You’ll spend 36 whole days planning your wedding. You’ll cross your fingers and hope that your big day runs exactly to schedule. But despite your best efforts, there’s bound to be something that goes wrong on the day.
A UK survey revealed that nearly one in five couples were unhappy with at least one of the services at their wedding, but most did nothing about it.
Australian couples are forking out an average of $36,000. If you think that’s a staggering sum, some bridal publications claim the average is as high as $65,000. So when you’re spending that much money, it’s important to know that when things do go wrong, you can do something about it!
We’ve compiled the following tips to minimise wedding day dilemmas and what you should do if they occur.
Biggest wedding day expenses
The biggest costs are generally the engagement ring, venue hire, the wedding dresses and catering.
Most complained about services
The wedding services that people were most dissatisfied with were the photographer, entertainment and transport.
General tips for wedding day arrangements
- Only deal with service providers with a valid ABN.
- The Australia Consumer Law applies to wedding too. Services must be carried out with due skill and care, fit for the purposes requested and provided in a reasonable timeframe if one is not set.
- When paying deposits, use a credit card where possible to provide protection for services not delivered or not as agreed.
- Consider taking out wedding insurance which can cover cancellations/postponements, event photographs and wedding outfits.
Do I need written agreements?
Yes, get agreements in writing; you’ll thank us later. Specify any important numbers and times in writing. This includes:
- pick up times for transport;
- number of guests to be catered for;
- performance times for entertainment; and
- delivery date for the wedding dress.
OMG, something has gone wrong with my dress – help!
If your wedding dress doesn’t fit or isn’t as described, you may be entitled to a refund and compensation, depending on the circumstances. If the dressmaker requires a fitting before you take the dress home, it’s important this is done to protect your consumer rights.
Should I have our rings custom made?
When commissioning custom made jewellery, a significant component of the cost is the time and expertise of the jeweller. Be aware that custom-made engagement and wedding rings may not recoup the purchase price if sold at a later date.
I complain about my cake, wow
Yes you can, but you need a firm agreement before the day. Confirm if the cake maker will be responsible for the cake until it’s set up and in position. If so, they’re responsible for any damage until the cake has reached its final destination.
How do I ensure I’m happy with hair and makeup?
It’s best to have a run through before the day and take photos of the final look. Ensure hair and make up is done according to priority in case the service provider arrives late or runs behind schedule. Don’t leave yourself until last!
I’m spending a lot on catering, how do I ensure get good value?
Catering is one of the biggest areas of wedding complaints. Issues include, not enough food or incorrect food and beverage being served. That’s why it’s important to have everything agreed in writing. Confirm the menu and delivery times with catering on the day.
Avoiding dance floor disasters
Provide the DJ with a ‘do not play’ list that might include football team theme songs.
What can go wrong with the photographer?
When securing a photographer it’s important to agree on the minimum number of images, your requirements for style, the inclusion of certain shots and how much time will be spent taking photos to manage everyone’s expectations. Discuss shot selection with the photographer and sight photos at least once on the day.
My flowers look droopy, can I complain?
Yes, absolutely! You have the right to reject services that aren’t as agreed or not of suitable quality and request a full refund. However, if you continue to make use of the service provider, like the floral arrangements, you may only receive a partial refund. It’s best to discretely take photos of any issues that are unable to be resolved on the day to have them addressed later.
I arrived late due to my ride, now what?
Where transport was significantly delayed, you can request a refund. However, you’re unlikely to get a refund if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances such as unseasonal weather.
Handling complaints on the day
- Assign a person with the skills, temperament and understanding of your expectations to deal with issues that arise on the day. This leaves you, the happy couple, free to enjoy your moment in the spotlight.
- Tell your person to exercise discretion and avoid escalation of any complaints made on the day.
- Have your assigned person check in with service providers as the wedding progresses.
- Where the issue can be resolved, discuss the problem with the service provider straight away. These issues may include:
- incorrect or substandard flowers delivered;
- a lack of food for guest;
- incorrect wine/champagne being served;
- inappropriate playlists from a DJ;
- issue with the cake; or
- seating plan not as agreed.
- Where the issue cannot be resolved immediately, have your person take photos discretely to have the issue addressed later.
Post wedding complaints
- Where you’re unhappy with a service provider, contact them shortly after the event and discuss the issue. Suggest a remedy that you’d be happy to accept, such as a partial refund.
- If your wedding photos are missing, damaged, or not of good quality, you should be able to claim a refund.
- If your photographs do not arrived in a reasonable time after the wedding, contact the photographer in writing and specify the delivery date you require.
- Take photos of your wedding dress and care label before it is dry-cleaned. It’s best to visually inspect your dress before having it boxed. If it’s damaged during dry-cleaning you may be able to claim for its loss.
Had a wedding day disaster? Share it with others in the comments section below.