ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – As Fall approaches, so does wedding season. October has been the most popular wedding month for four consecutive years. However, weddings are more complicated this year as COVID-19 has caused many couples to cancel or reschedule their weddings so the Better Business Bureau wanted to offer a few tips to keep in mind when planning your big day.

According to the BBB, the average cost of a Texas wedding in 2019 was over $30,000 and almost four dozen complaints were filed in that time, many of which had to do with a contract, refund, or exchange issue. That’s why Heather Massey with Bureau says that you should keep these five things in mind when booking vendors and signing contracts.

· Research businesses before hiring them. Before hiring a vendor, check business profiles on BBB.org to see any complaints or reviews, or ask for a list of references. You may also want to consider a business that has been operating longer that may better cater to your nuptial needs.

· Double check prices and fees. If you found a vendor online or at a bridal expo, double check the prices you were originally given. Ask what is included in the price and what services require extra fees. Some venues include caterers and bartenders in their price, and some may charge extra for access to bridal suites, cake cutting fees, cancellation fees, etc.

· Set a budget. Research different businesses so you can get a feel for the average cost of florists, photographers, DJs and more. It may be tempting to hire the vendor with the lowest price, but scammers often use low prices to lure consumers in.

· Pay with a credit card. Credit cards can help protect consumers in case a vendor backs out or disappears. If you experience a problem with a vendor, contact your credit card company immediately to dispute the charges.

· Contact vendors directly. If you need to cancel or reschedule your wedding because of COVID-19, check your contract to find cancellation fees. If that is not spelled out in the contract, or to see if COVID-19 has changed cancellation and rescheduling policies, contact the vendor directly.

For more information or to review a business and see what others have said about their service, visit the Better Business Bureau’s website.