You will have to work with a number of people for your wedding– your photographer, venue agent, caterers, florist, dress makers, band or DJ etc. It is necessary that you back up your arrangement with all these vendors with a solid contract that outlines the details of their services.
The benefits of having a written contract are many, the most important being that
- a contract controls your expectations on what you get
- it allows you to take legal action, should the products or services not be delivered as per description
Remember the following 5 points when signing your vendor contracts, and you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Write it all down
The easiest way to avoid or solve any dispute, is to have every relevant thing written and signed. Never settle for a verbal understanding; have it written into your contract and you can enforce it. If there are changes to plan after you have signed the initial contract, make sure these are also incorporated into the contract, so there is no confusion later.
Spare no detail
Rather than just signing a contract that outlines the arrangement, make sure that you put all the specific details in writing. This will clearly let both parties know what exactly was agreed upon, and you will not have to entertain any mix-ups.
For example, if you want your band to be formed of the specific musicians you heard on the tape, make sure it is included in the contract. If your floral centerpieces are to be designed in a specific manner, write that down in your contract. Should there be an issue at a later point, an outsider who looks at your contract should clearly understand why you weren’t satisfied.
Take time to read and understand every word
Make sure that you clearly understand your vendor contract. So, read it thoroughly. Go through the clauses on emergency situations, cancellations and additional fees, in detail. If you do not understand anything, ASK!
Don’t assume that a vendor’s contract is standard—if their terms are not acceptable, you can always negotiate. If they refuse to make changes, or add the precise terms of your agreement to the form, you may have to reconsider whether you want to work with that vendor.
Specify the payment schedule and details
Make sure the contract contains details on when the amount will be settled and by whom If the amount will be paid in parts, make sure this is specified in the contract and you are aware of it. If your parents or your in-laws are bearing the expenses, make sure the contract is drawn up in their name and they sign it.
Get a contract copy and obtain receipts for everything
For your contract to be valid, you need to have a copy with you. Make sure you save a copy of every contract you sign, and that your vendor counter-signs every additional change you make. Also, obtain receipts for any deposit you make on the final amount, or any payment you complete.
Contracts may seem like a huge headache, but they are a necessary evil. To keep your wedding going just as you planned, a simple contract is certainly better than none at all.
For more wedding tips and planning advice, visit us at Best for Bride.