So here's the thing.....Wedding Planning can be a stressful time! No shock there right?! I mean - there's all the saving up for everything you want and "need", picking the perfect Bridal Party, the perfect gown, the perfect venue, the right Officiant and so on.....not to mention trying to decide who should sit where?!! Sheesh.....who would even do that to themselves!
But....at the end of all that - you get your perfect BIG DAY! Love and laughter and celebrating with the people you cherish the most!
BUT what about the unforseen? The things you can't plan for....the so called "Wedding Disasters". They happen to the best of us - they happened to me (a long story involving and handshake agreement, no deposit and wedding cars that never showed up on the day) and do you want to know why? Because I didn't protect myself.
With the average Taranaki Wedding budget being around the $20k mark - couples are investing a huge chunk of their hard earned cash on their special day. It's very easy to blow your wedding budget with an extra +1 here, and an upgrade there....before you know it you're breaking the bank and risking it all for your dream wedding.
So how do you protect that investment? How do you make sure that you're not risking your life savings?
Well - one option could be Wedding Insurance. What's THAT you say? Wedding Insurance? Wedding Insurance is a relatively new concept here in New Zealand and at this stage - there is only one insurance provider you can turn to - however it's been around for some time in other countries such as the USA and the UK. Wedding Insurance essentially protects you incase something happens to ruin your big day, incase you get sick and you're unable to go through with the wedding, incase lightening hits the venue or if the very worst happens and someone you love and cherish passes away suddenly. It provides cover for your gifts, your attire, your rings etc and includes a huge chunk of public liability insurance which you never want to be without to be totally honest. But, most importantly - it also protects your deposits etc in case a Wedding Vendor lets you down - which, sadly, we hear - is one of the most common causes for Wedding Disasters and one that you definitely want to protect against. Packages are available for as little as $235 (dependent on your selected level of cover) - so it's definitely something worth considering.
But what if Wedding Insurance ISN'T in your budget? Or you haven't the time to arrange it? How do you protect yourself against Wedding Disasters?
The truth is - you can never COMPLETLEY protect yourself from disasters - there will ALWAYS be something you haven't thought of or something you can't control - but here's our top tips to protect yourself when planning your wedding!
- DO YOUR RESEARCH when booking your vendors - whether it's your venue, your photographer, your celebrant or even just buying your wedding dress! Don't be afraid to ask trusted colleagues, friends and family members for their recommendations. Do a Google search followed by "reviews" on businesses. Check out their Website AND Social Media Pages, read the reviews AND the comments and check our their portfolios. No reviews on Facebook? To be honest - that's a bit of a red flag - we're big fans of transparency and if a business isn't showing their reviews - it makes us wonder what they say?
- ASK FOR REFERRALS - lots of reputable businesses will confidently recommend other businesses. People or services they have worked with in the past and who they'd stake their own reputation on recommending. Don't be afraid to ask your trusted vendors for their recommendations.
- ASK FOR THEIR CREDENTIALS - if someone tells you that have a qualification - ask to see their certificates or credentials. Accredited professionals will have nothing to hide and will happily show you their certificates of acheivement. Many will actually have them on display in their workplace.
- ARE THEY INSURED - what happens if they can't be there on the day? What happens if they cause damage - are they covered? Don't be afraid to ask if they have business insurance cover. Once again - professional services should always have, at the very minimum, Public Liability Insurance. One of the reason some services seem to be that little bit more expensive than others - is because they do have additional costs like insurance.
- GET IT IN WRITING - make sure you see a copy of terms and conditions and don't be afraid to ask for your own copy. NEVER EVER (we honestly can't emphasise this enough) part with any money without a copy of an invoice or a receipt - this is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT of any business so don't be afraid to ask for one. ALSO - take note of whether or not you're being charged GST and look out for any "dodgy" looking invoices. There are certain conditions that businesses must adhere to - if you have any doubt about an invoice you've received - you can find out more about a businesses invoicing legal requirements on the IRD Website. The Fair Trading Act and The Consumer Guarantees Act exist to protect you - the consumer - with ANY product or service you purchase. Whether you're ordering a dress, buying candles or booking a photographer - you have rights and they have responsibilities. Make sure that everything you've discussed, requested or ordered is noted down in any contract or invoice you receive. Protect yourself by knowing your rights and if you need ANY clarification regarding what you're paying for - don't be afraid to ask them. If you do feel that you've been mislead or defrauded by a company while planning your wedding - the Commerce Commision website contains more information on your legal rights and should be your first port of call.
- READ BEFORE SIGNING - make sure you read every line of a contract before you sign. Once you sign a contract - you are as legally obliged to adhere to it's conditions as the business who issued it - so read it thoroughly and if in doubt - don't be afraid to seek advice before you sign.
- KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS - we're all guilty of scrunching up our receipts and throwing them in the bin as soon as we leave a store. But what do you then do when the thing you've purchased breaks or fails? Keep all your receipts, contracts and invoices for your wedding in one place - you never know when you might need them.
We KNOW this sounds like a lot of unnecessary admin and stressing when you already have A LOT to do in the run up to your wedding - but what's the alternative? It's your big day - the BIGGEST DAY of your life! Is it worth taking the risk?
Take it from someone with personal experience HELL NO - take the time, read the T&Cs and PROTECT YOURSELF!