Understanding your wedding vendor contracts before you sign them is critical for protecting your best interest as a client. Most contracts are customizable, so you should be able to change the terms that you don’t agree with before you sign. By asking a few simple questions, you can clarify and negotiate the terms of a contract and make sure that your needs are met before you agree to legally solidify your relationship with a vendor. With that in mind, be sure that the following details are spelled out in your contracts before signing:
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How do I cancel and will I get my deposit back?
Things happen. You may need to cancel or change the date of your wedding. Or perhaps, you find a better venue and want to change your plans. You’ll want to fully understand what happens if you need to cancel your agreement and if you’ll get any portion of your deposit back. Keep in mind that you may not get any of your deposit back if you cancel after the agreed upon deadline.
What is included?
This is an important question to ask whether you’re talking to your entertainment, venue, photographer, or other service provider. Sample questions might include:
Entertainment. Do you bring your own equipment? What are your power needs? Do you bring your own protection from the elements, such as a pop-up tent?
Venue. Is set up time included? Do I need to arrange for my own garbage to be removed? What power sources are included?
Photographer. Is the cost of an assistant included? Do you bring backup equipment? Do you charge for transportation?
Caterer. Do you provide tables and chairs? Do you offer bartending services? Are linens included?
If there are specifics that you are envisioning or expecting, be sure to have those noted in your contract so that you and your vendor are on the same page.
What happens if we go over the agreed time limit?
Most vendors will charge extra if you go over time. The venue will most likely charge for overages and extra cleanup time. DJs and bands will often charge extra if you want them to play longer. If your photographer needs to stay longer, that may cost extra, as well. A busy officiant may charge a fee if your ceremony doesn’t start on time. Ask ahead of time what these charges might be and also understand that some service providers may not be able to stay longer if you go over the allotted time.
What kind of insurance do you carry?
You should ensure and verify that your vendors carry the proper insurance. For example, your caterer should have alcohol insurance for their bartenders and bar service, DJs should have their equipment insured, and the venue should carry adequate insurance. as well. You may also need to have your own wedding or event insurance. Ask a lawyer what is right for you.
What is the final price?
Try to, as close as possible, get the final price listed for the services provided. Ask about taxes, service fees, gratuities, overtime fees, cleanup fees, cost per guest, and more. Sometimes eager vendors fail to include every charge option in the initial contract. Ask about all the fees before you make any agreements official.
Asking a few key questions can help you save money and hassle in the long run. If your wedding planner is making arrangements for you, make sure to carefully review the contracts they provide before you sign them.