Family & Relationships

10 Red Flags to Watch for When Working with Wedding Vendors

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Before you shell out any money for a reception venue, flowers, catering, a DJ and all the other components that make up a wedding day, you want to make sure that you’re working with legitimate vendors. The last thing you want is your big day in the hands of an unreliable person or shady company. Watch for these 10 red flags as you’re choosing vendors to protect yourself from losing a lot of money or having to deal with horrible service:

1. They don’t return calls or emails promptly.

If vendors aren’t great communicators before you sign a contract, chances are that won’t change after you’ve signed on the dotted line and given them money. If a vendor doesn’t get back to you within 48 hours max, cross them off the list.

2. You can’t find much about them online — or the only thing you can find are negative reviews.

Most wedding vendors have some sort of online presence these days. Even an amateur DJ should have a Facebook business page where people can leave reviews. If they don’t have a website (or the website looks old and outdated), you might want to consider how committed they are to their business. If there aren’t any reviews of their services online, you will want to ask them why. And if all you can find are negative reviews, you should question this as well.

3. Their prices seem too good to be true.

If prices are much lower than competitors’ it may be a tempting offer, but it should be a red flag. Maybe they use subpar products or questionable staff … whatever the case, anything outside of the industry standard in your area should be questioned.

4. They can’t answer questions about the industry.

If they are unsure about what permits need to be obtained or filed, for example, this is a sign of inexperience. You want someone who can tell you what others have done and walk you through exactly what you — and the vendor — will need to do to make sure everything goes smoothly and is up to industry standards and codes.

5. They can’t provide required documents.

Things like insurance or a liquor license are required for certain vendors. If they don’t want to show you proof of these documents, don’t risk it.

6. They don’t listen to you.

If they aren’t interested in hearing your preferences and working with you, ask yourself if this is really someone you want to be in charge of a significant part of your wedding day.

7. Other vendors (or previous clients) speak negatively of them.

Let’s say you’ve decided on your reception venue and you’re talking to the coordinator there about caterers. If he or she tells you to steer clear of a certain vendor, take this into consideration! And if you hear stories around town about “so-and-so worked with that photographer and had to wait eight months to get photos back…” think carefully before moving forward.

8. You can only pay in cash.

A discount for paying in cash is one thing, but if the ONLY way a vendor lets you pay is in cash (e.g., they don’t want the paper trail) this should be a huge red flag to you.

9. Their contract is hard to understand.

Maybe it’s so vague that you can barely tell what day or time they are agreeing to provide their services. Or maybe it has so much fine print about additional (hidden) costs that your head is spinning. Either way, if you can’t have it explained to you in plain English, you should ask an attorney to review the contract before signing anything.

10. Something just doesn’t feel right.

Finally, if you meet this person (and make sure you do meet face-to-face with all vendors!) and you just get a strange vibe from him or her, pay attention to it. We know it might sound a little silly, but you should always trust your gut. If you’re questioning whether this person is going to be reliable or trustworthy …. don’t settle!

Planning and paying for a wedding is great preview for all the different legal and financial matters you could encounter after you’re married. Learn more about how to protect you and your family both for today and for the future.

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