Tips for Tying the Knot

May 15, 2017

Wedding bells are in the air, and many are planning one of the most memorable days in their lives. As a time that they get to share with family and friends, all couples want their day to be flawless. In 2016, over 95,000 fiancées turned to BBB for reputable businesses to make their day special.  

“There’s no way to guarantee that mistakes won’t happen”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas. “However, doing your homework to make sure you are dealing with a reputable company and asking the right questions will greatly reduce the chance of a wedding disaster.”

BBB cautions couples to beware of one-day specials, discounts for advance payment and hidden costs that you may encounter along the way. Read contracts and ask questions before you sign anything. Be wary of vendors that ask you to pay most of the fees in advance. Ask about refund policies for deposits or prepayments.

BBB advises couples of the following common problems encountered when planning a wedding:

  • Strange or unexpected fees. Some caterers, hotels or reception venues try to charge extra for “plate splitting,” “cake-cutting” or “corkage” fees, especially if you bring in a cake or liquor purchased from another source. Ask whether any fees apply beyond the cost per person, gratuities or room rental, if applicable.

  • Dresses that don’t measure up. Brides have complained to BBB about bridal shops ordering the wrong sizes and colors of gowns as well as dresses that arrive too late for timely alterations. Make sure your order specifies new merchandise, sized to fit you and your bridesmaids. Call the shop to remind the staff of your schedule if you don’t hear by the promised time.

  • Wedding transportation problems. Common complaints about limousine service include poor customer service and rigid cancellation policies. Get details in writing. Don’t pay the entire amount in advance.

  • Musician switch. Never rely solely on a website, demo tape or phone conversation when hiring a band or other music service. Find out where you can hear the musicians play before you hire them. Ask who will actually perform at the reception and get a written commitment from the band or musician, including the amount of time they will play and costs for additional time.

  • Photographer issues. A common complaint is that the photographer doesn’t show up for the wedding or fails to deliver pictures until months after the event. Find out when and how pictures will be delivered, whether you will have the option of getting all the images on a DVD or CD, how much time you will have to choose the pictures and whether other members of your family or wedding party will have access to the pictures.

  • Floral changes. Fresh flowers are a perishable commodity, and the final bouquet or arrangements may need to change depending on what’s available on the wedding day. Make sure you spell out a minimum size or number of stems in each bouquet or arrangement. Ask how the florist will handle any last-minute substitutions and charges, especially if the value of the flowers actually used is different from the agreed-upon amount.

  • Bridal gown preservation. Some bridal shops or other businesses sell bridal gown preservation packages, including cleaning and a box- for $250 or more. Many of these packages are no more than regular dry-cleaning and a cardboard box, which may not be acid-free. Check with a reputable cleaner on the cost of cleaning and storage for your gown.

BBB wishes all engaged couples and newlyweds a long, happy and prosperous marriage.

For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline: 903-581-8373 or report it via BBB ScamTracker.