Bilking Brides & Gouging Grooms: Watch Out for These Wedding Scams
Always ask questions. Get every receipt and analyze it. Never, ever give anyone a blank check — literal or otherwise.
For many couples today, a wedding is not just a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, it’s a financial investment of unprecedented hugeness.
Entire industries have arisen in modern times that are solely dedicated to wedding day necessities, from dress makers to cake bakers to overall event planners.
Alas, as always happens when vast sums of cash are in play, criminal elements have also crept in to rob brides, grooms, and revelers on what everyone else hopes will be the happiest day of their lives.
Here are some of contemporary wedding scams to be on the watch for.
1. DUBIOUS DRESSES
Counterfeit wedding dresses are copious — so much so that even some otherwise honest shops can be fooled. Researching the specifics of every dress’s origin is a must.
Another dress-related opportunity for rip-offs comes in the form of unnecessary alterations and sudden unavailability. It’s recommended, then, that brides-to-be state exactly up front what their budget is, what the absolute limit they can spend on increases will be, and the precise time and date the dress must be ready to be worn walking down the aisle.
2. SHAM PLANNERS
Because of the general chaos and confusion that usually comes along with mounting a marriage celebration, a couple may naturally just want someone to do all the work for them, no questions asked.
Enter, then, a planner who promises to handle “everything” but who, in fact, does nothing but stage fake deals, hire nonexistent vendors, and skip town with all the money.
Cardinal rules, then, is: Always ask questions. Get every receipt and analyze it. Personally check in with vendors, music providers, caterers, and the facility hosting the event. Never, ever give anyone a blank check — literal or otherwise.
These days, almost anyone can create a website that convincingly makes them look like an expert photographer — you don’t even have to own a camera!
That’s exactly how scammers posing as shutterbugs can (and do) rip-off wedding parties. The fake photographer directs a customer to check out an online portfolio, charges a hefty fee upfront, and then, on the big day, is nowhere to be found.
Another camera scam involves a photographer showing up, snapping away all day, and sending out small, low-resolution proofs. They pics may seem great but the photographer suddenly jacks up his rate over agreed-upon prices in order to release the finish materials.
To avoid such catastrophes, only use photographers recommended by friends or facilities that can prove they’ve had a good experience. Read online reviews and ask questions of previous clients. Never, ever pay 100 percent up front or anything at all to a photographer you don’t meet in the flesh.
4. FAUX FLOWERS
Fake florists run scams similar to those of phony photographers. They promise breathtaking beauty, they demand full payment up front, and, on the day of the celebration, there’s nary a stem or a petal in sight.
Intense research and personal recommendations are the only way to assure your wedding will bloom with exactly the buds and branches you want — and that you pay for.
5. GIFT GRABBERS
With average wedding gifts being valued at between $50 and $250, a heap of such fancily wrapped loot on a random table provides a tremendously tempting target to a thief. All it takes to make off with an armful is walking into the venue, loading up, and smiling on the way out.
Many event facilities now actually offer a professional attendant to watch over the present pile. Be sure to check even that worker’s references, though.
Another solution is to have one person collect all the gifts and place them inside a locked room. That approach may take away from the romantic sight of gifts galore in plain view, but isn’t it more important that the newlyweds get to take those gifts home?