If you’re engaged and you’ve been watching the news, you’ll have heard about the Alfred Angelo wedding dress disaster. I feel for all the brides who are now in a pinch with no idea what to do about their wedding dress. Brides have lost not just deposits, but wedding dresses they love. Dresses that they spent time picking out.
The worst (and scariest) part of it is the fact that Alfred Angelo is a big brand. This isn’t some small company who was here one day and then gone the next. This is a company that has been around for 80 years with tons of brides. And then boom! All of sudden they’re just gone. No word, no explanation.
This is likely one of the biggest fears a bride has come to life.
To not have a wedding dress days or weeks before their wedding. It’s scary.
And I think the question every bride (or groom) is asking themselves is, could this happen to me?
The answer sadly is yes.
In the Alfred Angelo case, it was wedding dresses, but all of your vendors are potentially at risk. I’ve heard of caterers and venues going out business. I’ve seen wedding planners stealing money and essentially disappearing. And I’ve learned of photographers and florists who are suddenly just gone.
Any business big or small is susceptible to closing. It might be something big like a bankruptcy or something personal like getting pregnant or having to move. It could be that they’ve just decided that they’re going to do something else instead. Or that they’re selling their property.
Businesses close for many reasons. And when you’re planning a wedding six months to two years out, there is definitely a chance that something can change in that timeframe.
So, what do you do if your wedding vendor goes out of business?
If you end up in the unlucky position where one of your wedding vendors is going out of business, the first thing you need to do is make sure you understand the situation. Get in touch with your wedding vendor and get more information.
Side note – If your wedding vendor is nowhere to be found, you may not have much recourse. You should still try to track them down, but you may be out of luck.
Then, re-read your contract. See what course of action you have. This might mean getting your money back or having a substitute step in. But, make sure whatever you’ve agreed to happens. I can’t give you legal advice, but you may want to get a lawyer involved to help enforce the contract if necessary.
Now if your contract doesn’t cover you, you should still try to get compensated. Appeal to their human side and see what they can do for you.
While you work on figuring things out, you also need to be finding yourself a replacement. This could be a new photographer or a new dress. Start looking today. I know it’s hard to let go of something you really liked and picked out, but you need to. You have to move on.
You can reach out to someone you may have previously discarded or do an entirely new search. But, either way, you need to move forward and find another option. Because that anxious feeling you have isn’t going to go away until you feel secure and covered again.
How do you prevent this situation?
So, now let’s talk about prevention. Because if we can prevent this horrible situation that is preferable to being in it, right?!
First, you need to know that as much as you vet a wedding vendor there is no way to truly know if they’ll be around in a year or not. But, there are some ways to protect yourself.
#1 – Have the conversation
The first is to have a conversation before you book them and ask what happens if they go out of business or can’t make your wedding day. Understand what your recourse is ahead of time and make sure you are comfortable with it.
#2 – Get it in writing
Then you want to make sure there is language in the contract that reflects what you spoke about. Those two things alone will help you if you need it.
#3 – Pay attention to how they treat you
Now, the number of years in business isn’t always something you can rely on, but how they treat you during the process generally is. If you feel taken care of during the entire proposal and consultation process there is a good chance you’ll be taken care of if something were to happen. Meaning if they were to go out of business they’d do what they can to help you.
You can also usually get a sense of people from a meeting. And while some people can be deceiving, most are just who they are. Choosing to do business with people that you like and feel are honest and trustworthy is another step towards prevention.
#4 – Do they have a legitimate business?
And it should go without saying, but I’m going to say it. You always want to be working with people who run legitimate businesses with insurance and a business license. You want to work with people who do this full time and can provide you with references. It doesn’t mean they won’t go out of business, but it’s a higher probability that they’ll still be in business in a year.
#5 – Wedding Insurance
The only way to be completely covered if your wedding vendor goes out of business is to have wedding insurance. Cancellation insurance will cover your deposits for say a wedding dress or any of your vendors. It will also cover you if you need to postpone or cancel your wedding.
So, even if you end up in the unfortunate situation where you lose your deposit with a vendor, you’re covered and can recoup that money. There are different policies as with any insurance so you can pick the one you feel most comfortable with.
Most couples don’t purchase cancellation insurance. But, it’s worth considering if you’re worried or just want to feel safe.
(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)
I know the possibility of one of your wedding vendors going out of business is scary. And I know for many brides right now it’s a reality. But, it’s important to remember that while it feels like the end of the world, it’s not your fault. And you can do something about it.
Not just after the fact, but to prevent it as well.
Take the steps you can take now to put your mind at ease. And if you end up in an unfortunate situation, know that there are things you can do to fix it.
And please know that I’m here to support and help you always. So, if you have any questions or need a helping hand, please ask.