Avoid wedding disasters

Experts offer tips to avoid trouble

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MIAMI, Fla. - The average wedding can cost in the neighborhood of $27,000.  But at any price, couples want the day to come off without a hitch.

"This is a special time and you want it to be picture perfect," said Desiree Carreno, Vice President of Magical Plan-It Events in South Florida.

According to Angie's List, the top three wedding complaints center on bridal shops, tuxedo shops and wedding planners.

"When it came to tuxedo rental shops and bridal shops, it came down to orders not coming in on time, not being correct, so really an issue of customer service," said website founder Angie Hicks. "When it came to wedding planners, it came down to things not being completed according to the contract as well as missed deadlines."

Carreno has heard plenty of horror stories.

"I actually had a bride call me last year and her wedding planner had run off with all their money," she said.

Carreno suggests never paying for everything up front.

"If a vendor asks you to do that, walk away," said Carreno.

By making your payments in installments using a credit card, it can give you extra leverage if you need to challenge a fee.

"You also want to document everything in writing and log all of the phone calls you have with vendors," said Hicks.

When choosing the specialists involved in your wedding, Careena said don't just go by someone else's recommendation.

"You or your wedding planner needs to go see them in action at a wedding. That takes time and legwork but it will give you a true picture of how they perform," she said.

When Nance Fowler hosted a wedding for a friend, the bride insisted on using a florist without much review.

"She picked them just because she thought they were nice," said Fowler.

On the day of the wedding, the florist showed up hours late and unprepared.

"I was running around trying to get things together, and ultimately, we did," said Fowler. "The bride never knew but it was a lot of unnecessary anxiety."

Another wedding disaster can be a blown budget.  One of the biggest factors in that total cost is the number of guests.  Don't be surprised if both sets of parents want to invite everyone they've ever met, so the best advice there is to set the limit early and stick to it.

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