Getting engaged is such an exciting time. However, the exhilaration of saying “I will” can quickly be replaced by the overwhelming concerns surrounding planning a wedding.
Fine Print: Reading and understanding your vendors’ contracts is critical to the success of your wedding. You don’t want to experience the aggravation of feeling cheated because you didn’t read the fine print. Here are some items you must make sure are in every one of your vendor contracts.
1. Correct date, time, and location of the wedding. If you’re having your wedding on a day other than Saturday, be sure to put the day in the contract. I find that many wedding professionals assume that the wedding day is Saturday. Mentioning the proper day in the contract will help ensure the vendor shows up.
2. Contact information for the vendor on the wedding day. Your wedding vendors will not be in their offices on the wedding day. Make sure you have a way of contacting them on the big day in case of changes like moving the ceremony due to inclement weather, or finding him or her if he or she is running behind.
3. All fees (including overtime pricing). Don’t be surprised by any hidden fees. Some couples can be surprised by the cost of service charges levied by caterers and reception sites, for example. Also, if you negotiate your overtime fees with the photographer, videographer, band, and reception site in advance, then you will already know the costs involved if you’re having a great time and you decide to extend the party. That way, you won’t have to negotiate on the wedding day.
4. Methods of payment accepted. Some wedding vendors don’t take credit cards and others don’t take checks on the wedding day. You don’t want to have to run to the bank to get a cashier’s check at the last minute.
5. Due dates of payment installments. Many wedding vendors take periodic payments rather than taking all the money at once. Make sure those terms are outlined in your contract.
6. Name of the actual vendor who will be working at your wedding. Some companies have more than one DJ, photographer, videographer, or officiant working for them. If you have decided to work with one particular individual from that company, protect that decision by including that person’s name in the contract. While it is possible that your chosen person won’t be employed there at the time of the wedding, naming that person is a little bit of insurance that you will get the person you like.
7. Exact services you are contracting. Many wedding companies have names for their packages…Diamond, Emerald, etc. If you’re booking your wedding a year in advance, those packages might change. Ask your vendors to be specific in their contracts when listing what you have agreed to. At the very least, attach the brochure with the package details to the contract and have the vendor initial it.
8. Final delivery date. This is an area where I have had many couples complain. Some photographers and videographers can take six months or more to deliver your final products. If that’s the case, you will want to know up front. At the same time, if your vendor promises delivery in two weeks, you want to have that detail in writing in case any issues come about after the wedding.
For more wedding planning tips, and for everything else you need to plan your wedding, please visit The Perfect Wedding Guide.