Tips on wedding vendor contracts

If you are planning a wedding in Northern Michigan (or anywhere for that matter), you will be hiring some vendors. Regardless of the size and scope of the event, and even in the case of an elopement, vendors are essential to the success of a wedding. It is your job as a bride to communicate your vision and desires to these vendors. "How?" you ask? The answer is simple: contracts.  Simply stated, contracts are written agreements that are intended to be enforceable by law. Contracts are meant to protect you and your investment as well as the vendor. The important thing about contracts is to READ THEM! Throughly reading the contracts will help you understand the structure and practices of each company as you enter a world that these vendors occupy every day. Contracts should be relatively straightforward. If not, compose a list of questions and schedule a phone call with the vendor to discuss. Any competent and service-oriented vendor should be able to answer all of your questions.

Since nothing should be left to chance on your special day, contracts are essential. Contracts contain the necessary information specific to each vendor. Wedding venues, caterers, musicians, wedding coordinators, officiants, rental companies, florists, photographers, transportation companies, and accommodations all fall under the wedding vendor umbrella.

Each wedding vendor's contract will contain details specific to each company, however important details contained in all contracts should include:

-correct location of event and contact information for both parties

-start time and end time for service being offered

-the services being offered and the costs of those services

-payment terms

-cancellation policy

For example, I own a catering company so my contracts outline the food and beverages being served, service staffing needs and sometimes the rentals depending on the job. I do multiple consultations with my clients to ensure that the menu and style of service they are envisioning are what is represented in writing.  However, ever vendor uses a different contract and approaches them differently.  If you don't see something on the contract that you expected or is important to you, just ask.  There will be details specific to each vendor and it is of the utmost importance to understand and become comfortable with their contracts.  Many vendors require a signed contract and a deposit to secure your details and the date, while some do not.  Following the terms of the contract are very important- for both you and the vendor.

For many brides, this will be the only time they have ever planned a wedding. It is essential to educate oneself during the process. Talk to the vendors, do your research, ask a lot of questions. The goal is to align yourself with vendors who best meet your needs, both in terms of the overall vision of the event and honoring your investment. Do not take anything for granted...make sure you discuss your expectations and get the pertinent details in writing.

Many Northern Michigan wedding vendors have waiting lists for certain dates. If you have "committed" to a vendor but have not given them a deposit and/or a signed contract if one is required, remember that you have not actually taken the steps to secure your details.

Contracts are a necessary tool for communicating your vision and protecting your investment. Reading the wedding vendor contracts, asking questions and expressing your expectations for your wedding are very important. Make sure all the necessary elements are detailed- in writing- and your wedding day will flow smoothly.