BBB: Tips to avoid wedding day letdowns

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CROMWELL — It is mid-June and the summer wedding season is well under way.   It is an extremely stressful event for couples, and unfortunately, Connecticut Better Business Bureau says problems with vendors can be a painful and expensive lesson for newlyweds.

There are many players to orchestrate when planning the event, and every year, BBB receives complaints about wedding dresses that are not ready on time or the wrong type or size; limousines that show up late or not at all; photographers taking too long to deliver the final product and other problems with florists, caterers, DJs and the venues themselves.

In some cases the problems may be caused by vendors not living up to their promises or misunderstandings.  In others, unexpected fees may be caused by not reading a contract or failing to ask enough questions.  Some of these problems can be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient.

Even if you begin planning early, Murphy’s Law reigns supreme:  If something can go wrong, it likely will.  Researching involves a great deal more time and detail than selecting a wedding gown, venue and menu.  If you are not careful, you can expect to find additional charges on your bill if you want a DJ, photographer or limousine to stay later than specified in their contracts.

Connecticut BBB offers a checklist to help prevent trip-ups before walking down the aisle:

Research and compare – It is not unusual for a wedding to cost more than $20 thousand.  Like anything else, buy with your head and not your heart.  Make sure vendors have a good marketplace record from consumers at bbb.org, check with recent references and obtain quotes from several vendors.

Get it all in writing – At the very least, a contract should specify dates, the start and stop time, and rate for working beyond the contracted time period.

Consider wedding insurance – Wedding insurance covers not only problems with vendors, but also cancelation due to weather, sickness, injury, no shows, or problems with the venue which might interfere with your plans.

Consult a wedding planner – They can do a lot of the heavy lifting, check out contracts to protect your interests and can help you save time and money.

Be selective when hiring a photographer/videographer – Choose a photographer who will have some “preview” photos posted online to view or download within a week after the wedding, so that you may share them with friends and family.  Ensure that the photographer you hire will be at the wedding, rather than a third party you don’t know.  A turnaround on photographs can range from two to six weeks, however, it may take several months during the peak wedding season.  Allow extra time for videos because editing is involved.

A wedding is usually a couple’s first major financial investment.  With proper planning, newlyweds can begin their marriage with satisfaction rather than sorrow.