Most complained about wedding services

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We all want the big wedding day to go smoothly.  But, bridal shops, tuxedo rental and wedding planners all made repeat appearances on Angie's Lists' "Most Complained about Categories" list for 2011.

Grades on Angie's List are based on overall experience, price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality and professionalism.

Common complaints with bridal shops/tuxedo rental:

  • Issues with ordering
  • Poor customer service
  • Problems with alterations/measurements

Common complaints with wedding planners:

  • Contract disputes – agreed upon services were not honored
  • Planner was unresponsive
  • Deadlines were not met

Angie's List talked to highly-rated wedding professionals who say managing expectations and a little pre-planning will help you as the big day approaches.

Angie's List Tips: How to get quality wedding service

  1. Work with a reliable company: Look for someone with experience in providing services for numerous weddings. Is the company helpful and professional? Check review sites such as Angie's List and ask for recommendations from family and friends.
  2. Develop a budget: Weddings can be costly. It's important to develop a budget before you talk with vendors. A good reputable company will map out a plan to meet your price point. In addition, you'll get better customer service if you are upfront about your budget, rather than wasting time trying on dresses or visiting venues you can't possibly afford.
  3. Read the fine print: Before you sign anything, ask and make sure you understand deposits, fees, terms, conditions, store policies, etc.
  4. Do not pay in full: Put down the minimum deposit on a credit card and stretch out the rest of the payments until your order is complete. Pay with a credit card, so you can file a claim dispute if necessary.
  5. Document everything: Your best defense in case something goes wrong is documentation. From phone calls to emails – keep a record of who you talked to and when. 
  6. Don't delay: Don't wait until the last minute to hire vendors. Once you have researched and found reputable companies to work with, make and effort to communicate them about your plans. The best professionals typically book up far in advance.

"The average wedding these days is over $20,000 so being sure that you are taking your time and documenting well all the services you are hiring is very important," says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. 

Bridal shop manager Tracy Moore offers more advice for those planning their weddings.

"When a bride goes into to try on wedding gowns couple pieces of advice first of all if you can avoid bringing a lot of people with you. It's best to start out small. Sometimes that is impossible everyone wants to come in with you, but if you can limit it to just 2 or 3 really close family and friends I think that is best," says Moore.

She also says it's important to figure out what you want.

"Shopping for wedding gowns can be very overwhelming so I like to have a bride narrow down her silhouettes first which means the style of gown she is choosing. There are just about 5 or 6 actual silhouettes of gowns whether it is a ball gown or trumpet style. I like to help her narrow down her silhouette first that eliminates the need to continue to try on ball gowns when what she is really looking for is a slim trumpet shape," advises Moore.

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