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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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BBB Tip of the Week: It’s March, let the wedding planning begin

By Tyler Russell BBB Northwest and Pacific

Wedding planning season is kicking into high gear with March’s arrival, especially for Washington lovebirds planning 2020 nuptials.

Bridal events around the state are cropping up to help you pick vendors. But with recent headlines about the chain of NOAH’s event centers abruptly closing across the nation and costing couples thousands of dollars, wedding planning can seem downright scary. Here at the Better Business Bureau, we have taken reports of consumers losing, on average, $4,386 to NOAH’s, with many couples without a backup venue for their wedding.

With so many details to work out and options for choosing just the right vendor for clothes, invitations, flowers, photography, reception hall, catering, music, travel packages, etc., it’s easy to get overwhelmed before you get started.

We’ve put together some tips to help you plan and execute your wedding.

Decide what style of wedding you want and begin planning as far ahead as possible. Many books, magazines and websites offer ideas as well as checklists and timetables to keep you organized.

Research businesses you are considering working with. Always start at bbb.org when you’re researching a vendor. We’ll give you the good, bad and otherwise on a company.

Make sure you’re also getting referrals by talking to other couples about their experiences. Since most services and merchandise must be purchased or ordered months in advance, you want to deal with well-established and financially stable businesses that will still be around when your wedding day approaches. Wedding vendors often know the reputations of other vendors and can offer great referrals.

Review samples of the service provider’s work before booking. For example, attend performances of a band or DJ at another event. Check vendors’ social media accounts to see recent wedding photos and videos. Sample menu items, if possible, and check out display flower arrangements or photo portfolios.

Find out what the company’s return policy is and ask for it in writing. If you end up with 200 lanterns you never used, can you return them? If you didn’t eat with those tiny cocktail forks, can you get a refund?

If a deposit is required, find out in advance whether any portion of a deposit is refundable and under what terms. Be sure to get these terms and conditions in writing. Remember, to put down only as much as you can afford to lose.

Obtain a written contract for everything. The various contracts should identify exactly what is included and not included in the price. Be particularly clear about the policies and penalties for canceling or changing your plans. Also, find out if the business might make substitutions for what you requested and what will be extra.

Confirm all services one or two weeks prior to the event. You don’t want unpleasant surprises on your wedding day.

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