It's a common enough question with brides, indeed anyone looking to pay for services. The question is - why are there so many dodgy vendors in the wedding industry? And the answer is – there aren't. It's the same as every other industry; the vast majority are hard working professionals but there are always a few bad apples who think they can make an easy dollar and move on before they get caught.
So what can you do to make sure you aren't one of those brides who's been ripped off?
Do your research
Just because a vendor has a pretty Facebook page with 10,000 likes doesn't make them legitimate. What is their business name and is it registered? I can call myself Perfect Pop-up Weddings but that doesn't mean a thing. We need to register that name as a business. You can easily check a business name registration here:
https://www.tradingas.com.au/ (that's not the official govt site but it's easier to navigate)
Do they have an ABN? Every legitimate business needs an ABN
Do they have a website? While it's not a requirement, the vast majority of professional business people will invest in a website; it's like a business card on the internet. Check it out – is it up to date? Does it look modern or old? Do all the pages & links work? In other words is it maintained?
Social Media – that's the easy one, anyone can start a Facebook page or open a Twitter or Instagram account. Look for recent & regular posts and old ones as well - how long have they been in business? How many likes do they have? (you can have too many - some people actually buy likes to boost their page). Look for comments on their posts – you can always contact other brides that way to see that they think – if there are no comments – why not?
Reviews – do they have reviews on their Facebook page? If not why not? Do they have any google reviews? A simple name search should bring up plenty of links & references if they have been in business for a while. There can of course be fake Facebook & fake Google reviews but it's relatively easy to spot those.
Meet with the vendor
While the majority of our brides book ReliveTheDay™ without meeting us in person, if you're unsure then ask to meet your vendor and have a good chat about what you want and what they offer. We love the opportunity to get to know you a bit better too, and hear all about your plans for your big day.
Do they have a business bank account? Any money you pay should be to the business name or if you pay via Paypal, the business email.
Indeed, do they have a business email? A free Hotmail or Gmail account doesn't really look that good, does it?
Are they cheap? Every bride is working to a budget and saving money on one thing means more to spend somewhere else – but beware the low cost option. The vendor who will “beat any price” usually isn't around all that long and while you can find different pricing in every area - you get what you pay for. “My wedding video was pretty average but at least it was cheap” said no-one ever!
None of these things will guarantee that your vendor won't do the wrong thing but they will at least minimise the possibility of picking a bad one to start with.
Remember, the vast majority of businesses out there are horrified by the actions of these con-artists – in all likelihood the vendors you have chosen, or will choose, are professional operators who will do a great job – but it doesn't hurt to check does it?