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.

Wedding Vendors Get Free Exposure

wedding-photographerWedding vendors from every walk of profession including wedding photographers, caterers, florists, DJ’s, bands and others got a free handout from the television show Get Married.  The Lifetime TV show opened its doors wide for wedding professionals to post free listings on their website at http://www.getmarried.com/advertise-with-us.

Since the launch of the free listings, vendors have filled the areas quickly and by the thousands.  If your business is related to the wedding industry, take adavantage of the limited free offer to get listed and seen by literally thousands of brides.  Get Married has not indicated when the promotion will end, but this is a coup for any wedding business interested in getting on one of the most popular wedding websites on the web.

Wedding Bouquet Toss Causes Plane Crash

wedding-flowersAh, the bridal bouquet toss.  A sweet gesture from a bride to her bridesmaids that sometimes turns out plain ugly.  We’ve all heard about people getting bloody noses, broken bones, getting knocked out, etc.  But now for the first time ever, a bride’s bouquet has caused a plane crash.  No, it wasn’t because it was tossed too high.  The exact opposite actually.  What started as a good idea discussed during the wedding planning actually became the idea that made it the wedding to remember.

An Italian couple had just gotten married and thought that it would be a neat idea to have a light plane fly overhead and drop the bouquet instead of the normal over the shoulder toss.  A 44 year old man named Isidoro Pensieri simply had to open the door and toss out the bouquet at the right time. Isidoro couldn’t handle that task and instead failed to throw it far enough away from the plane.  The result?  The bouquet was sucked into the plane’s engine causing the engine to catch fire and then explode.  The pilot Luciano Nannelli then  lost control of the plane as the plane went into a steep plummet to earth and then slammed into a busy hostel near Montioni Park.

The pilot and all 50 of the hostel residents got away unscathed, but Isidoro (the bouquet tosser) was hospitalized with a head injury and multiple fractures.  Talk about a wedding to talk about.

Spring Flowers for Your Spring Wedding

spring-wedding-flowersSpring weddings brightly shine with spring blossoms.  The season represents rebirth and new growth, so your flowers should equally reflect this blossoming time. Since spring is a season that goes hand-in-hand with fresh, beautiful flowers, make the most of what will be growing at this time.  By selecting flowers that are in season, not only are you saving money, but it is also the greener choice to support local and seasonal agriculture, and in the end, you often have a much bigger selection to choose from (that isn’t so cost prohibitive).  So what should you be shopping for?  Take a look at some fabulous flowers for your wedding:

wedding-flowers-tulipOne spring favorite is the tulip, which comes in over 400 varieties and colors in spring (but sorry, no blue).  Sweet peas are also a great option and are plentiful, a great bargain for the budget bride, and their light and sweet scent makes for a mild wedding perfume.  Another option is lily of the valley, which is great for an accent or even possibly as a part of a larger arrangement or bouquet (beware as they are delicate flowers).  These small flowers have a distinctive fragrance that many love, and can also be used in boutonnieres.  Or consider daisies and bright yellow daffodils, which are quintessential spring and can be a sweet touch in a flower girls hair or on table arrangements.

wedding-flowers-calla_liliesMulti-colored calla lilies are amazing in this season and are a popular choice – so make the most of them when the price is right.  Roses are also plentiful during most seasons, spring being no exception and since they are the true, classic wedding flower, you can’t go wrong.  Bulbs are very significant to spring wedding themes, and flowers like crocuses, hyacinths, orchids, iris and ranunculus are all great choices too.  If you’re a bit more adventurous, blossoms like ones from apple or cherry trees are a delicate sign of the advent of spring, and full branches can be used as dramatic centerpieces that they anchor within.

Been waiting all year to wed when peonies are readily available?  Then you’re in luck, peonies are plentiful this time of year.  A classic flower, they have a vintage flair and looks amazing as a center focus of wedding design or as an accent flower.  They can be in bud or fully open or a mixture of both, just make sure to specify to your florist since they have such a variety of looks.

wedding-flowers-flower-ballSo once you have your fauna selected, how will it be designed?  Floral balls, whether hanging or as table adornments are a fun and seasonal option that can be an extension of the polka dot wedding decor you may be considering.  Spring is a more casual laid-back season, so unstructured floral arrangements are a natural choice, as well as very simple designs like a few stems in a basic vase on tables or containers with spring moss and a few blooms.   Think organic, picked out of a garden, fresh and full of life.

As for the bride, nothing is more fitting than a wildflower bouquet filled with colorful local finds.  You can also choose an all-green arrangement, or one bursting with big blooms in either bright colors or pale naturals, as both are great for spring.  Hair wreaths made of seasonal florals are another option to consider.  Simple earthy nosegays are a nice choice for your bridal party, or maybe a more basic design like a few colored Gerber daisies held in the hand as they walk down the aisle.  Whatever you opt for, make it look effortless.

Spring is a great time to use the local bounty that nature has provided to help celebrate your day and represents the new growth that you and your fiance are about to embark on.  Pay homage to that tradition in the flowers you carry on your very special day. And be sure to cut some corners by visiting Get Married for the ultimate wedding planning website.

10 Tips For Weddings on a Budget

Mr. Christopher hitting the web waves with some great wedding advice to help with your wedding planning.  I’ve perused the web for you and dug up all of the lists that I could find on budget weddings.  Nowadays the wallet is tight and as a father of not one, not two, but THREE girls, I can tell you, I’ll be trying to find ways to cut corners in every way possible.  So I scraped together the 10 best tips out of all gazillion that were out there.  Here are the most common money saving ideas.

1. wedding-flowersHome Grown – Almost all of the lists made reference to picking a local florist.  Not only picking a local florist, but to be wary of what types of flowers you’re picking.  Getting a dark orchid at under a dollar piece instead of that Egyptian Tiger Lilly kissed by the pharaoh’s daughter at $10 a stem is a big way to save money on something that unfortunately is going to die within a week.

Cool tip: Pick up a bag of white play sand for about $10 at your hardware store and bury any arrangements that you want to keep in the sand for a few days which will naturally dry the bouquets.  They maintain their color, never die,  and you can then use them in art projects, frame them, put in a baggie for memories, or whatever you’d like to do with them.

2. Play That Funky Music – Another popular tip referred to bands and DJ’s.  Most of the lists suggested that you ditch the DJ or band and just make some mix CD’s to play.  The truth about this is that you can really kill the vibe of the reception if your mix CD is cranking Michael Bolton when your guests are ready to rock.  So ditching the DJ is fine, but if you can have that tech savvy music lover in your family (and there’s always one) manning the CD player, you can alleviate some of that awkwardness that comes from bad music placement.

Cool Tip: You can buy a CD mixer for dirt cheap on Ebay (under $50 and super easy to use) that will connect two CD players so that your family member running the CD’s can fade from one song on one CD player to the other so that there’s no awkwardness while they take one CD out of the player to replace it with another.  Dead air sucks.

3. wedding-cupcakeLet Them Eat Cake (or not) – Bakeries that specialize in wedding cakes will drain your wallet dry depending on how big you’d like your cake to be.  Independent bakeries might even be able to make nice two tiered cake for a fraction of the cost.  Many brides refuse to cut this corner, but shop around and especially small local bakeries.

Cool Tip: Great cake ideas like tiered cupcakes or Twinkies is also extremely memorable and very popular. Tres chic.  Whatever that means.

4. Do Me a FavorWedding favors don’t have to be expensive. There are great places online that offer inexpensive wedding favors like GetMarried.com.  Some people also make their own if your artistically inclined and if you have the time.

5. Invitations – While a lot of brides are even willing to print out their own wedding invitations, you might want to look at some of the online companies out there that offer printing services.  A lot of them do not have the overhead that some of larger brick and mortar companies and they can print massive amounts of invitations for dirt cheap.  Once you figure in the cost of paper, ink, and envelopes, you might as well have someone else do the work.

6. Friday Night Lights – This was listed on a few lists.  Most weddings are on Saturdays and that’s why churches and venues charge extremely higher rates.  They know that it may be easier to get your friends in relatives in town on a weekend then say, a Friday.  But you’d be shocked at just how drastic the price difference is if you were to book your wedding on a weekday instead.   If your attendees know about it with good advance notice, you’ll not only save tons of cash, but also greatly open up your options for venues.  The time of day also has a big impact on what you’ll spend. Plan it around dinner and you’re feeding your guests dinner.  If that’s the plan, then…

7. bbqMini Menu – If dinner is on your plan of events for your guests, keep the menu limited.  This applies to rehearsal dinners as well.  Keeping the selection simple will normally keep your catering costs down.  Some lists even suggested a friendly backyard barbecue for the rehearsal dinner which is an excellent idea. Being able to just relax and let the guys do the cooking is inexpensive and relaxing because you’re home.  Just make sure you get some relatives to commit to helping you clean up afterward.

8. Drinky Drinky – Open bars guarantee that people will come.  It will also guarantee that you will get slammed with a hefty bill at the end of the night.   Alcohol makes the costs skyrocket, so doing without will make a huge difference.  You can get inventive with non-alcoholic specialty drinks like the “sprite/sherbet punch in a bowl” phenomenon.  You can also make sure that your guests aren’t driving their children home while under the influence.  If you simply must have alcohol at your wedding, keep it beer and wine.  Decorate large bins filled with ice offering a selection of brew, red wine, white wine, etc.   Hard liquor is a definite no unless they bring their own.

9. Dress for Success
For the Bride: Wedding dresses are so ridiculously expensive and especially ones that are custom made.  Many brides find great deals on the clearance rack and some are even finding their dress for the big day at department stores.  With stores like Target getting into the wedding dress business, finding that beautiful wedding gown may be only a hundred bucks away and nobody will be the wiser.   If everyone thinks you look gorgeous and like a million bucks, what in the world does it matter?  Especially when it will end up in a box in the attic and stored for years after only being worn once.

For the Groom – Let’s face it. 95% of grooms go to a tux rental store to get there tuxes for the big day. Make sure you prowl the online coupon sites for huge deep discounts on tux deals.  They are all clamoring for your business and will undercut their competition by leaps and bounds to get your dollar.

10. Involve the Family – You probably have multiple family members that can help in some form or fashion and save you hundreds if not thousands.  Got a uncle who drives a taxi?  Have him do the chauffeur duties.  Paying him $100 for the night will save you tons of cash.  Got a teen who’s an MP3 player junkie?  You got your DJ!  Just like you, your family members are cutting corners too.  Instead of requesting wedding gifts, ask for their help in whatever their specialty may be.  You may be surprised if you send out an email to ask them how they can help and find hidden talents that you never knew existed.

wedding-planningAs always, some brides just refuse to cut corners and have dreamed of their wedding day since they were children and they have a vision as to how to plan their wedding.   Hopefully these tips will save you big bucks and also help with your wedding planning.  If you’d like more great wedding advice, be sure to tune into WeTV on Saturdays to watch Get Married  or visit their website online at http://www.getmarried.com for everything from wedding planning tips, wedding invitations, wedding favors and gifts, real wedding videos from couples just like you for inspiration and so much more!