Planning a wedding

November 25, 2013

Weddings typically involve numerous business transactions for wedding clothes, invitations, flowers, photography, reception hall, catering, music, transportation, and travel packages. Since the average wedding costs more than $15,000, Better Business Bureau advises engaged couples and their families to make wise consumer decisions when planning a wedding, as at other times. The following suggestions can prevent problems before, after, or during your wedding:

Research businesses you are considering working with. Check with your BBB for a business review on the company and talk to other couples to learn about their experiences. Since many services and merchandise must be purchased or ordered months in advance you want to deal with well established and financially stable businesses that will still be around when your wedding day nears. Don't just hire the least expensive company.

Review samples of the service provider's work before booking. For example, attend performances of the band or DJ at another event. Look at photo albums or videotapes done for other couples. Get descriptions of or try to sample menu items and check out samples of flower arrangements. Obtain a written contract for everything. The various contracts should delineate exactly what is included and not included in the price. As well any particulars relating to deposits should be detailed on the contract. For example, will the caterer or reception hall provide dinnerware, linens, chairs, and tables? Does the price of the photos include engagement pictures, an album, or proofs? Does the contract from the florist include delivery and set up times? Be particularly clear about the policies and penalties for canceling or changing your plans. Also find out if the business might make substitutions for what you requested.