Angie's List | Most complained about wedding services

Bridal shops , tuxedo rental and wedding planners all made repeat appearances on Angie's Lists' "Most Complained about Categories" list for 2011.

Grades on Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews , are based on overall experience, price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality and professionalism.

The average wedding these days is over $20,000 so being sure that you are taking your time and documenting well all the services you are hiring is very important. So make your down payment as required as according to your contract, but don't pay everything upfront and pay with a credit card and stretch the rest of the payments out as services are rendered.

The most common complaints when it came to tuxedo rental shops and bridal shops were orders not coming in on time, problems with alterations and general customer service. When we looked at the reviews for wedding planners it came down to things not being completed according to the contract as well as missed deadlines.

Common complaints with bridal shops/tuxedo rental:

  • Issues with ordering
  • Poor customer service
  • Problems with alterations/measurements


Common complaints with wedding planners:

  • Contract disputes – agreed upon services were not honored
  • Planner was unresponsive
  • Deadlines were not met

Angie's List talked to highly-rated wedding professionals who say managing expectations and a little pre-planning will help you as the big day approaches.

"When a bride goes in to try on wedding gowns, a couple pieces of advice, first of all if you can avoid bringing a lot of people with you, it's best to start out small. Sometimes that is impossible everyone wants to come in with you, but if you can limit it to just 2 or 3 really close family and friends I think that is best," offers Bridal Shop Manager Tracy Moore.

Tracy says, "Shopping for wedding gowns can be very overwhelming so I like to have a bride narrow down her silhouettes first which means the style of gown she is choosing. There are just about 5 or 6 actual silhouettes of gowns whether it is a ball gown or trumpet style. I like to help her narrow down her silhouette first that eliminates the need to continue to try on ball gowns when what she is really looking for is a slim trumpet shape."

Bridal Shop Manager Tracy Moore also advises,  "To ensure that you have a positive experience I would allow yourself plenty of time. Plenty of time for ordering your dress, plenty of time for alterations we are all human everyone makes mistakes. The more time you allow yourself and us, the more time we have to correct any problems that might occur."

While planning your wedding document everything, get contracts that are very detailed explicitly saying when things are going to be performed and what you are going to pay. Document phone calls as well, that will be your best line of defense if something happens to go wrong.

Angie's List Tips: How to get quality wedding service

  • Work with a reliable company: Look for someone with experience in providing services for numerous weddings. Is the company helpful and professional? Check review sites such as Angie's List and ask for recommendations from family and friends.
  • Develop a budget: Weddings can be costly. It's important to develop a budget before you talk with vendors. A good reputable company will map out a plan to meet your price point. In addition, you'll get better customer service if you are upfront about your budget, rather than wasting time trying on dresses or visiting venues you can't possibly afford.
  • Read the fine print: Before you sign anything, ask and make sure you understand deposits, fees, terms, conditions, store policies, etc.
  • Do not pay in full: Put down the minimum deposit on a credit card and stretch out the rest of the payments until your order is complete. Pay with a credit card, so you can file a claim dispute if necessary.
  • Document everything:Your best defense in case something goes wrong is documentation. From phone calls to emails – keep a record of who you talked to and when.
  • Don 't delay: Don't wait until the last minute to hire vendors. Once you have researched and found reputable companies to work with, make and effort to communicate them about your plans. The best professionals typically book up far in advance.
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