So you’ve begun your wedding planning journey, and you’re ready to start booking your vendors. First things first, congratulations! We know that while this may feel overwhelming, it’s also an extremely exciting time in your life. Our job here at Junebug is to make the process as easy as possible for you–which is why we’re here to give you the low down on wedding contracts.
Every single time you book a new vendor–whether it’s a hairstylist, photographer, caterer, musician, or venue–you should have an agreement in writing. Until you have a deposit down and a contract signed, no guarantees for service have been made. Of course, signing a contract is no small feat. So we’re rounding up the five things to look for in your wedding contract before you sign on the dotted line.
5 Things To Check On Your Wedding Contracts
1. Services Provided
The most important aspect of a wedding contract is the services provided. This clause gives you an overview of what the vendor agrees to beyond what their business is. For example, when you’re signing a contract with a wedding photographer it should discuss how many hours they’ve agreed to work, the number of images you’ll be receiving, and whether you’ll be getting physical or digital photos.
This clause should also discuss who specifically will be providing these services. This shouldn’t be an issue if you are working with an individual. However, if you are hiring a company rather than an individual, you want to understand who you’ll be working with.
Unfortunately, things happen and plans change. And while you may not plan on there being a huge thunderstorm the day of the wedding, it does happen. You want to ensure there is a backup plan in case of emergencies. If there’s one thing that the pandemic showed us, it’s that you can never be too prepared.
This makes it crucial to look at cancellation policies. What happens if you need to reschedule and they’re not available on your new date? If they are available, is your retainer fee transferable? These are the questions you should be asking yourself. If they aren’t in the initially drawn-up contract, don’t be afraid to request changes and add clauses. You’ll be thankful you did later on.
3. Smaller Service Details
Before booking your vendors, it’s important to understand precisely what it is you’re looking for. Take a look at your florist, for example. If you’ve found a florist that you’re in love with and put down a deposit but have yet to discuss what kind of arrangements they’re delivering, it might cause problems later. Have a clear vision of the work you want done to be on the same page from the get-go.
Be sure there is a clause that discusses the maximum cost of services included in the details. This way, you’re not getting stuck with a bill much larger than expected by the end of it. Again, having your vision communicated early on will help ensure that this doesn’t happen.
4. Travel Expenses
If you’re having a destination wedding and hiring a vendor that will be traveling for you, you need to understand what additional costs you’re expected to incur to get them there. Are you agreeing to book their flights and pay for their hotel? Are you expected to pay for their gas and mileage if they’re driving? Knowing the answers to these questions will help when setting up your budget.
5. Necessary Logistical Information
Along with everything else we’ve listed, ensure that your contract has all the necessary information, including:
- The time the vendor should arrive on the wedding day
- The date and time of the wedding itself
- The deposit
- When payment installments are due
- Names of everyone involved—including you and your partner
- Contingency plans and substitutions (if necessary)
- Termination agreements
Tips For Signing Wedding Contracts
Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate Terms
If a vendor presents you with a contract that you’re unsatisfied with, don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms. Their word isn’t necessarily final. If there are things you’d like to change, present those changes to them. The worst they can do is say no. If it’s the right fit, they’ll be willing to work with you and make changes to make you feel more comfortable. And of course, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something.
Keep in mind that negotiating terms isn’t the same thing as negotiating price, which we don’t recommend.
Read The Entire Thing
This is the simplest piece of advice we can give you. Wedding contracts are ones that you want to read through with a fine-toothed comb. Because there are so many small details, make sure you understand every single word of it. Keep an eye out for typos and triple-check the dates and times mentioned.
Look For Red Flags
There are some red flags that you can spot before even hiring a vendor, based on their contracts alone. Look out for extreme cancellation periods (say 90 days), prohibiting negative reviews (these can be also referred to as non-disparagement clauses), constant misspellings, and vague details.
You’re now ready to tackle those wedding contracts and book the vendors of your dreams. To find vendors in your area, be sure to check out our vendor directory! It’s full of wedding vendors that we carefully vet for couples around the world.