BRIDAL shows are great for gathering swag, exploring fun ideas and meeting qualified industry professionals, but Better Business Bureau warns that not all participants are worth the commitment.

BBB serving Mainland British Columbia identifies worst-case wedding scenarios:

* “No-shows” fail to follow-through on projects and appointments-or worse-the big day.

* “Price gougers” upsell more expensive packages or add on last-minute undisclosed fees.

* “Boasters” embellish qualifications and quality, but deliver poor results.

* “Shoddy shippers” mail incorrect orders or don’t send products on schedule.

* “Closers” won’t answer phone calls or respond to emails; locations or boutiques shut down without notice or refunds.

If you plan to attend a bridal show, your Better Business Bureau offers these helpful tips:

* Take a notebook or tablet to jot down information on something you see that you hadn’t thought of or the name of the designer of a wedding gown you see during the fashion show. A camera can be helpful, too.

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

* Bring someone you trust who is not as emotionally and financially connected to the wedding planning as you. This individual may provide a different, yet helpful, perspective when talking with vendors and visiting booths.

* Research the vendor before signing a contract. The goal of a bridal expo vendor is to make connections, get exposure and attract the right brides for their services. However, future brides and bridegrooms should take the time to check out wedding vendors’ reputations in the industry and can start by reading the vendor’s BBB Business Review at

* Chat with recent clients to get a feel for the company’s customer service.

* Hire vendors who will accept your budget. There is no sense in working with a business who does not see eye to eye on your budget. Do not be swayed by a great portfolio.

* 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.

* Because you can dispute the charges, credit cards offer consumers added protection in the event of a problem. Cheques and cash don’t offer this protection.

For more tips you can trust, visit www.mbc.bbb.orgĀ  and for the latest, follow BBB on Facebook and Twitter.