Over the years, planning a wedding has gotten considerably more complicated. Having a wedding planner is important because the planner can coordinate all or part of your wedding, making it easier for you to actually enjoy your big day. In order to have a stress-free wedding, it's important for you to enter into a wedding planning agreement ahead of time so you know exactly what you and your planner are responsible for.
The Purpose of a Wedding Planning Agreement
A wedding planning agreement ensures that as many issues as possible, both seen and unforeseen, are in the contract. If you're hiring the photographer, for example, then the planner knows ahead of time that she isn't responsible for getting one. Wedding planning contracts state exactly who does what, how to make payment(s), and what happens if someone calls off the wedding.
Because there is so much litigation today, having a wedding planning service agreement protects both you and your wedding planner. While it's impossible to plan for every contingency, it's important to include even minor details. You may want to have an attorney review the agreement, or you can prepare your wedding planning services agreement online. Some companies provide their own wedding planning agreement form, yet it's important to have an attorney review it so you know that it's not one-sided.
How to Word a Wedding Planning Contract
Wedding planning agreements range from a simple form letter written in plain English to a lengthy document containing legal terminology. The best contracts are written in plain English so that everyone understands the contents.
Decide what the wedding planner's responsibilities are. You may want someone who is going to contract with and hire vendors for you, such as a photographer and a band. Or, you may want the wedding planner only to guide you and answer questions about what you need to do next. No matter what level of wedding planning services you use, keeping the contract in simple terms is helpful for both of you.
Terms of a Comprehensive Wedding Planning Services Agreement
A standard wedding planning contract contains at least the basic information about when, where, who, and what; a good agreement also contains detailed information about each vendor, who's hiring the vendor(s), and what services the planner is performing. The wedding planning services agreement should include specifics such as:
- The date of the agreement
- The name of the bride and groom and wedding planning company, with contact information
- Whether the bride and groom, or their parents, are responsible for payment
- Where the event will be held and, if it's a destination wedding, whether the planner is going with you and what you're providing for the planner in terms of room, board, and transportation
- The date and time of each stage of the event
- A backup plan for the location in case the weather doesn't cooperate
- How many consultations you will have with your planner, and what follow-up is provided
- Whether your planner is booking the:
- Band or DJ
- Reception hall
- Catering, or planning the menu
- Venue for the ceremony
- Flowers for the bridal party and the church or wedding venue
- Flowers for the table and any other decorations
- Bakery, and deciding on the cake and cake toppers
- Tuxedo rental
- Hair and makeup artists
- Transportation to events
- Hotel, including a block of rooms for your guests
- Whether the wedding planner is acting as a consultant or is overseeing the entire event
- What the planner will not do, such as picking up people from the airport, or selecting the cake and flowers
- Whether the planner will be available during the ceremony, the cocktail party, the reception, and any time in between each stage of the event
- Whether the planner will be present or whether she'll send someone else in her place or along with her
- That the planner will confirm all vendors several weeks before the wedding
- That this is the entire agreement between the parties
- That amendment of the agreement occurs upon written notice and if agreed to by everyone signing this agreement
- How the planner will be paid, such as what percentage of the total price is a down payment, and when the payments are due
- That if someone cancels the wedding, how much of a refund you're entitled to, as well as how many days' notice you must give the planner in order to receive a partial refund or if you'll lose the deposit
- That the agreement shall be enforced by the laws of your state, specifying the state and county in the event someone brings a lawsuit
- That while the wedding planner will book the best available vendors, she is not responsible for and does not vouch for the vendors' services
- Indemnification clauses, so that each party agrees to hold harmless the other party to the contract
- Release from liability if there's an Act of God, such as a flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane, or other type of disaster beyond anyone's control
- Your consent to let the wedding planner use photos from your event on her website or in her brochure
- Signatures of the people responsible for payment, and signature of the wedding planner
With a comprehensive wedding planning agreement in place, both you and the wedding planner can rest assured that your wedding preparations are likely to go smoothly. This way, you can relax and let the wedding planner worry about putting your joyous event together, while you focus on the many happy days to come.