We are surrounded by contracts every day and there is no real end in sight. We live in a "I'll sue you!" wold, thus our lives now revolve around everyone covering their butt ALL.THE.TIME. Here is a list of the daily contracts we enter without even thinking about it: Cable, Internet, Cell phone, Car loan, Mortgage, Gas, Electric, Amazon Prime and so many more. When it comes to arguably one of the most expensive parties of your life, having and reviewing wedding contracts are a necessity.
This is NOT a post about prenuptial agreements!
Finding all of your wedding vendors can be hard enough. Once you find them, they shove these legal papers in front of you and make you feel as if you are signing your life away a little at a time. Wedding contracts do NOT need to be scary or overwhelming. Arguably, these are fun and exciting things that you are agreeing to (Photo, Video, Bar, Lighting, Flowers) and not something overwhelming, or at least it shouldn't be. It is a simple agreement: Here is the product or service I provide, this is what and when you will pay me for it.
Making sure that you sit and speak with the vendor to explain in detail what their contracts mean is very important. The basics of a wedding contract include the names of the people entering the contract, the event date, the times of provided service and what the outcome will be. For example, you sign a photography contract and you will expect to have him/her onsite with you for 8 hours and in 6-8 weeks you will get a beautiful wedding album. My contract for example basically says, "be a nice human being, I will be nice back." Please feed me, this is what you will get in return...fairly simple.
Here is a brief run down of the key elements to a successful wedding contract:
- Make sure that all of the wedding/event dates are the same. I have caught more than once a wrong event date as I reviewed my client's contracts.
- Make sure your guest count is the same. The worst thing ever would be to have 225 guests and only food for 125. Double check your numbers...OFTEN!
- Make sure the timelines are corresponding. If you sign an 8 hour photography package, make sure all of the important events (ceremony, cake cutting, first dance) all happen within that 8 hour window. Otherwise, you will be missing some key elements of your day in the album you receive after the wedding.
- Follow up and confirm with all vendors a week or two prior to the wedding day to fill them in on any last minute changes. A wedding vendor will always refer back to their notes or their contracts if something goes awry. If you do not inform them of changes, these vendors are NOT mindreader!
- Hire a wedding planner to help catch some of these common mistakes. At the time of signing a wedding contract, there might be some gaping holes in your timeline, this is quite common. However, that is something a wedding planner can help fill in for you and make sure your other vendors are all kept up to date!
I hope this shed a little bit of light on how to approach a wedding vendor's contract and have them break it down into simple easy to understand language. You are getting married, not trying to pass the bar. Have them (or a planner) break it down for you!
If you have other questions about wedding contracts, send me an email at Hello@AshleyNicoleEventsInc.com and I will be happy to help!