Wedding Services Back in the News - Don't Get Ripped Off

Wedding Services Back in the News – Don’t Get Ripped Off

March 13, 2013 |  by  |  News

Last month, a media release on weddings was released by the Department of Fair Trading and included both warning and tips for engaged couples. The warnings were about paying too much, getting ripped off and tips on how you can avoid it happening to you. The article also talks about the high number of wedding related complaints.

I read the media release and had to re-read it to make sure they weren’t simply trying to generate some media attention for their media release. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I make out to be a total contradiction from one half of the article to the next. Truth be told, I believe the whole thing is a joke.

I’ve split the media release into parts to give my thoughts. The Fair Trading piece is in “green”, while my comments and text will remain black. There is a link to the complete article at the bottom of my post or you can jump to it here.

Make marital ends meet: get a good wedding deal

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said brides and grooms should shop around for the best deals, don’t be frightened to negotiate and if there are opportunities to source goods and services without using the W word, then do so to get a better deal.

Mr Stowe said brides and grooms and any other consumer buying wedding products and services should think smart and shop smart to save dollars.

I have no problem with couples or anyone looking to save money on anything they do or purchase but one major problem with wedding related services is the issue of comparing “apples with apples” – so many options for your wedding day are subjective and difficult to compare at all.

How do you compare two wedding celebrants for your wedding based purely on price? You can’t. It’s not until you meet one celebrant charging $300 and another $1000 before you can really make any comparison at all. Choosing any service on price alone may see you a little “shocked” on your wedding day.

Hunter Valley Wedding Photography

I had to laugh when I first read this contradictory media release from Fair Trading.

What about wedding photographers – choosing on price may not see you with the wedding photos or experience that you want. It’s a matter of working out where your desires lay and making a decision from there. Is it a photography budget you are working to or are you looking for a certain quality from you wedding photography?

I wrote a short post on exactly this: Wedding Photography, 3 Choices, You Can Only Have 2.

Once you have your budget sorted, it’s possible to actually start comparing services in the same category. Shopping for the best price will simply not work when it comes to your wedding.

“Weddings are a bit like Christmas and Easter,” he said. “Prices on products like flowers, accommodation, dining and hire costs can increase.

This paragraph is ridiculous and whoever actually wrote this has done no research.

Take flowers and your wedding florist for example. Prices on the actual flowers do not go up with a wedding, the time to wire each individual flower however, will need to be taken into account when your florist gives you a quote.

You can try ordering flowers without mentioning the “w” word only to find your beautiful bouquet is looking very sorry and droopy after only part of your day.

Central Coast Wedding Photography

Can you imagine booking a service for your wedding and not mentioning it’s for a wedding? If so, how can you be upset if you don’t get what you expected?

Did you know that your wedding florist may make 2-3 separate visits to the flower markets leading up to your wedding day just to get the quality and style of flowers you’d like for your big day?

Want to learn exactly what goes onto preparing your wedding flowers, have a look at what  Tanya from Angel Blooms, one of the Central Coasts leading wedding florists has to say: Central Coast Wedding Florists, All Your Questions Answered.

If you do live on the Central Coast, Newcastle or the Hunter Valley and are planning a local wedding and want to make some great savings on the exact services you actually want to book, make sure you get hold of The Wedding Discount Card.

“To make marital ends meet, from the start, get a good deal on your wedding. Check refund policies, check into the history and background of businesses you are dealing with, get valid testimonials and make sure you get agreements in writing.

“Fair Trading does not control pricing in the market, so consumers have to be shrewd and careful. If people feel like they have been thwarted in getting their rights under the Australian Consumer Law they should bring a complaint to Fair Trading, online or at any Fair Trading Centre.”

Yes, I agree with this section on checking history, backgrounds and testimonials.

Terrigal Haven wedding photography

Yes, you do need to check and read all contracts before booking any service for your wedding. If you don’t understand anything, ask! If you don’t agree, ask to have it stricken from the contract, dated and initialled by you and the supplier.

NSW Fair Trading received 487 complaints about wedding related products and services in 2012.

The top ten wedding complaints in 2012, by products and services were:

  1. Retail – Clothing, footwear, accessories, jewellery
  2. Photography and video
  3. Travel and tourism
  4. Catering services
  5. Hairdressing and beauty
  6. Entertainment (including bookings)
  7. Motels, hotels and resorts
  8. Discount vouchers & coupons
  9. Laundry and dry cleaning
  10. Motor vehicle transport equipment rental and hire

Discount vouchers included complaints about a wedding cake, hairdressing services, accommodation given as a wedding present, canvas prints of wedding photos, suits hired for a wedding and DVD copies of VHS wedding tapes.

Complaints about bridal gowns often relate to made-to-order dresses being ill-cut, with poor stitching or beading, or not matching the colour, material or design specifications ordered. Fair Trading also receives complaints about delays in delivery of made-to-order dresses, with some brides having little or no time for alterations.

All this is what has me scratching my head in regards to this media release. The first half talks about getting the best deal, lying about your intentions to pay less, don’t use the “w” word while the next section talks about the rising complaints about wedding related services.

Maybe, just maybe, if couples didn’t follow the advice given in the first half of this article, the number of complaints wouldn’t be on the increase.

Surely, if couples are looking to get the cheapest possible everything for their wedding they can’t expect to get the same quality and satisfaction of using a more expensive, more experienced, more established…. BETTER service provider?

I can just see it now, lets stay with the wedding florist analogy, you place an order for your wedding bouquets but you fail to mention they are for a wedding to get a cheaper price. Your wedding day comes around and your flowers are limp and lifeless immediately after your ceremony after not standing up to the heat and constant handling.

You’re all upset because the flowers either can’t be used in any wedding photos and after your honeymoon you raise a complaint with Fair Trading. Hmm, does that sound fair to you or for the wedding florist who was lied to?

North Avoca wedding photography

If you want your wedding to be a walk in the park, without the dramas afterwards, consider your wedding like any other purchase you’ve ever made… You get what you pay for.

Photography is expensive and important for the perfect wedding. Delays in photographers delivering proofs, edited footage or the final ordered package are common complaints reported to Fair Trading. Other photography and videography complaints include poor quality of images, or poor choice in images the photographer captured.

Yes, “Photography is expensive and important for the perfect wedding” hence the reason to check testimonials, reputation and don’t shop purely on price. Sadly, wedding photography is seen like the perfect part-time earner for many hobbyist/amateur photographers who ruin what should be a great reputation of the skilled professional wedding photographers.

I have 100% trust that any of my wedding photographer friends on the Central Coast will all go above and beyond when it comes to delivering great images on time every time.

If you are in any doubt about choosing a good wedding photographer, read this article before making your decision to save yourself a crappy experience on your wedding day and for years afterwards knowing you booked a wedding photographer with a ” poor choice in images they captured”: Stop, Do Not Book A Wedding Photographer Until You Read This

Central Coast wedding photographers

The LAST thing any reputable wedding supplier wants is problems after the wedding. That’s exactly why the reputable suppliers go above and beyond to make your day perfect.

Ill-fitting or poorly-set wedding rings are another wedding headache. Complaints about reception venues often relate to deposits not being returned after cancellations. Hire vehicles arriving late (or not at all) are a problem.

Dirty cars and vehicles with mechanical problems also give cause for complaint.

To save repeating myself in regard to the last two paragraphs, see my comment on choosing your photographer above – I feel the same way about picking your jeweller or wedding car hire company.

As mentioned above, here is a link to The Original Article by Fair Trading.

Love to hear your thoughts on the Media Release… have I got it all wrong?

Download Our Wedding Price List - Right Now

8 Comments


  1. I think the article is a beat up, but… I also think you may be thinking everyone is as honest as yourself. I would like to think I was more than a hobbiest, but obviously not a professional. My prices will reflect that. But there are a lot of people out there, especially in the wedding industry who inflate their prices and their service is not perhaps at that level…and they know they can get away with it.
    Im not sure how you would go about booking anything for a wedding without mentioning the W word. That is ridiculous!
    Its a poorly written press release, but I think the crux of it (other than the lying about what your booking service for)is to get people to research who they are dealing with.
    Which I think is what you are trying to say too.
    Maybe??
    But I guarantee there are many people out there getting massively ripped off.
    Don’t you think?

  2. Hi Aleisha, thanks for commenting.

    Yep, agreed that some businesses will inflate their price above their ability. Hopefully couples DO compare suppliers work with similarly priced suppliers in the same category to avoid being caught out.

    If the reason for the article id to encourage due diligence on the part of the couple, I’m all for that but what a terrible way to go about publicising it. As you say, telling people to not mention it’s a wedding is only lining them up for more complaints and dissatisfaction.

    I’m not sure about the massively ripped off thing – if so, I don’t think it’d be restricted to couples planning their wedding. If a business is truly trying to rip someone off, they are dishonest, fraudulent and should be dealing with police, not weddings. I imagine some suppliers believe they are much better than they really are and that would definitely cause problems.

    How do couples avoid paying too much or being ripped off. Research every supplier before booking – I think that would be the only way. That and check everything you sign, before you sign… carefully.

  3. Hello Andrew,

    to all the weddings I went to, awesome service, amazing photos and the best memories. So in terms of quality complaints, I cannot comment. I do believe though that some services try to make more money out of it, just like they would for a big anniversary. And I guess we cannot blame them. One should compare for all bigger investments, and the most do, that is why competitive prices with good services usually win.

    Maybe that press released is based on a personal experience, and nothing else?!?

  4. Like you have said, doing your research is a big part of not getting ripped off.

    I mean if you buy electronics, do you just go with your feeling, or do you read countless reviews first.

    The same thing should apply when you hire anyone for your weddings.

    Maybe it is just me.

  5. Totally agree Iain, you’re definitely not the only one thinking that way!
    Thanks for commenting.

  6. Agreed Janje – comparing prices between similarly priced vendors once a budget is set is the way to go.
    Great to hear about all your wonderful wedding experiences, just the way it should be every-time!
    Thanks for commenting.

  7. Before I will engage and commit anyone’s service may it be photography or food or other stuff, I’ll make sure that I have done my research, I like what I saw and it’s within my budget. If what I choose seemed a rip-off for others, that’s they’re opinion. If I can afford and is happy (and the people that matters to me are happy) of what I like to be done during the very special day of my life, then I’ll go ahead and hire a very good photographer.

  8. Thanks Miraflor – totally agree and this is exactly what I do before any purchase or booking too.

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