Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vendor Agreements, Do you Need Them?

When entering into an agreement with wedding professionals, as in any business relationship, where there is an exchange of money for products or services, expectations must be clearly defined.  Weddings are a costly business.  Every bride and groom spend thousands of dollars to make their Big Day perfect.  They all rely on surrounding themselves with people that they feel can deliver that to them.  But before entering into a relationship with such person or company, here are some tips on what to expect.

Agreements or contracts must include:

  • 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 with white miniature Calla lilies, red roses, and seasonal greenery, sized in a pilsner vase with submerged orchids”)

For Services:

  • 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 electrical or special requirement of the venue
  • Additional charges for night pick up or above ground ballrooms.
  • Any delivery of products after the wedding (such as photographers or video) should be listed, with a date by which you will receive the product

Regarding prices and payments:

  • 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, content 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

Taxable products or services:

  • All applicable taxes should be listed.
  • All rental taxes should be listed.
  •  Required gratuities should be listed , and if they are not required but encourage, this information should be included

Special requests:

  • 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).
  • Parking or travel fees
  • Overtime fees
  • Restriction on lifting and moving of equipment, products, furniture etc must be clear.


  • Schedule should be listed in detail, including the acceptable forms of payment and applicable penalties (for example, if a personal check is returned.)
  • Due date of such payment(s) must be included
  • Final payment date and amount must be listed.
  • Charges, or penalty for making changes after the final order is placed, must be clearly stated.


  • Cancellation policies should be included in the contract, with specifics regarding cancellation by either party.
  • Deposit requirement and the refund policy must be clear
  •  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 the 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.

If expectations change, make sure to record the changes in writing.  This will protect you, and validate accepted changes by the vendor.  After all, it is your one and only day.  Surrounding yourself with an event team that understands your vision, and enhances your wedding experience, that is the right team for you.

BBFN (Bridal Bliss For Now), 


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