Written by Val Rasmussen
For better or worse, e-comerce is a part of everyday life, especially for a bride and groom. On the positive side, a quick Google search provides a plethora of options and ideas. However, digital static can lead onlookers down a rabbit hole of deceit: counterfeit gowns, misadvertised paper goods and inexperienced vendors. Whats a deal and what’s trouble? These experts tell all on smart wedding saving.
Puzzled by Paper?
DON’T: Eric Stewart, Tabula Rasa General Manager, has seen it all. “Most of the nightmares we deal with come from couples suffering from buyer’s remorse because they ordered invitations online and did not receive what they expected,” he says. Given the importance of getting invitations right, it’s no wonder this is so upsetting. “Your invitation sets the tone for your wedding and gives your guests the first tactile experience of what to expect,” Stewart explains.
DO: Stewart recommends giving yourself enough time to enjoy the ordering experience and exploring all the options available to you. Being able to see and feel the paper makes all the difference, and there is also the added benefit of having a professional stationer guide you through etiquette and design. Most couples visit their store several times before making their final decision.
Full-service or full of it?
DON’T: “Planning” is the most misused term in the wedding world. “Not all planners design and not all designers plan. And venue coordinators are not wedding planners,” says full-service wedding planner Michelle Cousins of Michelle Leo Events. As she explains, florists, DJs, caterers and bakers rarely provide full-service planning as their specialties demand so much attention in a short period of time. So, go with full service.
DO: Research is key. “A full-service wedding planner is going to help put together your layouts, check your guest list, coordinate your final table decor and make sure your wedding party lines up correctly before you all head down the aisle,” Cousins says. Planners also keep you and your vendors on time and, most importantly, on budget. Still unclear? Check references. Gather insight on a vendor from newlyweds.
Gowns gone wrong?
DON’T: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. E-commerce sites lure big-eyed brides with designer-looking gowns for cheap. “I know of one bride who bought a dress on Amazon that arrived huge and horribly made,” says Emma Riley, Harlow Brides’ owner “The fabric was cheap, and my seamstress did not think she could fix it for the price the bride paid for the dress. Another woman ordered online and the dress came half-made with unfinished seams and no hem or lace on the dress; it looked like a 10-year-old had sewn it.” Neither bride got a refund, and both had to buy another gown. What about a seamstress who says she can build that Monique Lhuillier gown for a fourth of the cost? Watch out. “This year, we had encounters with two brides wooed by seamstresses who took their money and ran.”
DO: Visit local shops who offer in-person care of you and your gown. Bring along one or two friends—not the whole family and, please, no kids—to help assist with the gown-buying experience. Check references and be honest with the shop about budget, style and timeline.
For more expert tips, check out our magazine!