How to avoid wedding scams especially in these uncertain times

Published September 24, 2021, 4:40 PM

by Noel Pabalate

A video of a bride crying outside their supposed wedding reception after they were scammed by their wedding planner last Wednesday, September 22, 2021 went viral. According to the newlyweds’ photographer Jesson Argabio, the bride Cherry Pie was already satisfied with all the reviews she saw on Facebook about the coordinator Naser Fuentes so she decided to book her.

Jesson Argabio also told Manila Bulletin Lifestyle that he has already worked with Naser before. And although he hasn’t experienced bad dealings with Nacer until Wednesday, he heard some rumors about payment delays to other suppliers but not scamming couples. Apparently, it’s Naser’s first time.

Anyway, if you’re about to get married during these trying times, where you want to spend your savings well, how can you really avoid being scammed? Here are some tips you can follow, so you would end up crying for joy, at least.

Photos by Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Ask for recommendations. If there are people who would really want you to be happy on your wedding day, they are no other than your close and trusted friends, family, and relatives. So you can start asking them if they could recommend suppliers and wedding coordinators that are already tested and proven. And who knows you’ll get a good discount if they are related with your friends?

Do your research online. Before booking a wedding organizer you are considering to hire, do your research. A legit one should have a website or at least a social media page on Facebook or Instagram. Check for ratings, reviews, and comments about their past services. Google their business name with the words “complaint” or “scam” to check any negative history. Gather more information through their previous clients and list of suppliers who you can private message online. Also, look for their physical address so that you would know where to go if things go south.

Be very vigilant. During these uncertain times, you have to be vigilant to avoid possible scams. So when talking to coordinators, don’t give away your trust at once. Don’t hesitate to ask for identification. Listen if they can communicate professionally. And don’t be shy to ask many questions concerning your wedding to know if they are really well-experienced and also knowledgeable about weddings during the quarantine period.

Doubt “Too Good To Be True” offers. Wedding scammers will always offer sweet deals, including big discounts and lots of freebies, to capture your vulnerability. Remember that if their offer is significantly lower than the standard market price, it’s more likely a fraud. Or, the quality of service is very cheap too and unsatisfying. But if you are interested in biting the bait, it’s just right to ask why the cost is cheaper than other suppliers so you can gauge if it’s a trap or not.

Photos by Sam Lion / Pexels

Watch out for red flags. You will know along the way that the planner is a scammer if he/she will ask for a hefty deposit more than 50 percent of the total cost; if he/she will ask for advance payment outside your written agreement; if he/she doesn’t attend on your scheduled meetings; and if he/she doesn’t’ answer calls, messages, and emails promptly.

Meet with the suppliers. If you opt for a wedding planner who offers an all-in package, ask him/her to set an appointment with the suppliers before sealing the deal. If they’re are quarantine restrictions, meet them online. Get acquainted and discuss your expectations and other matters that the coordinators have mentioned during your initial meeting.

Ask for an official receipt and contract. Bear in mind that it’s a golden rule that you have to put your agreement into writing. Apart from securing an official receipt upon booking, make sure to have a copy of the contract, which should contain all the important details like names, dates, time, venues, contact infos, and fees. And before signing, double check what’s written in the contract, especially the terms and conditions.