Contract Concerns? What You Need to Know Before You Sign


You’ve done your research and found a vendor you love and once you’re ready to commit, BOOM! You get the page equivalent of a college term paper dropped in front of you. Suddenly you start to worry that you need to hire an attorney to comb over legalese because it feels like you’re about to sign your life away. It’s going to be ok.

Contracts can be intimidating, but they’re put in place to protect you and your vendor. All too often, couples end up getting short-changed when they go with a vendor who might be a friend or acquaintance who doesn’t live up to their verbal commitment. A signed agreement gives you grounds to argue if you feel a service provider hasn’t lived up to their end of the bargain. On the other hand, those contracts release your vendor from certain liabilities – any they're all things you need to be aware of. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by a contract, we have a breakdown of some of the most common clauses and provisions and what that means for you.

Signing contracts can be intimidating

Acts of God/Nature or Force majeure

If your venue is flattened by a tornado or your photographer loses all of his or her equipment in a flood, you’re unlikely to be able to hold them financially accountable due to a Force majeure clause. These instances are rare, but when they happen, it’s clear that no entity is responsible. While they are standard in most service-based contracts, read the full clause anyway because there will be valuable information about what happens to your deposit and any payments you’ve made. In some cases, you may not be able to expect a refund. If it isn’t clearly stated, make sure to ask.

Vendor meals and breaks

Even if it isn’t explicitly stated in a contract, it’s good form to feed people who are working for you on your wedding day. In a lot of cases, they will be working upwards of six hours and/or during standard meal times. Most vendors require that they be provided a meal and, depending on the length of their work day, may have scheduled break times. This is one of the details we manage with our Day-Of Coordination services, but it’s very important to add those meals to your final head count with the caterer, if you’re hiring one. Also, confirm with your vendors about any assistants they may bring with them who will also need to be fed.

Indemnification and Hold Harmless

Popular with venues, this clause usually states that the property cannot be held liable for any accidents or injuries that occur during your wedding and reception. Most of these clauses also include a line that holds the renter responsible for court costs if someone does attempt to sue, so this is a section to read particularly carefully.  This is a good opportunity to ask your venue representative questions about certain features of the grounds you may be concerned about as well as how their security (if they require it) monitors the area.

Cancellation and transfers

Things happen. Sometimes couples have a reason they need to push the date back, move it up or cancel altogether. If you find yourself in this situation, consult your contract about the cancellation or transfer policy. Some contracts allow for an incremental refund based on the number of days prior to your wedding or after the contract was signed. Other contracts don’t provide any refund at all. In the event that you need to make a change, information is usually clearly provided to help you calculate the cost. If it isn’t, ask your vendor for their policy, ideally before you sign.

The good news is, we’re here to help you sort through all of the contract questions prior to the wedding AND make sure you’re meeting all of your obligations for the day-of. It can be a lot to handle, but when you focus on the guarantees you’re getting out of the contract, the value is more apparent. We’re here to help you every step of the way, so if you’re struggling with any of the details, send us a message and we’ll get back with you to set up a consultation!

Are there any other clauses or provisions that are leaving you scratching your head? Do you have concerns about what you will and won’t be provided? Leave your questions in the comments!

Three Easy Ways to Earn Money Back at Your Wedding

It’s easy to rack up the dollar signs when it comes to paying for a wedding, but it’s an investment that returns in love, memories and, duh, a life with your favorite person no matter how much you spend. Most couples look for smart ways to pinch a few pennies along the way, but the need to spend and save wisely doesn’t end at “I do!” Selling or renting your used wedding items are well known and loved ways to make back a few bucks, but it can be a daunting task. Many couples favor rewards-generating credit cards when paying for wedding expenses, but is another credit card a responsible choice right now? For now, think about these quick and practically painless ways to enjoy a little extra bonus after the leftover cake has been eaten and the decorations have been stowed away.

Ring in some rides!

Do you have a go-to ride sharing app? Take advantage of that promo code and do your guests and yourself a favor! No one wants their loved ones driving home after too much celebratory champagne, but providing shuttles for your guest might not always be practical. Services like Lyft and Uber are especially helpful if parking around your venue is limited or for-pay, and offering your personal promo code to friends and family who don’t yet use the app gives them a free ride (or rides). Once they’ve enjoyed their trip, you get your credit which can save you some cash on your honeymoon or whenever you need someone else to do the driving. You can use your wedding website to fill in guests on how to claim their free ride, and we can help you out with custom made signage to serve as a gentle reminder at the reception.

Vouch for your vendors.

Hair styling by Vivienne Vermuth, Photo by Shaina Sheaff

Hair styling by Vivienne Vermuth, Photo by Shaina Sheaff

Weddingland is built on referrals and recommendations, so many wedding professionals offer you a little incentive for sharing the love. Did you have a makeup and hair stylist that made you feel like a queen? Was your photographer part magician when it came to capturing your special moments? Ask if they have a referral program and remember the fact that you’re helping out everyone involved when you play match-maker and refer their services.  Whether it’s a print credit from your photographer, a gift card from your caterer or a discount on future services from your beauty specialist, helping a pleasant professional earn more business while taking some of the stress out of finding that verified vendor for someone you know is a pretty great feeling on its own.

Register wisely.

I love registries because they take the guesswork out of gift giving. When it comes to weddings, many guests will feel the same. Even if you feel like you’re set with all of the towels and dishes you’ll ever need, you can take advantage of some of the benefits certain stores offer just for setting up a registry. Retailers like Target and Crate&Barrel have special gifts for couples who sign up. You can also play the long game and look for department stores like Dillard’s and Macy’s that offer completion coupons good for 10, 15, even 20% off items remaining on your registry after the wedding. This goes a long way with those big ticket items you didn’t really expect anyone to buy!

They may not ways to recoup thousands on your wedding, but you can smile knowing you’ve helped someone out and got a little bonus wedding gift out of it! Have you found any wedding-related perks you want to share? Let us know in the comments!