Would you pay $33,000 for your wedding? According to a survey on www.i-do.com.au that is the average investment couples are making these days!
That’s as much as you’d pay for a brand new family car or even a house deposit!
Planning a wedding is a wonderful, exciting time but excitement can blow your budget if you are not careful. Here are 11 strategies that will help you avoid spending too much or being taken advantage of.
1) Remember, the Number One Rule in investment or business applies to weddings as well…
“Never invest more than you can afford to lose”
2) Time frame. The earlier you plan, the better. Pencil in check-in dates with your providers to keep them on track. Last minute short-cuts create potential disasters such as dress seams coming apart.
Early planning gives you time to compare quotes so you don’t get overcharged. Remember, as soon as you say “Wedding” a premium is added to the price, even for a blow-wave!
3) Recommendations: Ask your friends, family and workmates about who they used for various services providers and were they happy? Often venues or providers will provide recommendations too.
4) Due-Diligence: How long have they been in operation? A “combined 10 years experience” means nothing if they have 6 people involved including their mother and the family pet. You want to know the experience of the actual person serving you.
Can you speak with previous clients? (Remember, they are not going to refer you to the unhappy ones)
See if they are listed on ASIC’s banned director’s list.
Google them for reviews.
A wedding planner can be a helpful resource because they usually have established, reliable providers. Of course the wedding planner could be dodgy too.
Ask for their resume or CV as well as examples of their work. Fly-by-nighters will not have these or wish to give them.
Remember, you are employing these people, even if only for 1 day.
Ask them to provide a statement of solvency from their accountant.
5) Budget. Don’t spend more than you can afford, but also don’t expect great quality from a budget provider. At the lower end, talent is a bonus. Deposits are usually non-refundable so choose carefully before committing. Do not pay in full until required.
Beware of utilizing Uncle Harry to save money, if it goes wrong it can cause a big family rift.
Don’t get carried away by smooth talking salespeople. It’s called up-selling. Sometimes they will offer something unrealistic as an up-sell. You pay and they cannot deliver. Some providers will say “yes we can do that!” just to get the business and hope they can pull it off.
Who is paying for what? Be clear about this if your family has promised to help out.
6) Trust account: With weddings costing tens of thousands, it would be wise to utilize a solicitor’s trust account until the wedding. This can protect the provider too because they are often ripped off by couples who will leave a deposit and then run out of money.
A wedding or trust account is a good place to put money promised by family. If alcoholic Auntie Sue promises to “pay for the drinks”, get the money well before hand in case it’s not forthcoming when required.
Only ever pay providers a deposit to start with.
7) Backup Plan: Ask the service provider what their back-up strategy is if something goes wrong.
Do they have insurance?
8 ) Get it in writing and read the fine print: Be very clear about what you are getting, what you are not getting and any optional extras.
For example, who will be the actual person serving you? Leading photographers sometimes send along underlings in their place. Read the contract, is the person named? What back up strategy do they have if the person leaves the company or otherwise cannot be there?
Is the provider contracting out the job? If so, consider where that leaves you if the secondary company does not perform?
Using a DJ? Choose the songs or check the list to make sure it’s compatible with your celebration.
9) Make-up and hair: Have a full make-up and hair rehearsal months earlier so you are happy with your look. If you are happy, get the contact details of the actual consultant in case they leave the salon. Require the salon to give a complimentary 2nd rehearsal if a replacement consultant is required.
10) Stick to your plan. If you must change your mind, put it in writing so the relevant provider is up to date with your latest whim. Dressmakers invest in material so if you change your mind or dramatically change your weight, expect to pay extra.
11) Be flexible: Not everything is going to go as planned. Have a sense of humour. Often our fondest memories are of things that go wrong. Who knows, you might have something worthy of Funniest Home Videos.