It’s surprising how many wedding professionals do not use a contract to formalize an agreement for the wedding services they provide. And it’s even more surprising that those whom do use contracts are not mindful of having clauses that protect their business and view it more as an order form to organize the details.
Ideally every wedding should go perfectly. Every bride and groom should be fair people who are easy to please and everything you discussed should be totally understood. Those are all false assumptions. Things go wrong. Brides and grooms can have unsaid expectations and blame you for not fulfilling them. And sometimes just for the game or gain of trying to get as much as they can, they will exploit the smallest error, omission or mistake.
That is why every wedding business needs a contract and it is worth every penny to hire an attorney or find another business in your category from another area that did has a professional, binding contract and ask for their permission to use their contract as a base for yours. In order not to intimidate your clients, contacts should be kept as simple as possible, however they must be thorough enough so that they protect you from being victimized and exploited by exaggerated claims.
Here are some things to factor into a contract:
- What happens in the event of a cancellation? For example a cancellation fee or no refund on things made specifically for the customer like invitations.
- What happens in the event of a postponement? For example all prices and services will stay the same based on availability and a finite period of time for the event to be rescheduled.
- What if there is a reduction of services? Is there a penalty?
- Including a clause for the right to substitute another professional if they are booking a particular person for the date.
- A clause for “Act of God” occurrences that can prevent performance or result in under performance of a service.
- Liability limited to refund of all monies paid in the event of a problem.
- Being held harmless of consequential damages. For example if you own a limousine service and the car is late, not being responsible for paying the photographer’s overtime charge.
It may be beneficial to your reputation in certain cases to make concessions to avoid litigation and negative reviews. However, protecting your business with the right contract can at least give you some level of protection.
No matter how great the trust is that you have built up with a client, making things official by putting your services in writing will not only benefit you but it will also benefit the client and give them piece of mind.