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The MBA Bride | August 22, 2017

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5 essential elements of a wedding vendor contract

Bride & Groom Signing a Contract

Business professionals know that contracts are a part of every day business. While many lack law degrees, business pros take the time to read the contracts and understand all the nuances.

Much to my surprise, the wedding industry has a somewhat lackadaisical approach to contracts. Some individuals feel that a hand shake is enough while others agree to terms put on a napkin. Going into a contract with a vendor is a critical way to ensure that expectations are met on the part of both parties. It’s also legally enforceable in a court of law. A judge would have difficulty upholding a verbal contract or an agreement scribbled on a napkin. 

Business-savvy brides should ensure that each and every vendor they hire have clear and written terms on the contract to protect them and the big day. The Knot features a web page that walks you through all elements required for each vendor contract. Boiled down to the basics, here are 5 common elements that every vendor contract should have:

1. Names

Be sure that the contract inludes the bride’s name, groom’s name, and vendor’s or company’s name. Doing so allows you to identify who is responsible in the contract. Typically the individual making the offer (the vendor) requires that the individual accepting the offer (the bride and groom) put their name in the first line of the contract. And don’t forget to get signatures with dates next to them to prove that all parties willingly agree.

2. Delivery

Be very specific when you identify how and when you expect the goods or services to be received in the contract. If you expect your photographer to be at your parents house 3 hours before the ceremony, make sure that is included in the contract. As nice as it would be, your vendors can’t read your mind, so say your expectations out loud and include it on the contract. Be sure set-up time, start, finish, and break-down time are listed, as well as the name of the person or persons who will be performing the service. Delivery of products after the wedding (such as photographs or videos) should be listed along with a date by which you will receive the product.

3. What’s provided

Again, be specific with a detailed list of the goods or services that will be provided. The Knot provides some of the specifics each vendor should include in his/her contract. If what you want is not written in the contract, the vendor is not required to provide the good or service. Include it up front so expectations are set correctly.

4. Cancellation Terms

No one likes to think about what would happen if you had to cancel or delay your wedding. But it’s important that your contract terms indicate what you will be responsible for if something goes awry. As such, be sure that the contract includes the requirements for cancellation by bride and groom, including any fines or deadlines).

5. Money

In order to make the contract binding, you will need to present compensation when you sign. Be sure to include how much you put down as a deposit and when. Ensure that the subsequent payments schedule and amount expected for each payment (if there is more than one) are included in the contract. The vendor should include a line item indicating if taxes and gratuity are included. Also, make sure that your vendor indicates how they accept payment so that you aren’t surprised or frazzled when they ask for a bank certified check instead of a personal check.

Business-savvy vendors will provide you with an original copy of the contract containing original signatures – they payee and the vendor.

Business-savvy brides should act like business pros when it comes to not only reading through contracts, but ensuring all the required elements are included in the contract. Do not sign a contract unless your vendor includes these five elements.

Question for brides: Which vendor contract has been most thorough for you? Share your story in the comments below.

Picture Source: Dex Knows

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