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You've done your research, read the reviews, flipped through portfolios, and had an in-person interview — and everything tells you the wedding vendor you're hiring is fantastic. But what happens when, once the contract is signed and the check is written, they turn out to be far from what you'd expected? Can you break your contract or get a refund? Our experts have some advice for dealing with a vendor who isn't what you paid for — and how to avoid the situation in the first place.
If an issue arises before your wedding day, you're in luck. "Address the problem immediately, and give your vendor a chance to come up with a solution," says Anne Book, founder of Anne Book Event Design. "If you don't trust that it's going to be an acceptable solution, part ways — ideally, your deposit will be refunded."
But what if the disappointment comes on your wedding day, like a ceremony vocalist who's entirely off key or a florist who delivers seven centerpieces when you've got fifteen tables to top? Keep your cool until after the wedding, then contact the vendor directly. "If you are working with professionals, they will likely acknowledge the error and most likely agree to resolve your issue immediately. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the clauses of your contract to get an idea of how much recourse you might have if the contract isn't fulfilled.
The best way to avoid a situation like this is to make sure you're working with tried-and-true event professionals, and that all of your communications are clear and agreed upon. If you're working with a planner, they'll help you make sure that any specifics (like dates, delivery times, and exactly what is being ordered) are completely correct. If you're not sure if a vendor you're considering will be up to standards, ask if you can contact recent clients for referrals (and be sure to ask your other vendors and venue if they have any experience working with this person). And of course, follow your gut: If you don't think you'll be getting what you'd hoped for, look elsewhere.