, drop hints about rings you’ve seen and what your friends are wearing.  Though this can be a tricky situation, so consider aiming for more straightforward ways of going about getting the ring you want.

Some couples couple talk openly about an engagement even before an official proposal; thus making the ring conversation a natural progression.  If you are this kind of couple, then picking out rings together alleviates any potential disaster and ensures a happy outcome.  If you still want some element of surprise you can always walk up to jewelry windows wherever you are and point to ones you like or sketch out ideas for him in order to point him in the right direction.

Many women, in an attempt to foolproof their perfect plan, enlist the help of a trustworthy friend or family member. Tell them exactly what you want and let them tastefully reiterate your likings or shop with your almost-betrothed.  He may ask for the help from your friend without you even knowing, so be prepared and share your dream ring with a few close loved ones to keep all your bases covered.

If all of this fails, and you still end up with a ring you are less than crazy about, don’t be afraid to talk about it.  Though it might be a sensitive situation, he will want you to have a ring that you love instead of something you are unhappy with.  After all, you don’t want to start your marriage off on the wrong foot (or ring!).

Familiarize yourself with the variety of shapes, sizes, cuts and colors out there.  Explore the process together if he’s willing.  Perhaps suggest in conversation that should you be wed, you love the idea of designing a ring together, something special that really is an expression of each of you (while your hidden agenda is carefully secured).

If you find yourself happily engaged but unhappily decorated, approach the idea of an exchange. Smart shoppers are always clear on exchange or refund policies. If return or exchange is not an option, for example you find yourself being presented with a family ring that just doesn’t suit your taste, consider reworking the jewels into a varied setting. Oftentimes couples collaborate on a custom design, so it can be equal parts of both of them and have a unified outcome. Keep in mind that custom work can take a few months to complete. But something so unique is well worth the wait.

However you decide to symbolize your love and devotion to one another, make it special. Whether that means having the perfect stone or including a simple engraving in a ring he selected for you – make it you and make it personal.

Now all you have left to do is pick out the wedding favors and bridesmaid gifts, right? yeahhh…..