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Bridezillas May Be Fined For Freakouts

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Here comes the bride tax.

Some wedding venues are so fed up with – how does one put this delicately? – detailed-oriented brides, that they’ve imposed a fine for excessive kvetching. The betrothed may want to be careful about wearing out the patience of event planners with questions about the color of flower arrangements

One excited bride recently came down to earth with a bump when she inquired about booking a wedding reception at Loring Pasta Bar in Minneapolis, Mn., a popular wedding venue that hosts cocktail parties and banquets. The bride – who wishes to remain anonymous – was told that after five email exchanges with the event planner she would have to pay $5 per message.

The bride says the email came out of the blue: “I find it extremely rude, but maybe it’s the norm these days.” The email was certainly officious: “Communications which require additional management attention are billed at the rate of $45 per hour; email correspondence will be billed to the client at $5 per email or $12 per 15-minute increment—whichever is less.” Ouch.

Jamie Radich, sales and events manager at Loring’s, says the contract encourages couples to “bundle” their requests and, so far, she has yet to enforce it: “It’s a safeguard against over-zealous clients. We call it the ‘Bridezilla Clause.’ A bride once called my cell phone with an emergency: To ask what potatoes go with pork loin. She wasn’t getting married for another year.”

Alan Fields, author of Bridal Bargains, says Radich’s email reads like an attorney’s contract. “I’ve never seen a clause like that before,” he says. “It seems a little over the top. Isn’t responding to queries from customers part of what a caterer does? If you have mimosas on your cocktail menu and it’s freezing in Florida and there are no oranges, doesn’t that require a phone call? Isn’t that life?”

And it’s partly the bridal industry that stresses brides out in the first place, Radich says. “You don’t need to have your cake and band booked eight months in advance. The industry makes people feel a little panicked that they’re falling behind. I love my job and believe in love, romance and happily ever after.” She also hosts divorce parties. “But not where people worry about the color of the flowers.”

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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