You’ve waited a long time to finally begin planning your own wedding. But now that you’re in the middle of it, you realise that it can be just as stressful as it is exciting.
One of the worst things that could happen to you while planning a wedding is when one or more of your suppliers cancel, especially with little time left before the wedding itself – mere days or weeks in advance.
It could be your baker, your day-of coordinator, your florist, your DJ or make-up artist: when it comes to planning your perfect wedding, losing any of your crucial suppliers in the lead up to the big day would no doubt cause a lot of stress.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss ways in which you can make it less likely that you’ll experience a supplier-related disaster. We’ll also talk you through how to cope when one of your suppliers cancels on you, what your rights are, and what you can do about it.
How to Prevent Your Wedding Supplier from Cancelling on You
It must be said that it is quite rare for a wedding supplier to randomly cancel their service before your wedding, especially if you’ve already paid the deposit. But sometimes, life happens (such as illness) and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
However, one thing you can do to help prevent a disaster is to hire reliable and credible suppliers in the first place. Here are some tips:
1) Choose credible suppliers. Make sure to do some research before you jump on an agreement with anyone. Read online reviews and ask for testimonials from past customers.
2) Don’t choose the cheapest options. If you’re working with a tight budget, it may be tempting to pick the cheapest supplier. But why are they so cheap? It may mean that they’re unprofessional, have few reviews, expect cash-in-hand, or won’t offer you a proper written contract.
3) Read the fine print of your contract. A lot of couples are too lazy to fully read the contracts that they’re signing, but it’s crucial. When hiring any vendor, read each contract carefully and ask questions to clarify terms that are not clear to you.
4) Hire companies, rather than individuals. A baking company, for example, will have other staff ready to step in if any of their bakers call in sick. You won’t get this peace of mind when hiring individuals.
5) Ask the supplier what will happen if they can’t fulfil their duties. For example, what if they fall ill? Do they have a backup that can take their place? Will they help you find a last-minute alternative supplier? If you make any agreements, get them on paper.
6) Hire a wedding planner. Wedding planners can be expensive. But hiring one can actually save you a lot of money—and hassle—while planning your wedding. The wedding planner will take care of everything, from choosing vendors to reading contracts carefully. And if a supplier cancels, your wedding planner will step in and handle everything for you.
7) Invest in wedding insurance. If you want that extra peace of mind while planning your wedding, you should consider investing in a wedding insurance plan. This will help help you cover any losses if you need extra funds to find another supplier if yours cancels last minute.It can also help to have the contact details of backup suppliers ready. Make a list of potential backup photographers, DJs, bakers, florists (and so on) and keep this list safe somewhere, just in case. This will save you having to scour the internet at short notice.
What Do I Do if One of My Wedding Suppliers Cancels?
Unfortunately, there’s no 100% guaranteed, sure-fire way to prevent a wedding supplier from cancelling on you. Here’s the thing: disasters can still happen no matter how prepared you think you are. For example, your supplier may fall ill or experience a bereavement in the family. Or, adverse weather conditions may make it physically unable for your supplier to reach you.
If ever a wedding supplier cancels on you, the number one thing to remember is: don’t panic. It may be hard to stay calm once you find out that a wedding supplier cancels, but take some deep breaths and try to hold it together. It will be so much more difficult to sort things out if you’re panicking!
The first step is to call your wedding planner if you have one. Wedding planners are like magic: it’s their job, after all, to sort out anything that might go wrong. As soon as the supplier cancels, your wedding planner will be able to instantly look for replacements from their resources, and will handle obtaining your refund.
But if you don’t have one, here’s what you can do.
Communicate With Your Supplier
It’s important to keep an open line of communication so you can work on a solution together while keeping your emotions in check. Be calm yet direct so you can come up with a good solution for the problem.
Ask your supplier if they know of any alternative suppliers that you could work with on short notice. In the wedding industry, suppliers often make connections with other suppliers so they’ll likely be able to recommend an alternative.
One important tip: after you’ve spoken to your supplier, send them an e-mail covering what you discussed, and ask them to reply to the e-mail confirming everything you’ve said. That way, you have a record of what’s been said, and you can prove that the supplier cancelled on you, not the other way round. This will be handy if they refuse to refund you.
Enlist the Help of Friends and Family
If you’re struggling to find a replacement wedding supplier at short notice, it’s time to ask for help from friends and family. Explain what’s happened, and let them know that you need help finding an alternative supplier before it’s too late.
It will be difficult finding someone else at short notice. However, if you and your wedding helpers work together to make calls and enquiries, you’ll hopefully find someone that has a cancellation or is free on your big day, and can fit you in.
Be aware that you may have to pay a premium for booking a supplier at such short notice. If you have wedding insurance, they may be able to help with this.
Do It Yourself
If you absolutely can’t find an alternative supplier before your deadline, the only thing left to do is to attempt a DIY of whichever supplier cancelled on you. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help with your DIY efforts, or help finding a non-professional who might be able to contribute. For example:
1) If your photographer cancelled: do any of your wedding guests have a DSLR camera or a video camera? Ask them to bring it along and to try their best to capture at least the most important shots (e.g. you walking down the aisle, and the first kiss)
2) If your baker cancelled: which of your wedding party is the best at baking? Would they be able to whip up a batch of cupcakes for your big day, which you could display on a pretty cupcake tower as an alternative to a tiered cake?
3) If your florist cancelled: try phoning around your local flower shops and asking what stock they have. You might need to compromise with different types and colours of flowers than you’d originally planned, but you’ll at least have a bouquet!
Having any of your vendors cancel last minute can be downright stressful. But instead of focusing on what you lost, try to work on a solution to make sure that your big day will still go smoothly.
There will always be some hiccups when organising your wedding. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful and memorable wedding day, even if things don’t go quite as you originally planned.
What Are My Rights When a Wedding Supplier Cancels?
After you’ve sought out an alternative service, the next question on your mind will be: can I get my money back?
The answer is a resounding “yes”. In the United Kingdom, our consumer rights laws mean that if you did not receive what you paid for, you are entitled to a full refund – whether it’s for a product, or a service.
So, this means that (for example) if you paid a baker to make you a wedding cake, and then you did not receive that cake, you are fully entitled to a refund. This will include any security deposit you may have put down for the product or service.
If a vendor refuses to give you a refund, here are the steps you can follow:
1) Send a formal letter of complaint regarding the refund. Date the letter, save a copy, and include a copy of all your agreements and communication to back your request.
2) If a vendor still refuses to create a compromise with you or give you a refund for the services that you paid for, you can file a report to the Trading Standards Service and seek advice from Consumerline.
3) You can also talk to your wedding insurance provider to determine exactly what’s covered on your policy. There’s a good chance they may cover cancelled suppliers. However, they may try to get a refund back from the supplier first, and this may take time.
You can also report the matter to the Competition and Markets Authority if you think that the vendor is treating you unfairly.
Now if you’re experiencing this problem with your venue, you need to file your claim with the administrator or make a Section 75 claim from the Consumer Credit Act.
This law makes your credit card provider liable for your losses as long as you spent between £100 and £30,000. These claims may take some time and they don’t guarantee that you’ll get the full money back. But you can still make a claim so that you can get at least some compensation.
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