March 17, 2010

A Word of Advice: Stranger Danger!

I have learned a very important lesson about financial security while planning a wedding, and I think it's important enough to share with everyone. 

When my then-fiance and I decided to start making wedding related purchases, we decided, at the suggestion of Cape Cod Groom, to open a new credit card in both of our names. This was exciting because not only did it signify I could start making wedding purchases, but it was also our very first joint account of any type! We agreed that all major wedding related purchases would be made using solely this credit card. 

For Cape Cod Groom, though, the importance of having a credit card was not so much about having a shared account. While that was a perk that streamlined our wedding purchases and made it easier for both of us to keep track of our spending and budget, to him, a credit card signified something that I did not have the foresight to think of: insurance. 

You see, when you book a wedding vendor, you are mostly doing so on faith. While you may research a vendor to the best of your abilities to make sure they are credible, vendors are still people, and they are people who are usually total strangers to you. That being said, the potential for scams does exist. If you pay someone with cash or check and it ends up being a scam, there is nothing you can do about it. Once your hard earned cash is spent by the vendor, your money is gone forever, unless you embark on the burdensome and expensive route of litigation.

Therefore, to avoid the hazard of getting scammed, either when planning a wedding or making any large purchase, it is always best to pay with a credit card. That is because credit card companies all have a fraud department and carry insurance for these occasions. So if you do have the unfortunate circumstance of being the victim of a scam, you can call the fraud department, explain your story and dispute the charge, and if the credit card company agrees with you, they will refund your money.

In my experience, some vendors will insist that you pay by check. If that is the case, this should raise a red flag. Now, I'm not saying by any means that everyone who wants you to pay with cash is a con artist, but I am saying that you should be extremely cautious in this situation. You can try to negotiate with the vendor. Remember that if they really want your business, especially in today's economy, they may also be willing to let you pay by credit card even though that is not their preferred method of payment.

Unfortunately, I do not think that this is something people often think about when planning their wedding. It is really easy to get caught up in the excitement of booking vendors and planning your big day that you can forget to protect yourself and your groom financially.  Also, if you are an optimistic person like me who tends to give people the benefit of the doubt, it can be easy to assume the best in others. Finally, when the victim of a scam, many people are simply not aware of their rights or the fact that they can rely on a credit card company to back them up.

I'm glad I had Cape Cod Groom to bring a financially wise perspective to our situation. But I am also aware that others may not be so fortunate, so I hope this post will make people stop and think about their options when planning the event of their dreams. With all the stress that goes along with planning a wedding, being the victim of a scam is not something you want to add to your plate.



  1. Really good and sound advice. Thanks!

  2. Great advice, thank you! I'm bookmarking this for when I start planning my wedding... although, as a CPA, I'm sure my boyfriend would be wise to all of this.

  3. Great post, and really good advice! We are just starting to research and book our vendors...I will definitely talk this over with my fiance asap!


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