Aleck Bridwell is (was) a Texas wedding planner that just pled guilty as part of a plea deal after facing felony charges in connection with his alleged theft of over $15,000 from a very unfortunate couple. It is a sad story, but not as uncommon as we’d like to think. Wedding vendors are generally a very honest lot. However, there are thousands of us. A small percentage of any group is always going to be lousy. With that in mind, there are three key lessons that Mr. Bridwell can teach us.
- In this age where weddings can cost tens of thousands of dollars, couples should seriously consider purchasing wedding insurance. The Wedding Planner from Hell is but a single example of the many things that could conceivably go wrong. Just make sure to discuss exactly what different policies do and don’t cover.
- For the sake of both couples and wedding planners, it is best for a couple to pay third-party vendors directly instead of through a wedding planner. Mr. Bridwell is a perfect example of how doing otherwise can go wrong for the couple. From a wedding coordinator’s perspective this is the best way to handle it as well, because–depending on how contracts are worded and promises of payment are construed–in the event that a couple defaults on their obligation to another vendor, that vendor could end up making the argument that they had a contract with the wedding planner instead of the couple.
- Never trust an Alec that spells his name “Aleck.” Obviously.
Bridwell’s victims cannot turn back the clock. But if other couples can learn from their story, then perhaps those couples cannot avoid the same fate, or at least minimize the financial damage.