As much as I am an advocate for landing yourself a great wedding bargain, some caution does need to be exercised when preparing for your big day.
Professional scammers have of course, cottoned on to the huge cost of weddings and the potential financial gain they could get from wedding day deception.
Police have recently stated that wedding scams are on the rise with 600 reported in the past six months alone, so it’s best to be on your guard when booking your big day. Crimes relate to venues, catering, dresses and other crucial services sold online.
So what can you look out for to insure you don’t fall prey to this kind of scam?
Well nothing is ever completely fool proof and the first thing to consider is that scammers are good at what they do, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking, ‘no that wouldn’t happen to me, i’d know’. No, you wouldn’t. If scammers weren’t good, they wouldn’t get very far. They’re often convincing characters, they might come across as really lovely but of course they will, they’re trying to dupe you.
Common scams include taking money for dressing venues and seemingly pocketing the majority of the money, leaving you with a very basic, sparsely dressed room. Imagine paying for champagne and getting basic value lemonade. Yep, not cool.
Then there are scams where couples have purchased a buffet package from unscrupulous vendors, then when they have turned up they have been served basic custard cream biscuits and doughnuts still in supermarket packaging.
Wedding dresses feature as another scam, particularly online. Seemingly ‘real’ dress designers charge up to £1000 for a ‘bespoke’ wedding dress, only for the bride to be devastated on arrival when it’s realised that really it’s a dress from the Chinese online marketplace retailing at around £100.
I’ve put together a list of things you can do to help safe guard against falling for one of these scams:
- Do your research. Sounds obvious enough, but check out your suppliers’ credentials, do they have a big long list of satisfied feedback from their customers? If they don’t, start thinking why.
- Ask for proof of previous work, that means genuine photographs of previous work. It’s also worth looking at Google Images and having a check that the photographs you have been sent haven’t just been lifted from the first page. Equally, Pinterest can be a good place to check out images as it’s an easy place to steal images from.
- Make sure you visit your venue. If it’s a wedding venue you are booking, make sure you go and see it in person, don’t just book it blind, in case there are pitfalls you really weren’t expecting.
- If an image looks too good to be true, just think that there is a possibility that it could be.
- Ask around, personal recommendations go a long way. If you know somebody who has had a good experience with a particular venue or supplier, it’s worth a lot.
- Pay on credit card. We all know we’re best doing this when it comes to booking a holiday, but extend this to booking your wedding. If you have the misfortune to come across a fraudster while planning your wedding, with a credit card you can potentially recall the payment, something which you could end up being very thankful for. Paying via credit card, leaves you with better legal protection.
- Look for trusted sources such as suppliers associated with trusted wedding sites or recommended by credible bloggers and influencers.
- Check out Google Street View. If you have a venue address, check it out on Google Street View and check it is what you thought it would be.
- Google suppliers and see what others are saying about them. You can usually guarantee, when people are unhappy about something, they like to shout about it. So check what other people are saying, it might just save you from falling victim.
- Price is often a good indication of quality. Not always admittedly but if something is dramatically less than the usual market price, question why. Yes, you could have just found yourself bargain of the century but just do a bit more research and check all is above board before you accept it as Good Luck.
So there you have it, as I say, it’s not fool proof but you can do yourself a lot of favours by being savvy and just simply questioning things that seem too good to be true.