I recently came across an article about a Wisconsin wedding vendor who was being sued because they didn’t show up at many couples wedding or being misrepresented in what they did. In a nut shell, the article talked about the vendor taking couples money and did a no show or if he did show up, only part of his services was completed and even still, in a horrible manner.
Well, luckily in the region of the state in which we live, the Roanoke Valley, wedding vendors are very reputable and just about all are good to work with.
However, there are always someone in any wedding lineup that abuse clients, oversell their services and even take your money and run. Today, I’m going to share with you three signs to look out for when seeking any wedding vendor to hire.
Some wedding vendors offer multiple items on your wedding punch list, for example someone might offer wedding video and wedding photography, that seems somewhat normal since the two are cousin’s of each other.
But some will offer you a multitude of services that are to good to be true. An example would be a DJ service that offers wedding photography and video, then lighting, photo-booths and event planning all for some super low, bundled price that is so low that other wedding vendors simply can’t offer that.
Beware of wedding vendors that sound too good to be true. Sure, a discount or sale is normal at certain times of the year, and vendors that offer relating services are also somewhat common, take florists and reception lighting for example. But vendors that offer a spectrum of services under one umbrella can be cause for concern and asking for trouble.
Think of it this way.
If you’re at a car repair place that also doubles as a restaurant and where they make the food is the same place where they change your oil, are you going to eat there? Most likely not. You’ll drop off the car to get fixed and then eat some place where they make food.
Right, so the same applies here. If the services are too broad and the price is far below what others are offering, please think twice before you hire them.
If you hired this guy in the article and he didn’t show up, you’d be out many services, not just one.
100% Cost Up Front
Another tell-tell sign of a possible bad wedding vendor is wanting 100% funding upfront. If a wedding vendor insists that you pay them in full when you sign a contract, don’t do it.
A majority of wedding vendors have deposits, usually 25% or 50% up front, then the remaining just before the wedding, usually a week before or at the wedding day itself.
Having a deposit is normal and paying their services in full is pretty normal when you’re close to the wedding itself but asking for 100% when you sign a contract could be a tell-tell sign they’re hurting for money or a possible scam could be taking place.
There are a few exceptions such as catering and venues, but even those will not require 100% up front although they will need to be paid in full usually a few months ahead of the wedding.
What would happen if you paid a wedding photographer $2,500 up front then they skip town, pass away or simply go out of business? That’s a lot of money, so make sure you break it up into smaller, more reasonable pieces to help ensure that you’re protected financially. If you only paid half and they went out of business, you’d still be mad and upset, but you’d only be half out of the total amount. Just common sense thinking and most wedding vendors expect a deposit or payment plan.
My rule of thumb, NEVER pay more than 50% for a deposit when you sign a contract. I myself will never accept 100% at the signing of a contract.
Lack of Experience
The other sign is the lack of experience the person might have with that industry.
For example, if someone is offering DJ’s services and they’ve only been booking 6 months to a year, take a step back and think about it for a minute.
Now, all professionals at some point in their life started out as a newbie, that’s completely understandable. Take me for example.
I started out working for several years in radio and video before I started doing weddings and even so, I worked for a guy for several years before starting my own business. It just didn’t happen overnight. So, if the DJ is new to weddings for example, get their history before you sign, maybe they do DJ work at birthday parties, a local skate center or did events in general. That’s a good sign they know what they’re doing, having previous history doing something very similar.
Places like WeddingWire and The Knot are always great places to review and check, but in the instance of these brides in the article, they relied on information to book with this vendor and still got scammed.
If they just bought some cheap gear and started offering it, I’d think twice.
Something else is to check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or issues they might have. In the case of this guy, there are many.
Not all wedding vendors are bad people, in fact, most of us are great at what we do and are hard working. It’s people like this Wisconsin Wedding Photographer that give us a bad name and people like that shouldn’t be scamming others in the wedding industry or in any for that matter.