Wedding Contracts: Not A Dirty Word

 Contract is not a dirty word! 
Contract is not a dirty word! 

Contracts are not a dirty word. They protect all parties!

— Ashley Radosav

We are surrounded by contracts every day and there is no real end in sight. We live in a “I’ll sue you!” wold, thus our lives now revolve around everyone covering their butt ALL.THE.TIME. Here is a list of the daily contracts we enter without even thinking about it: Cable, Internet, Cell phone, Car loan, Mortgage, Gas, Electric, Amazon Prime and so many more. When it comes to arguably one of the most expensive parties of your life, having and reviewing wedding contracts are a necessity. 

This is NOT a post about prenuptial agreements! 

Finding all of your wedding vendors can be hard enough. Once you find them, they shove these legal papers in front of you and make you feel as if you are signing your life away a little at a time. Wedding contracts do NOT need to be scary or overwhelming. Arguably, these are fun and exciting things that you are agreeing to (Photo, Video, Bar, Lighting, Flowers) and not something overwhelming, or at least it shouldn’t be. It is a simple agreement: Here is the product or service I provide, this is what and when you will pay me for it. 

Making sure that you sit and speak with the vendor to explain in detail what their contracts mean is very important. The basics of a wedding contract include the names of the people entering the contract, the event date, the times of provided service and what the outcome will be. For example, you sign a photography contract and you will expect to have him/her onsite with you for 8 hours and in 6-8 weeks you will get a beautiful wedding album. My contract for example basically says, “be a nice human being, I will be nice back.” Please feed me, this is what you will get in return…fairly simple. 

 Google Images
Google Images

Here is a brief run down of the key elements to a successful wedding contract:

  1. Make sure that all of the wedding/event dates are the same. I have caught more than once a wrong event date as I reviewed my client’s contracts. 
  2. Make sure your guest count is the same. The worst thing ever would be to have 225 guests and only food for 125. Double check your numbers…OFTEN!
  3. Make sure the timelines are corresponding. If you sign an 8 hour photography package, make sure all of the important events (ceremony, cake cutting, first dance) all happen within that 8 hour window. Otherwise, you will be missing some key elements of your day in the album you receive after the wedding. 
  4. Follow up and confirm with all vendors a week or two prior to the wedding day to fill them in on any last minute changes. A wedding vendor will always refer back to their notes or their contracts if something goes awry. If you do not inform them of changes, these vendors are NOT mindreader! 
  5. Hire a wedding planner to help catch some of these common mistakes. At the time of signing a wedding contract, there might be some gaping holes in your timeline, this is quite common. However, that is something a wedding planner can help fill in for you and make sure your other vendors are all kept up to date! 

I hope this shed a little bit of light on how to approach a wedding vendor’s contract and have them break it down into simple easy to understand language. You are getting married, not trying to pass the bar. Have them (or a planner) break it down for you!

If you have other questions about wedding contracts, send me an email at Hello@AshleyNicoleEventsInc.com and I will be happy to help!

 Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography

Event Security: Planning Events in 2018

 Photo: Steve Parsons
Photo: Steve Parsons

Security.

This topic has been around for awhile, though, I think it is often overlooked when it comes to small scale events. Out of the approximate $42.8 million dollars the Royal family spent on Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s recent wedding, 94% or a whopping $40.1 million dollars was spent on security for the royal family, their guests and the general public. Not every wedding planned today has a budget that lavish. However, in today’s day and age, security is, or at least should be considered. I do NOT mean to be a Debby-Downer, but seriously, these topics MUST be thought of! 

 Photo Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Photo Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Here are 3 things you should consider when planning an event or wedding in the world today. 

1. Location – Are you having your event in a large metropolitan area? If so, are large cultural events taking place in or around your event? For example, if you are planning a wedding on the Chicago marathon route, ask yourself if your guests will be able to get from point A to point B in a timely and safe manner. Fighting crowds and getting stuck in traffic is not my idea of fun. It could put a damper on an already tight timeline. Have you thought about group transportation if you have a situation like this?

If you are getting married in a smaller city and public parking lots are readily available, are street lights and well lit sidewalks available for your guests? Walking alone late at night in a dark, unfamiliar area is not always the best decision. God forbid something happen to you or your guests, it is better to be safe than sorry. If public parking is available, but far away, you might consider offering a complementary valet service – not free to you, but free to your guests.  

 Photo Credit: Getty Images Women's March
Photo Credit: Getty Images Women’s March

2. Fire Exits – We are pretty well conditioned at this point to look for the fire exits when we walk into a movie theater. How about your wedding or event venue? If an emergency arose, could you direct your guests to the nearest exit? You most likely will be getting married in a venue that your guests have never been to before. In the middle of busting a move on the dance floor, where do they run for safety in case of a fire or active shooter situation? While I am not suggesting you add the nearest fire exit on the dinner menu, at least having a few key people know where and how to exit the building could mean the difference between life and death. 

3. Life Saving Equipment – Does someone at the venue or your wedding planner know CPR or at a minimum First Aid? While this is not necessarily the first question I would ask your potential venue, it is a good idea to at least bring up in conversation. This should NOT be a deal breaker on finding your wedding venue. However, consider if a member of your family or bridal party happens to be a first responder. An extra bonus for the venue, is having a defibrillator on site.

While these might seem like silly questions or morbid thoughts, last week during a wedding a Great Aunt did indeed have a heart attack. Paramedics arrived on the scene quickly and the guests remained calm, however, for a brief moment, there was that *heavy panic* in the air. Happy ending: she is fine and recovering well! 

This experience reminded me to check the renewal date of my CPR certification and the pledge to never let it expire. These milestones should be filled with fond memories and only happy tears. However, the worst has happened and having a solid plan is the difference between a minor setback and a major tragedy. Having a plan for the worst and only expecting the best is how I approach every event I work. Hundreds of events every day go off successfully. I would hate to see you be at the one that does not. 

If you have any other questions or suggestions on how to make your next event both successful and safe, feel free to send me an email at hello {at} AshleyNicoleEventsInc {dot} com. I would love to chat further about this important topic with you!