WEDDING PLANNING TIPS: Wedding planner and vendor contracts can be tricky to navigate through. It’s not uncommon for an engaged couple to sign 10+ contracts as part of the wedding planning process. Each of those contracts is from a different category/service provider with different features in each document.
Here are our top 10 things to beware of before signing a vendor or wedding planner contract:
1. Vague clauses – the more vague a clause is, the higher the chances of misinterpretation & misunderstandings.
2. Cancellation Clauses – understand your rights in case of cancellation. It’s not uncommon for fees to be due in full when cancelling a wedding contract, due to the nature of the industry and the high demand on peak weekends.
3. Delivery Fees & Travel Fees – these can really add up. Be sure you are aware of all the fees involved, and if they are not stated, make sure you get them added in, to avoid “surprises” down the road.
4. The words “Minimum Guarantee” – appear in many contracts. It’s important to note that you are in fact guaranteeing this number & committing to pay for them. For example, if your wedding documents indicate a “minimum guaranteed” number of guests, it’s wise to indicate fewer people than you actually expect. Remember that the number of people you indicate here is the number of guests that you’ve 100% committed to paying for, even if fewer guests actually show up.
5. Up-front payments – sometimes you will need to pay in advance for wedding services. In other situations, you should not. Knowing which categories to pay up front for, and which to hold back on can be very confusing. Consult your wedding planner for guidance on which suppliers legitimately require up-front payments, and which contracts should be negotiated based on a percentage being held back until closer to the wedding date.
6. Witness signature – is there a witness signature space at the bottom of the agreement? There should always be a witness signing off on the legal documents as they are being signed.
7. Meals – many suppliers working through the dinner hour will list their meals as part of their contractual clauses. Be sure to look out for this information and incorporate them into your meal count and seating template, otherwise they are entitled to leave your wedding to eat off-site, for an undefined length of time.
8. Wedding planner & vendor contact information – shockingly, it’s not uncommon for a company to exclude their own contact information on their contracts. It’s important that you have their address & contact information listed on the documents that are signed.
9. The promise of an individual – when a specific individual within a company promises to be present on your wedding day, their name should appear within that document. Otherwise, the vendor is able to send any one of their representatives. Of course, there may be many reasons that person would not be able to attend (illness, emergency, etc), but noting their name is always beneficial.
10. Details of your package/services – wedding contracts should list the promises the wedding planner or vendor is making to you, not just your promise to pay them. A contract is not complete without a listing of the package details you are booking with that supplier. The items/products/services should be detailed within their contractual agreement.