Monday, April 6, 2009

Vendor Fraud :: Do Your Homework

I don't normally blog about the 'Dark Side' of the Wedding Planning Industry, but I had such a compelling phone call from a Mother of a Bride last week, that I've decided to share her horrific story.

By reading this, I hope no other Bride + her family will have to walk the same path.

This woman's lovely daughter is getting married later in 2009, and she was now looking just for Wedding Day Coordination. {Unfortunately, Go2Girl Events is already booked on her daughter's wedding day}

We ended up having a 20 minute conversation though, about all that they had been through during the last 3 months of 2008.

The Bride to Be felt she'd really done her homework on researching and choosing a Wedding Planner, having done plenty of Internet Research, viewing the planner's site multiple times, and speaking on the phone.
They met in person, where a contract was exchanged, and the bride paid a 50% deposit {$2500} to the planner.

This planner {who's name the Mother of the Bride never shared} had advertising in the all the 'right spots', and had plenty of pictures of past weddings on their website.

This planner then contacted the Bride to Be ~ 2 weeks after payment, to share that she wouldn't be able to help plan her wedding in the end.
The planner explained that she normally only does very 'upscale' weddings, and that the Bride's $50,000 budget wouldn't suffice.

The planner further explained that she was going to work on another wedding the same weekend, that was much more elaborate. {A Winery location in Eastern Washington}.

No, I'm not making this up. These are the details that were shared with me over the phone.

What is even MORE stunning, is what happened after that.

The planner promised that the $2500 deposit would be returned in a timely manner. Needless to say, the Bride to Be + her family have failed to see one dime returned.

The Bride's family filed a grievance with the Better Business Bureau {which the planner was a member of - as it's a fee-based organization}, and the Washington State Attorney General's Office.

There has yet to be any financial resolution, but the toll it's taken on the Bride + Groom, as well as their family has been extensive.

This is to be one of the happiest experiences in a family's life, to share in the planning of a Wedding.

The Mother of the Bride said that the family took a 3 month hiatus from all things Wedding, as they were completely devastated.

So, what can you do to not fall into this trap?

#1 - Trust your gut. A bride should never feel rushed to sign + pay the day of the initial meeting.
#2 - Check + recheck for a businesses validity and reputation.
#3 - Ask for references {past clients, even vendors they’ve worked with}.
#4 - Review the contract with a fine tooth comb. If there's a clause in there that you don't agree with, ask that there be an addendum created.

Remember that you're in the Driver's Seat.
Make decisions that you're comfortable with.

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