Copyright: ruslaniefremov / 123RF Stock Photo

Weddings are joyous, celebratory occasions, but the lead-up to it can get stressful. As if the stress of making sure everything goes to plan isn’t enough, it got worse for these few couples who were affected by a recent incident, where a wedding planner, who was recently fired from a reputable company, cheated them of thousands of dollars.

The story has a happy ending though: the company, Lagun Sari Wedding and Catering Services eventually decided to compensate the affected couples and proceed with their services, despite not receiving payment in full.

While it’s hard to foresee such situations, these are the things to note before you confirm your contract with your planner.

1. Don’t make direct payments
If you’re hiring a wedding planner who works for a group or company, check with the company from time to time whether they’ve received payment or not. The couples who were affected by the Lagun Sari incident said they kept getting payment requests from the parent company, even though they already paid their wedding planner directly.

In this case, try also not to pay your planner directly, or address your cheques to him or her.

2. Get wedding insurance
Getting insurance may not ensure you get the full sum back, but it’ll help you minimise losses. See other reasons why you should obtain wedding insurance here and here.

3. Communication is necessary
This isn’t 100 per cent foolproof, but if your vendor shows signs of being irresponsible (i.e. he or she ignores your requests and repeated requests for details, or provides you with false information), it’s time you take your business elsewhere. See the questions to ask your wedding planner before signing the contract.

4. Make sure you sign a contract and keep all your receipts
Get everything in black and white – your payment plan, cancellation policies, services provided, back up plans, additional requests, and so on. While the receipts in this case were fake, it was still evidence enough for these couples to prove that they had been lied to.

5. Don’t pay everything up front
Like your contract with your bridal salon, pay in installments. Most planners won’t ask for the full sum upfront (and if they do, consider looking for someone else). Consider a payment plan where you pay for whatever service has been delivered (and put that into your contract).


Copyright: jirivondrous / 123RF Stock Photo

What to do if your wedding planner absconds with your money?

1. Negotiate
If your planner is under a group or parent company, negotiate with the company to see if you can be compensated for your loss.

2. Look at your budget again
You might have to forgo something else you planned for. This can’t be helped, especially if you’ve spent a huge sum on the planner’s services. Even if you’ve bought insurance (see 5 things to know about wedding insurance), or made a complaint to the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), you may not get your money back immediately. Here are the things you can consider skipping.

3. Ask for favours
Whether it’s your friends (see how your friends can help you save money for your wedding) or professional vendors, explain your situation to them and see if there are other ways to navigate through your remaining budget. Do remember though: no one owes you a free lunch, so don’t expect any handouts (if none are given).