Which? research reveals that almost a third of people have experienced, or know someone who has experienced problems with their UK wedding.
From drunken photographers, to wedding bands that don’t know the tune to your first dance and wedding dress retailers going into administration days before the big event, Which? reveals Britain’s most common wedding mishaps – and what do if they happen to you.
In a survey of over two thousand British adults, of those with wedding woes, problems with the chosen photographer came top, with over one in five (22 per cent) saying it had been an area of difficulty.
Issues ranged from photographs not living up to expectations (“took group pictures of groom’s family and not the bride’s.”) to photographers exaggerating their experience (“Photographer didn’t take good pictures, out of focus, strange angles… Guests’ pictures were better.”). The research also uncovered issues such as photographers not staying at the wedding for as long expected, behaving unprofessionally (“Photographer got drunk.”) – or worse – cancelling at the last minute.
After the photographer, the reception venue (16 per cent), the music (12 per cent) and the ceremony venue (10 per cent) were the categories with the most wedding problems.
The main complaints about venues related to lack of organisation, venue availability and double bookings. Staffing levels were noted as an issue (“Not providing the right amount of staff to cope with the serving of a wedding party meant people were waiting nearly an hour to be served.”) as were booking errors (“The ceremony venue got the time of the wedding wrong, despite the bride and groom confirming four times.”)
DJs and bands pulling out at short notice was an issue, as was equipment not working. One respondent found that the band they had booked hadn’t learned the song they had chosen for their first dance and so had to choose another from the band’s repertoire at the last minute.
The research also revealed that almost one in ten (9 per cent) of those surveyed had issues with their dresses or their bridesmaids’ dresses. Dress horrors included retailers and dressmakers closing down (“shut down four days before the big day.”), dresses getting lost and dresses not fitting (“After the second fitting, alterations were made that ruined the dress and the retailer would not take responsibility.” “Bridesmaids’ dresses didn’t fit and had to be left unzipped.”).
As distressing as these issues can be, under the Consumer Rights Act you are entitled to expect that the services you have contracted on your wedding day – from photographer and DJ to catering – are delivered with reasonable care and attention. If you are let down, you can do the following:
- Complain to the provider there and then – it may be that you can resolve the issue on the spot
- Write a letter of complaint as soon as possible after the event, spelling out the issues and outlining your request for a refund and compensation (if applicable). Which? has a useful template here: which.co.uk/weddingserviceproblems
- If you fail to reach an agreement, you can resort to the small claims court. Remember to keep hold of as much evidence to support your claim as possible.
Adam French, Which? Consumer Rights Editor, said:
“Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the best days of your life, but no matter how diligent your planning, we’ve found that unfortunately, through no fault of your own, things can go wrong.
“As soon as you’ve confirmed the date and venue for your ceremony one of the first things on your shopping list should be wedding insurance – just in case. If you are unlucky and let down on the big day, remember you also have the right to seek a refund and compensation.”
Notes to Editors:
- You can find the Which? Guide about how to complain about poor service from a venue or supplier and how to make a make a claim for compensation here: which.co.uk/weddingserviceproblems
- For advice on how to seek redress if your wedding dress doesn’t fit, arrives late, is not as described or arrives damaged, visit: which.co.uk/weddingdressproblems
- If your wedding photographs are missing, damaged or not of a good enough quality, you can find our guide to claiming a refund here: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/my-wedding-photographs-are-poor-quality-what-can-i-do
- Compare costs and cover levels of wedding insurance policies offered by all the insurers in the market. https://www.which.co.uk/money/insurance/wedding-insurance/wedding-insurance-reviews-azpp08b6uzj3
- Research: In May 2018 Which? asked 2015 GB adults about their experience of wedding problems in an online survey conducted by YouGov. The data has been weighted and is representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).