VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Dozens of people made complaints last year about sketchy vendors on the wedding circuit.

Now is the time many engaged couples are beginning to plan their wedding.

Since the average wedding costs more than $15,000 the Better Business Bureau advises engaged couples and their families to make wise consumer decisions when planning a wedding,

Companies should have a portfolio for you to browse.

Mark Fernandes with the BBB says you shouldn’t feel rushed into making decisions. ‘A lot of the times vendors will put the onus on you to commit right away because their schedules are filling up. You want to know what you’re getting into so take a step back, don’t give into high pressure sales tactics. Check the company out.”

And make sure you have everything in writing — including cancellation policies.

If you’re in doubt, you can check the vendor out through the BBB.

Some tips on how to avoid wedding problems:

• Before falling in love with a vendor and their services, ask if the company is available for your wedding date.

• Ask whether the special packages and pricing being offered at the bridal event are available after the show as well.

• Be careful of high-pressure sales tactics to make you commit to a product or service on the spot.

• Get all sales promises in writing, including specific dates, products, prices, name brands, etc. Make sure all oral agreements are included in the written contract. Cancellation policies should also be included.

• Research the vendor before signing a contract. Check out wedding vendors’ reputations in the industry and can start by reading the vendor’s BBB Business Review at www.mbc.bbb.org.

• Avoid paying in cash up-front for services. If you pay by credit cards you have protection in the event of a problem. Cheques and cash don’t offer this protection.

• Confirm all services one or two weeks prior to the event and verify all of the details agreed upon. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises on your wedding day.

• Beware of deeply discounted wedding gowns. There are several online companies that offer bridal gowns at extremely low prices but try to avoid offers that are too good to be true. You may likely end up with a dress that is of poor quality or fit, or the dress may get delivered late or never at all.