An email trail or conversation protects no one – especially YOU!

Would someone buy a brand new house without signing a contract with the home builder? Of course they wouldn’t! This is a major event. They want their purchase to be protected.

So, then why on earth would someone consider approaching their wedding day any differently?

Believe it or not, despite the magnitude of a wedding, the number of couples who agree to work with a wedding vendor without having a contract absolutely baffles me.

I suppose some see reviewing and signing a contract to be an unnecessary hassle. While others, perhaps, simply don’t realize the importance of having one and therefore, never ask. I’d like to think that all service providers would present their clients with a contract upfront and enforce signing. But, this isn’t always the case.

My Simple Rule: Get a Contract, Review the Contract, Sign the Contract! 

Don’t get me wrong…many vendors do have strict contract policies but there are also some out there who choose to not make this a priority. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you. As a business owner myself, I never enter into an agreement with a client without a contract confirmed and an initial deposit provided. Yes, this helps to protect me and my business but it also provides my clients with assurance that I will perform the services promised and that I understand their needs.

Still, many couples see contracts as a nuisance and feel they serve no purpose other than protecting the vendor. If this is you, think again.

For a minute, imagine you booked your dream photographer for your wedding – someone who’s work you’ve admired for years and have always envisioned having them (and only them) shoot your big day. You couldn’t be more thrilled to have them on your ‘wedding dream team’. But when you contact them with only 6 weeks to go, you find out that your date was never confirmed and they are now fully booked for another wedding.

BOOM – bubbling excitement instantly turns to gut-wrenching devastation followed by anger and sheer panic at the thought of trying to find another great photographer on short notice and within your budget.

True story! (sadly, this happened to an old colleague of mine)

So, what happened exactly? Well, simply put and long story short – a contract was never confirmed. As a result, the date was never booked. The bride exchanged numerous emails with the photographer and was under the impression that they had confirmed the booking together. But that was not the photographer’s understanding. Although a contract had been sent to the bride, it was never returned. This resulted in the photographer taking another booking for the same date because they assumed this couple was no longer interested in hiring them.

Of course, this story raises a ton of questions as to why or how this could happen. And yes, there are some gaps (after all, there’s two sides to every story, right?). But at the end of the day, regardless of blame and what was or wasn’t said in emails, this happened because there was NO CONTRACT.

Do situations like this happen often? No. But this particular story offers a great example for why contracts are so vitally important.

Don’t allow yourself to be so caught up in planning that you over look the most vital details and steps.

Contracts pull together all of the nitty gritty details like deposit schedules, deadlines, special requests and the services agreed upon. A contract supersedes anything that may have been discussed in initial conversations and clearly lays out the terms and agreements to avoid miscommunication. Easily said, contracts ensure that both parties are on the same page moving forward.

Now, many vendors will openly provide you with a contract but it’s your responsibility as the client to review that contract in detail and return a signed copy as final confirmation. Feeling overwhelmed or that you lack time are no reason to push a contract aside. You can’t assume that the vendor knows what you want or that you are committing to their service simply based on a few emails or phone calls.

In the off chance a vendor ever tells you that they don’t require a contract, don’t celebrate because you got off easy with no homework. This is something that should raise some serious questions and concerns for you!

I’d be thinking:

  • What aren’t they telling us?
  • Are they hiding something?
  • Maybe they aren’t a real business?
  • Maybe they don’t have insurance?
  • Are they not trustworthy and reputable?
  • How do we know they will follow through as promised?

Now, let’s be honest – the majority of wedding vendors are top notch and trustworthy people. They aren’t out to deceive you or take advantage of you. But, as with anything, you can never be too careful.

Do your due diligence. Take the time to review your contracts and ask questions if something is unclear or missing. Don’t allow yourself to be so caught up in planning that you over look the most vital details and steps.

Trust me, when everything goes just as you had planned on your wedding day….the extra time and attention that you took will have been well worth it.

Katrina Scarlett, Wedding Coach

Do you have any questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you –