Don't get carried away at bridal fairs and expos designed to help future brides and bridegrooms plan for their big day, warns the Better Business Bureau.
"Love is definitely in the air but so is the start of a busy wedding planning season," says Lynda Pasacreta, BBB president and CEO. "If you are planning to attend a wedding show, make sure you are organized in advance."
If you plan to attend a bridal show, your Better Business Bureau offers these helpful tips:
Consider creating a new email to keep track of all of the special offers and electronic newsletters you're likely to receive as a result of registering for and attending a bridal fair. A separate email account also helps reduce high volumes of email in your personal inbox.
Take a notebook or pad and pen to jot down information on something you see that you hadn't thought of or the name of the designer of a wedding gown you see during the fashion show. A camera can be helpful, too.
Before falling in love with a vendor and their services, ask if the company is available for your wedding date. Also ask whether the special packages and pricing being offered at the bridal event are available after the show as well. Be careful of high-pressure sales tactics to make you commit to a product or service on the spot.
Bring someone you trust who is not as emotionally and financially connected to the wedding planning as you. This individual may provide a different, yet helpful, perspective when talking with vendors and visiting booths.
Research the vendor before signing a contract. The goal of a bridal expo vendor is to make connections, get exposure and attract the right brides for their services. However, future brides and bridegrooms should take the time to check out wedding vendors' reputations in the industry and can start by reading the vendor's BBB Business Review at mbc.bbb.org.
Get all sales promises in writing, including specific dates, products, prices, name brands, etc. Make sure all oral agreements are included in the written contract. Cancellation policies should also be included.
Because you can dispute the charges, credit cards offer consumers added protection in the event of a problem. Cheques and cash don't offer this protection.