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Wedding Scams: How to Spot and Protect Against Scammers Ruining Your Special Day


June 20, 2024

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Wedding Scams: How to Spot and Protect Against Scammers Ruining Your Special Day

So, you’ve decided to tie the knot! Congrats!

Planning a wedding is an exciting moment in the life of a couple, and preparing for the big day entails meticulous planning and resources. Even amid the excitement of choosing the perfect venue, flower arrangements, and wedding gown, the planning can be a stressful endeavor for anyone, especially if you find yourself drowning in the uncharted waters of wedding scams.

Wedding scams can dampen the spirits and turn into a real-life nightmare for unwary couples who get caught in the unscrupulous dealings of fraudsters preying on your eagerness to make your wedding perfect.

In this article, we’re going to guide you through some of the most common wedding scams and offer practical tips on how to avoid scammers as you plan your big day.

Did you know?

  • Approximately 600,000 knockoff wedding dresses are shipped to the US annually?
  • Every year, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) receives hundreds of complaints from victims of wedding scams. These are related to wedding vendors, wedding supplies and services, cakes, venues, caterers, limo service, consultants, photographers and videographers.

Real-life stories from wedding scam victims:

One scam victim told the BBB that, in her search for wedding attire, she placed an order on a fake website.

“Ordered online looked up company had rave reviews so I ordered. Said it would be here with 7-10 days. Dresses were for a wedding on the 8th. Never arrived,” the complaint reads. “Contacted BloomChic and they said there was no order for me and it seemed a company from China used their name but it’s not them. I wrote to them several times. Gave one excuse after another sent me a tracker site and every time I wrote it moved a little closer to me. Finally it said it was delivered on the 8th after I demanded a refund. it was never delivered, and they said they would only refund me 60. I said no, 100% is what I needed. They came back with only a 90% I once again said No 100%. They said fine but could take a month to get it back. I know I’ll never see the money but these people need to be stopped.”

Another victim shared a similar story while looking up bridal gowns. The complaint cites multiple red flags, including the website's use of false advertisements and pictures stolen from legitimate e-commerce platforms.

“This website makes bridal dresses. The site doesn't allow reviews to be posted from the public. The customer service consists of bots who do not help. When reaching out, they claimed I did receive my order by verifying delivery; however, I was missing products that I purchased,” the victim said. “The item was not as described and completely different from picture and custom order. The fabric is of different material and the return policy doesn't give time to return the item for a refund. The cost of shipping is out of pocket for the customers. This site doesnt show the work they present in the picture which is false advertisement. The pictures they use are not their own."

7 Common Wedding Scams

1.Fake Vendors. Scammers create fake vendor profiles, often using stolen images and fabricated testimonials, to lure couples into paying deposits for services they will never actually receive. They typically have no physical address, a limited online presence, and may only operate through social media.

Safety tips: Always ask for references, check reviews on reputable sites and, whenever possible, visit the office of the service provider to confirm the company’s legitimacy.

2. Venue Scams. These scams involve fraudulent venues that either don’t exist or are double-booked. Their operators offer unrealistically low prices and require you to pay a large deposit upfront. Victims of shady venue scams often end up without a venue on their wedding day because the provider changes the terms of the booking or becomes unresponsive to the customer.

Safety tips: Always visit the wedding venue in person before you make a commitment, read all contracts thoroughly, and pay by credit card so you can easily dispute any fraudulent charges.

3. Photography Scams. In this scam, fraudsters pose as professional photographers with forged portfolios containing stolen images or stock photos they can easily find online. Most of the time, the scammer will require payment in full or a large deposit after which they disappear. In other scenarios, the scammers show up to your event but demand extra money, or hold your photos hostage until you pay the requested amount.

Safety tips: Check the photographer’s portfolio carefully and verify that the images are authentic by contacting previous customers or use a reverse image search to check if the photos were shared on other platforms or profiles. Inspect reviews and always meet your photographer in person to discuss specifics.

4. Bridal Shop Scams. These scams involve phony bridal shops that sell designer wedding dresses at an incredibly low price. Besides selling too-good-to-be-true gowns, the operators behind these fraudulent shops either never deliver your dress, send you a very poor-quality dress or disappear completely.

Safety tips: Buy your wedding dress from a reputable shop. Check for online reviews, and use a credit card for any payments. Remember, if you think you’ve found your unicorn in the online bridal shop, think twice before taking out your credit card.

5. Honeymoon scams. Newlyweds have a lot on their plate and make the perfect target for these scams. Fraudsters set up fake travel agencies or send messages telling recipients they’ve won a discounted honeymoon package to swindle them out of their personal information and money.

Safety tips: To avoid ruining your vacation as a married couple, check the authenticity of the website and promotion, read the fine print, and never pay upfront for “prizes.”

6. Wedding Crashing. Uninvited wedding guests can ruin your festivities by slipping into your wedding venue to steal gifts or the property of your guests (purses, phones or other valuables) or help themselves to your buffet.

Safety tips: You can lower your likelihood of receiving wedding crashers by not oversharing information about your big day online or via social media. If you do, make sure only your trusted friends and family members can see the information.

7. Wedding registry scams. These scams involve fraudsters creating fake online registries to steal money or hack into a couple’s registry account to redirect gifts.

Safety tips: Use complex passwords for your registry account, use credit cards for online purchases, closely inspect the website, and check for ratings and reviews online.

How to Protect Against Wedding Scams

1. Research and Reviews. Research vendors thoroughly before you commit to any service provider’s offer and check reviews on multiple platforms. You can also ask for references and go through their social media profile for any negative comments or mentions.

2. Get everything in writing. Legitimate vendors will give you a contract detailing services, costs, and cancellation policies. Read it carefully to ensure that everything you’ve agreed to is included.

3. Meet Vendors in Person. Meet vendors you plan on hiring for your big day in person. Meeting people face-to-face allows you to  check more closely for trustworthiness, ask questions, and check the degree of professionalism.

4. Use Secure Payment Methods. Use credit cards for deposits and payments whenever possible so you can dispute fraudulent charges or services.

5. Be Mindful of Your Social Media Presence. Couples planning their wedding day are highly vulnerable online, especially if they begin sharing sensitive information, dates, venue names or home addresses, or list the expenses they are about to pay. Public announcements about leaving the country for a two-week honeymoon can also put you at risk of home invasion or theft.

6. Install a security solution. Bitdefender security solutions can protect against phishing attempts, phony websites, malware, and fraud.

7. Use scam detection tools. Use Bitdefender Scamio, our AI-powered tool dedicated to helping you identify and avoid potential scams. When unsure about an email, you can check it with Scamio on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or a web browser for free! Copy/paste a text or link, describe the situation, and upload the image or the QR code you want to verify. Scamio will analyze the data and tell you if anyone is trying to scam you.  You can also help others stay safe by sharing Scamio with them in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Romania, Australia and the UK.

8. Report Scams. If you’ve come across shady businesses or scammers, report them to the FTC, BBB or police in your region.


How can I verify if a wedding vendor is legitimate?

Research their online presence, read reviews, ask for references, and verify their business credentials and licensing. A legitimate vendor should showcase consistent posting and interaction with customers, be responsive and have good customer service.

Is it safe to book vendors I find on social media?

Social media can be a good starting point in your search for the perfect wedding planner or photographer. However, always make the necessary checks and set up face-to-face meetings before paying.

Can I get my money back if I fall victim to a wedding scam?

This all depends on what payment you’ve used. We recommend using a credit card for added fraud protection.




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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