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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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BBB: Before you say ‘I do,’ do your homework

By Kirstin Davis BBB Marketplace Director

Wedding season is coming up and it is big business. On average the wedding industry generates $72 billion a year. This includes gowns, music, venue, invitations and favors. With so many options out there for couples it can be easy to fall prey to scammers wanting to cash in on your big day. And while tears are expected at weddings, the Better Business Bureau wants to ensure those are tears of joy and not of frustration.

BBB serving the Northwest has received nearly 28,000 wedding industry inquiries in the past year. The majority of the complaints made in the wedding industry are on businesses who handle wedding supplies and services.

Scammers often times target engaged couples because they’re willing to spend more and be emotionally influenced while planning their weddings. And for those who forgo a wedding planner it can get difficult when hiring vendors, finding a venue and buying a gown.

BBB offers the following tips before saying “I do.”

Beware of fake vendors. Every year, couples shell out cash to DJs, photographers and bakers who don’t show up. Before deciding whom to hire, research companies by reading reviews on bbb.org.

Get it in writing. Make sure all services are documented in signed contracts including date, time and payment terms.

Wedding Insurance. You might consider purchasing insurance to cover unexpected financial losses related to your wedding.

Watch out for home burglars. Wedding announcements in newspapers, on wedding websites and social media give would-be thieves information on when couples won’t be home, and sometimes even their addresses. Couples can limit the risk by locking up valuables before leaving for their honeymoon and asking a neighbor to stop by regularly.

Don’t get conned into buying a counterfeit gown. Imitation dresses often look exactly like the designer ones online, but are actually made of cheap materials, less elaborate and poorly constructed. Sometimes, the dress never even arrives. To avoid fakes, look for authorized retailers on the designer’s website and buy from BBB Accredited bridal shops.

Make sure happily ever after doesn’t start with lost money and heartache. Anyone who feels they may be a victim of a scam should report it to their local law enforcement and with BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.

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