We’re heading into wedding season. So here’s what every bride and groom-to-be should know about the wedding industry: 

  • First: Your caterer or photographer could go out of business before your big day. Police recently charged a bridal shop owner with fraud when she closed abruptly, and kept the deposits and wedding dresses brides had already paid for. If possible, put every wedding deposit on a credit card because you’re more likely to get a refund. And consider wedding insurance. Experts say that 21 percent of wedding insurance claims involve caterers closing down. Followed closely by DJs going out of business, or just not showing up. 

  • Another wedding fact: The “do-it-yourself” projects on Pinterest may have been done by teams of professionals. If you want to save money, stick with small do-it-yourself projects that can be finished far in advance. After all, you don’t want to be decorating cookies or arranging flowers on your wedding day.

  • Another wedding fact: Catering “service charges” don’t usually include tax or tips for the banquet manager, servers and bartenders which can easily increase your cost by one-third. Meaning, a $75-dollar-a-plate dinner could cost $100 bucks once all the extra charges are included. 

  • The final fact: Wedding vendors often base their prices on the venue you choose, and the size of your engagement ring. In fact, they can probably guess your wedding budget just by eyeballing you. Also know this: wedding vendors share data with each other. They also buy information from bridal show “welcome forms” – which often include questions about income, wedding budget, and who’s paying. The fix: Keep your personal finances out of the conversation, and be firm about what you expect to spend.