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10 Important Items to Look for in Wedding Vendor Contracts

By Arkady Bukh, Esq.

Did you know the average wedding budget comes at approximately $20,000? With that kind of money at stake, there can be a lot of pressure to make sure everything turns out perfectly.

DJ cut the party too short? Cake never arrived? Make sure you put it in writing before the wedding, just in case something goes awry. These wedding vendor contracts can help you stay protected and help you cover some important items that are often overlooked:

1. No review. No signature. Try to negotiate with your wedding vendor if they include a clause that prohibits you from reviewing their services after the wedding. As a customer, you have the right to share your experience with the contractor.

2. Minimum number. Give close attention to the minimum number of guests required. If the vendor has 100 listed as a minimum and only 80 guests show up, you may have to cough up that money anyway. Your contract may state that the vendor will only honor the minimum prices of a 100-person guest list.

3. Dates and times. Double check, no triple check, the dates and times on the contract. It’s easy to miss a small error.

4. Cancellation policies. It’s routine in the industry for wedding deposits to be non-refundable. However, some contracts require full payment if the nuptials are cancelled less than 90 days before the wedding.

5. The music. Any contract for music, either a live band or a DJ, should note the time of arrival and departure. Make sure to record who has the authority to let the music go into overtime.

6. Photography. A photographer’s contract should spell out how long the photographer will spend covering the event as well as your choice of shots.

7. Car and driver. Contracting for a car to transport the couple, or guests, from one location to another could include tolls and parking fees, in addition to any amenities inside the vehicle.

8. Copyright. Find out if you are allowed to copy designs made by your invitation designer, or if you can repost photographs on your social media.

9. Insurance. Who pays for the broken camera if your obnoxious nephew trips the photographer?  Make sure each vendor provides you with proof of insurance.

10. Cost overruns. Be sure to know how much it’s going to cost if a photography session runs late or if the caterer needs to bring in extra food.

Every wedding will probably have a few glitches, but many can be avoided with a wedding vendor contract. Getting your wedding vendors’ responsibilities in writing helps ensure your wedding day is stress free so you can focus on what’s really important: getting married.

Do you have any tips on planning a stress-free wedding? Share your thoughts below!

Arkady Bukh is a high-profile American criminal defense attorney and a founding partner in Law Offices of Bukh & Associates in New York City. As a criminal defense attorney, Bukh represents individuals and closely held businesses, and maintains an extensive practice in criminal law, family law, and different aspects of civil law. Bukh also practices in the areas of international complex litigation, white collar criminal defense, international estate planning, as well as second citizenship and residence planning. Bukh is a frequent commentator on news and talk shows on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and other networks.

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