Negotiation: Familiarize yourself with and avoid such tricky tactics as “entrapment,” “bait and switch,” and “nibbling.”
Contracts: Read every contract thoroughly before signing to avoid any hidden fees and so you know everything you’ll be paying for.
Photography: Contract for a large number of proofs to be taken (approx 300-800); this way you’ll have plenty to choose from when putting together your album and can avoid any hidden costs for extra proofs not originally built into the contract.
Invitations: Get a firm date in your finalized contract as to when you’ll be receiving the invitations, and be aware of any hidden charges, like a proofing fee.
Catering: Arrange the contract with your caterer to include a detailed list of all fees and a schedule of payment (don’t pay everything in advance or you will have much less recourse if something goes wrong).
Wedding Gown: Don’t buy into a store’s “You Look Like a Princess” flattery, and be sure to get some alone time with your dress; avoid additional charges for alterations, shipping and handling, and the protective gown bag.
Ceremony and Reception: Don’t become the victim of a hall being “overbooked;” have your wedding someplace where the only event going on that day is yours.
Cake: Don’t be tempted into buying a “couturesque” cake (designer cakes with fancy extras like photos, crystals, and flowers); after all, the thing is meant to be eaten; avoid such hidden fees as the “cake cutting fee.”
Music: Don’t settle for a CD of the band; request to see them perform live before booking.
Flowers: Don’t let the florist convince you into overdoing it; do your on-site research and decide where you want your flowers to go; not every nook needs a flower, so don’t be persuaded into buying what you don’t want or need.