Monday, March 1, 2010

Bridal Scam?

I was sad to see this story on the homepage tonight (Today's update on the story here):

I feel like most brides are "scammed" out of their money in the whole wedding planning process, because prices definitely rocket up when the word "wedding" is mentioned. And I know $15 isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things but still, as the article pointed out, I'm sure there were many brides who were looking forward to the bridal show and had already made travel plans.

What amazes me about this story is the amount of planning that went into the scam and the sheer audacity of someone to pull this off and fool dozens of vendors and hundreds of brides. I easily could've been among this number if I hadn't been turned off to bridal shows on the basis of what I would hear from other brides on The Knot discussion boards.

So for what it's worth, here are my random observations on bridal shows:
  • I wouldn't pay to go to any of these (the whole idea of paying to see people that you're going to hire blows my mind). In addition, I've definitely received free offers of tickets through emails from The Knot, so hold off for one of these deals.
  • The most annoying thing about the shows (what turned me off) is the telephone harassment afterwards. I'm sure not all vendors will do this, but apparently, brides get fooled into giving their contact info through a "drawing" at a booth for a free prize like a honeymoon. After the bridal show, they will get called incessantly (as in, 3 - 4 times a day) by someone claiming that they've "won" a prize, but they will need to attend a presentation or provide some cash to collect it. As with most things in life, if it's too good to be true, it usually is. So save your number for the reputable vendors that you're seriously interested in pursuing and use a fake phone number for entering drawings.
  • Bridal shows seemed to happen mostly during the winter - when I was newly engaged, I remember being excited about attending a bridal show but I was bummed when they all seemed to be in January and February which meant I had to wait months. I don't know if it's because a lot of people get engaged in the Christmas to Valentine's Day stretch or because it's cold outside and it's easier to get people to attend on a weekend when there's snow outside.
  • Above all, bridal shows may be good to experience a large number of vendors all at once, but I still believe in doing plenty of research online at first, paying special attention to opinions of other brides, and meeting with vendors one on one to make sure your personalities mesh, that they're professional, and that they're reliable.

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