Thinking of having your impending wedding abroad? The lure of sun, sea and sand can be tempting, but couples should be aware of the details when engaging the services a wedding planner outside of Ireland, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland has warned.
In one recent case, an Irish couple organised their wedding in Spain at a rented villa, hiring a local wedding planner to look after the details, including arranging to have the event catered by a company in Spain to the tune of €1,672. Despite having agreed that the company would supply their own cooking equipment, the caterers arrived late and proceeded to use the villa’s limited kitchen facilities – the result was substandard food and several power outages.
In another instance, a couple had booked what they believed was a romantic castle venue in the Czech Republic, using wedding planning services via a website. Having signed a contract and paid a 50% deposit (€2,145), the couple later discovered that the ceremony would be in a hall rather than the castle as they had anticipated. To make matters worse, they weren’t told that construction would be taking place in one part of the castle throughout the year, with a wedding the day after their nuptials putting the squeeze on accommodation arrangements. They attempted to recover their deposit, but the trader refused on the grounds that the money had already been spent.
These scenarios aren’t the experience of every couple who gets married abroad, but they should serve as a warning to be careful and thorough when planning a wedding outside of the country.
A little research can go a long way – make sure you know who you’re dealing with and check online for reviews from previous clients.
“Check the wedding planner website for full contact details, fully read the terms and conditions paying particular attention to deposit requirements and cancellations/refunds, and check for reviews,” ECC Ireland advises.
Always view the venue before you sign the contract, and make sure it’s what you’ve expected – photos can often be very different to the reality. If you can, meet with the wedding planner in person to run through what you require, and get a sense of their abilities.
Keep all evidence, such as emails, letters etc. on hand, and make sure that all promises and requirements are outlined in the contract – this could come in handy in the event that something promised isn’t delivered and you seek redress.
Keep in touch
Stay in touch with your wedding planner throughout the process, and ask them to keep you up-to-date with any developments or issues that could affect your big day. Make sure they have a Plan B ready to go in the event of something unexpected (this should be in the contract).
You should also ask them to keep you abreast of any third parties they hire for the event – a quick Google search could reveal any potential issues.
If you have any issues with a wedding planner or trader in another EU country, ECC Ireland helps consumers with cross-border disputes and can provide free advice on your situation. You can phone them on 01 879 7620 or visit www.eccireland.ie.
“There’s so much planning, hope, and expense that goes into planning a wedding so it’s absolutely devastating for couples when things go wrong,” says Martina Nee, Press and Communication Officer with ECC Ireland. “It’s particularly difficult when you hire a wedding planner and trust them to deliver your dream wedding abroad but instead they don’t provide what was agreed. This can have a huge impact on what is supposed to be a happy day.”