Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 11:28 UK

Tied up in knots on a wedding day

Eastenders disaster wedding
Wedding disasters are not limited to soap opera storylines

They call it the happiest day of your life - but for thousands of couples last year the white wedding blues turned them red with rage.

Government advice service Consumer Direct received 4,000 complaints in 2007 related to wedding day woes.

Problems included venues cancelling at the last minute, wedding dresses failing to arrive and guests getting struck down with food poisoning.

Couples planning to marry are being urged to plan well in advance.

Big day

Wedding contracts can be worth several thousands of pounds so it is vital that you shop around
Michele Shambrook, Consumer Direct

Thousands of couples will be looking forward to their big day this summer - including England football star Wayne Rooney who is tying the knot on the Italian Riviera.

For those getting married in less glamorous surroundings, the advice is to negotiate early with hotels, caterers, jewellers, photographers, florists and travel agents.

"Wedding contracts can be worth several thousands of pounds so it is vital that you shop around, compare prices, ask lots of questions and make sure you know exactly what you're getting before you agree a deal," said Consumer Direct operations manager Michele Shambrook.

One tip for couples is to ask for legally binding written quotes, rather than estimates, so venues cannot raise prices after the booking is made.

Other advice includes checking terms and conditions, such as cancellation policies, before paying a deposit for a venue and consider using a credit card for purchases between 100 and 30,000 as it could offer extra protection.


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