Necessary Paper Work
Do I need a Contract?
Do I need a Receipt?
A note to the Bride and Groom.
By Carolyn Ambrose
Months prior to your wedding day,
many service providers (companies)
will require a deposit check
to reserve your date…
When you have found someone you would like to work with, make sure you understand what is expected of you and what the professional offers. How many hours/photos does the photographer take? Do they offer Black & White options? What flowers will be used if the ones you order are unavailable? Are there any extra charges beyond what you are buying? Is there a package deal? What is the policy if your professional gets sick or has an emergency and can’t make it? Then who will come in his/her place? What details are you, the bride, responsible for? Who will set up and tear down the decorations? When is the final payment due? And finally, what is the cancellation policy? Maybe you’ve found a better site or your Aunt Betty wants to loan you her 5,000 sq. ft. home with 15 acre estate for your wedding; can you get your deposit back?
Get a feel for the person/people you’ll be working with. Ask whether the person you meet with will be available during your function. If it is a makeup artist, find out if they will be the person applying your makeup the day of the wedding. That also goes for DJs, Florists, Photographers and Hair Dressers. Find out what their company philosophy and policy is and ask yourself if you feel comfortable with it. Make sure you have all your questions answered by the professionals. Trust your instincts.
When you hire—make sure all promises are in writing and signed before deposits are given. Read the contract very carefully!! If you are promised Jumbo Prawns in a white wine sauce as an appetizer, make sure it is stated as such, not just shrimp. The same caution applies to wine that is served and brands of alcohol in the bar at your reception. Will your drinks be top shelf, premium or well?
Also be sure to read the “fine print”. Don’t hesitate to ask if you can take the contract home and read it thoroughly before you sign it. Some hotels have been known to bump a wedding, exchange a type of food, or replace a brand of wine even though the wedding was booked months in advance with a signed contract. Make sure you find out if things like this occur at the site you are considering and how they would plan to compensate should such actions occur.
It’s comforting to know that the company you’re considering has no problem putting the specifics in writing. If a representative has a problem with it, take your business elsewhere. Any professional who practices good business ethics shouldn’t have a problem accommodating your wishes. And don’t worry; all good professionals will put their promises in writing. Good Luck!
Lessons Learned by Previous Brides-to-Be
Researching at least three to five reception sites, photographers, caterers, bakers, stationers, etc., will ensure that you have had a chance to see the variety of options available to you, and there are many! Ask for personal references that will recommend these sites or professionals. Previous clients that have had a good experience will be happy to talk with you. Walk the grounds, eat some cake, taste the food, and see the pictures.Before you hand over money, insist on a written contract and a deposit receipt.If the company you’ve selected uses preprinted contracts, review the fine print before signing.Remember: no question is too stupid to ask and has probably been asked many times before. It is the unasked questions that become the ones you wished you had asked.No matter what the sales person tells you; your check and your credit card statement are not a legal receipt—especially if you feel you’re entitled to a return.Many companies state in the fine print that deposits are nonrefundable. If that’s the case, you may need to reconsider your options.
Resources you may consider before contracting include:
References from the company you’re considering.
References from family, friends, and coworkers.
References from your reception facility.*
Local Better Business Bureau.*
Local Chamber of Commerce.*
* Use these sources as a balance to your research.
Don’t be alarmed if a company is unknown, it doesn’t imply any unprofessional activity.
If you’re in a quandary as to how to get started, you may want to attend one of the ever popular BrideWord Expos. BrideWorld hosts events where you can meet with dozens upon dozens of wedding professionals face-to-face, not to mention an exciting fashion show complete with wedding wear for everyone in the wedding.Back to Blog
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