What you need to know when planning your weddingYour wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life, and scammers know this. That’s why they’ll sometimes target unsuspecting soon-to-be-newlyweds, in hopes that exuberance will blind couples to deception, causing them to fall victim to their schemes. The consequences of falling victim to scams of this nature could be anything from wasted time to severe financial losses. That’s why we’re covering a few of the wedding scams you might encounter when planning for your special day. Continue reading to learn about common scams you may encounter in every step of the wedding process.

Before you get engaged …

If you’re making plans for your engagement, like buying a ring, you’ll need to be aware that even at this phase of planning you can be scammed. Since an engagement ring is one of the most common investments couples make before their wedding, scams tend to revolve around the quality and legitimacy of the jewelry you might choose to purchase. Before buying a ring, make sure you know the history of the jeweler and familiarize yourself with the tricks used to sell less-than-stellar-quality jewelry. Doing your research will help you avoid losing your hard-earned money and getting stuck with an overpriced ring.

When you’re planning your wedding …

From your venue to your photos and garments there are a lot of moving parts required to make your wedding go smoothly, and each of these presents an opportunity for a scammer to take advantage of you. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for.

Duplicitous vendors and venues

Planning a wedding is hard, and it’s this difficulty that can make finding good help, or even just avoiding scams, difficult. That’s why it’s important for you and your partner first assess what it is that you want for your wedding. By doing this, you can narrow down all of the vendors and specialists you want to hire, then from there, you can start your research. For example, not every couple decides to use a wedding planner, though some might find one essential. Even without a wedding planner, you’re still going to be in contact with dress shops, venues, florists, photographers, etc. Scammers and extortionists who overcharge, provide terrible service or even just take off with your money, can pretend to offer any of these services.

This makes it very important to do your background research on whomever you hire, as they’ll have access to your personal information, your wedding supplies and gifts as well as any financial details you provide them with when making payments. Stick to searching for these vendors through legitimate websites. Services like WeddingWire as well as sites like the Better Business Bureau and the Association of Bridal Consultants can provide useful supplemental resources for researching vendors that you’ve already reached out to and want to know more about.

Aside from this, watch out for red flags like unusually low pricing for services and high initial deposits and fees or weird terms in the fine print highlighting the conditions of your arrangement with the vendor. In order to shield yourself financially, you should thoroughly read any contracts from vendors, make payments with a credit card and/or consider investing in wedding insurance for extra coverage.

Identity thieves

Aside from the threat of untrustworthy wedding service providers, getting married puts you at heightened risk for identity theft because of the paperwork, purchases and documentation that reveal you and your partner’s names and personal information. You should be especially careful with things like online wedding registries as well as wedding websites. If you fail to manage your site’s privacy settings properly, it could result in your information being compromised or, worse yet, strangers showing up to your wedding or house to cause trouble or steal from you. Guests and wedding staff can also pose an identity theft (or physical theft) threat, which is why it’s so crucial for you to be cognizant of who you hire as well as who you invite to your wedding. Personally knowing guests puts you in a good position to protect your name and your stuff. Having a managed wedding invitation list can help but being selective about how you manage that list will be important, too. You need to ensure that you’re comfortable with every person who will be attending your wedding, as this will help you cut down on the potential for any shenanigans or theft.

What happens after the wedding?

Once you’re married, you’re not entirely out of the woods. The legal and financial paperwork that comes with marriage can not only be a headache, but it can also provide additional opportunities for you and your spouse’s identities to become compromised. That’s why you should be careful of how you store any documentation (investing in some form of storage is an excellent idea for many reasons), and you should check your credit reports if you’re not already using some form of identity theft protection. While this might seem excessive, you can never be too careful, especially since many spouses change their last name which can make credit report errors, if not identity theft, more common.

Weddings are a joyous life event that can, unfortunately, easily be ruined by scammers. For more information on other types of scams keep reading our scams blog.