Wise words

Planning a wedding is a time-intensive and often stressful process that requires a great deal of research. To help you plan your perfect wedding, the Alaska Better Business Bureau offers the following tips:

Plan in advance

The easiest way to avoid getting scammed is to give yourself enough time to properly investigate vendors. This will make you less likely to make a decision you may later regret.

Location, location, location

Many wedding venues deal with numerous caterers, florists, DJs, photographers and videographers, or they may require you to use preset vendors. Ask questions; they may have more insight on who provides good customer service.

Look at your vendors’ previous work

Photographers aren’t the only ones with portfolios – caterers, florists and wedding cake bakers have them too. Ask to see photographs of previous work or, in the case of wedding planners, ask for sample itineraries. If a vendor is hesitant to provide this, there may be a reason, so ask questions.

Contact references

Many vendors provide references, so get in touch with them. Ask them how their experience was with the vendor, and what problems, if any, they experienced. If they had a problem, ask how the vendor handled it.

Ask for a dry run

Caterers, wedding cake bakers and DJs will give you samples of their work before you have to make a commitment. DJs will provide sample song-lists for the event, while caterers and wedding cake bakers will provide food samples to make sure they’ve got what you’re looking for.

Contract details

Get everything in writing and always read the entire document. Just because a contract has been printed doesn’t mean changes cannot be made before signing. Never give more than 50 percent as a deposit. Ask the vendors what they will do if you have to cancel the event. Ask if you will receive a full refund if you need to cancel, and how much notice you need to give.

Have a backup plan

Even if your backup plan is as simple as having a small stereo and digital camera on-site, be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Your backups might not be as good as the real thing, but it’s better than nothing.

Consult your local BBB

Go to www.bbb.org to get a free reliability report on the vendors you are considering. These reports provide valuable information on companies. For more information, call the BBB in Alaska at 907-562-0704.