Client Contracts: 5 Tips For Your Fine Print This Valentine’s Day

Since this romantic holiday often results in many newly engaged couples, wedding industry entrepreneurs should make sure that they are booking new clients with a contract that clearly encapsulates the services they will provide in the months ahead.

Mary Lee Herrington, Esq.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for your Wedding Vendor Contract as you book these newly engaged couples:

  • State clearly what your services entail and any limitations. Will you provide limitless site visits, or does your fee only cover up to X number?  How about travel expenses and per diems?  How many revisions of the stationery suite are included in your design fee?  Will you provide retouching services on every single image from the wedding gallery?
  • State clearly your policy on rescheduling vs canceling the service. What exactly is your policy?  Will you reschedule the wedding for a new date at no cost?  Will you refund any money if they cancel by a certain time?  Does it depend on the circumstances (which are)?  Do you have a force majeure clause?
  • Make them agree to be nice and cooperate. Planners, I am thinking of you here.  You need to be treated like the professional that you are, not a punching bag!  So much of planning weddings also entails timely feedback from the client, so make sure you get them to agree to work in a collaborative manner.
  • Enumerate your Day-of Teams. What happens if the clients’ plans wind up being so much more elaborate than when they first started talking to you for a quote, and now you need more help on the day?  And are these team members freelancers or employees?  Have you gotten them to sign contracts too?  There are significant legal and tax implications for each designation, but you also should be sure that an increase in staff numbers is reflected in your contract with the client.
  • Limit liability and indemnify your business. Make sure you cover yourself, whether you choose to state it in the most advantageous terms for your business or agree to mutual covenants here that cuts both ways between your business and the clients.

I will leave you with one final thought: make sure the contract fits the event and the client.  Just like no two weddings are ever the same, the same goes for clients and their contracts.  Good luck signing them on the dotted line and have a happy booking season!

Mary Lee Herrington, Esq.

{ Photo by Charlie Juliet Photography }