Contracts are an important, necessary part of your relationship with your wedding vendors. What exactly should the contracts include? Here are some points about vendor contracts, and what you can and should expect.
- Full company name, address and phone number of the vendor
- Names of the bride and groom
- Date and time of the wedding and reception (if you don’t have this information at the time of signing, it should be noted that the information will be added at a later date)
- Services or products being provided should be specified, with as much detail listed as possible. (For example, on a floral contract, instead of “ten centerpieces,” a better idea would be to have “ten centerpiece arrangements containing white miniature Calla lilies, red roses, and seasonal greenery, sized in a medium vase proportioned for an 72” round table.”)
- Set-up time, start, finish, and break-down time should be listed
- Name of the person or persons who will be performing the service
- Any delivery of products after the wedding (such as photographs or videos) should be listed, with a date by which you will receive the product.
- Amount that is refundable should be listed, with the charges as detailed as possible
- Each item should be priced separately unless it is part of a particular package
- In the case of packages, contents should be listed in detail
- If there is the possibility of adding on services at a later date, those prices should be listed so that you have the pricing guaranteed—particularly the pricing for photos and albums.
- Set-up fees should be included in the contract. If they are not listed separately, it should be clear that the price includes set-up and break-down.
- All applicable taxes should be listed in detail.
- Required gratuities should be listed, and if they are not required but encouraged, this information should be included.
Should be noted somewhere in the contract (such as no "Hokey-Pokey" played by the DJ, or Vegetarian meals provided by the caterer upon request).
Schedule should be listed in detail, including the forms of payment acceptable, and applicable penalties (for example, if a personal check is returned.)
- Cancellation policies should be included in the contract, with specifics regarding cancellation by either party.
- If there are other relevant policies that the vendor follows, they should also be included in the contract.
You should be presented with an original copy of the contract, with two sets of original signatures—yours (or the person responsible for paying) and a legal representative of the vendor. In order to make the contract binding, you will need to present compensation at the time of signing.
If the contract lacks any of these items, don’t hesitate to request corrections, additions or verification of details. It is in everyone’s best interest to have everything listed in advance. If the vendor hesitates to provide you with a detailed contract, perhaps you should consider a different vendor.
By ensuring that you have a valid contract listing as many specific details as possible, you can feel more relaxed regarding your vendors as you approach the big day—and better safe than sorry!
Stearns & Harris
An Urban Affair
1229 N. North Branch, Suite 304
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 787-7414 fax