SINGAPORE: Two newlywed couples have recently come forward, revealing that they have fallen victim to what they have deemed a wedding decor service scam that not only cost them financially but also marred the cherished memories of their special day.

One of the affected couples, the Xies (transliterated from Mandarin), held their wedding at the Carlton Hotel last Saturday (25 May). Recounting their ordeal to 8World reporters, the 28-year-old bride said she discovered the wedding decor company “wowfloristsg” on Xiaohongshu and reached out to the business owner via WhatsApp.

Initially, the couple opted for a photobooth decoration service priced at S$588. The owner sweetened the deal by including hand flowers, wedding registration decorations, and a wedding reception table setup.

In July 2023, Mrs Xie paid a 50% deposit of $294. Following a meeting earlier this year, the couple decided to add aisle decor services, bringing the total cost to $1,176 and increasing their deposit to $940.80.

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However, the trouble began when the design sketch for the photobooth, received two weeks before the wedding, appeared highly unprofessional, raising their suspicions.

On the day of the wedding, the business operator not only arrived late but also informed the Xies at the last moment that they could not provide services on time due to delays from a previous event. To add to their frustration, the owner later claimed that weather conditions prevented the delivery of the necessary equipment.

With guests already present, Mrs Xie said she had no choice but to ask for a delayed setup, which ultimately never materialized.

Another couple, Leon and his wife, also fell prey to the same company during their wedding at CHIJMES on 18 May this year. They, too, found “wowfloristsg” on Xiaohongshu and booked the service through WhatsApp. Despite paying a deposit of S$310.40, the business owner failed to show up on their wedding day, leaving their plans in disarray.

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Both couples noted that while the business owner maintained a friendly demeanor, he consistently refused to refund their deposits, citing various excuses. The Xies and Leon added that the financial loss was secondary to the emotional toll and the significant disruption to their once-in-a-lifetime event.

Mrs Xie’s post on Xiaohongshu uncovered a startling pattern; seven to eight other victims had experienced similar issues. This discovery led to the formation of a “victim group,” now comprising 15 members, including several couples who are yet to marry and seek to avoid a similar fate.

“Marriage is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we don’t want any new couples to endure this nightmare,” Mrs Xie expressed passionately in an interview with 8World, “We aim to expose this behavior to prevent further deception.”

The affected couples have reported the matter to the police. However, the authorities have apparently indicated that the incident is currently considered a breach of contract rather than a scam. The newlyweds are determined that more people must report their experiences to elevate the matter to the level of a recognized scam. They urge other affected couples to come forward and share their stories.

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In response, the business owner told 8World that while some services were provided, time constraints hindered the completion of all arrangements. The business has pledged to refund the money, while claiming that it will take time to gather the necessary funds.

TISG/