Wedding planning is a loaded task.
There is so much preparation and planning to be done all at one time. From catering to guest management to decoration, and the list goes on. The worst part? You need to make sure that every person in the event enjoys a delightful experience. After all, it is such an incredibly important and special date of one’s life. This also means there is no room for error. Problem is, keeping so many people on the same page is challenging. This is where a binding contract comes in.
Getting everything written and legally bounded not only creates the right expectations for your wedding planning project but creates more transparency and confidence in your clients that you will keep no stones unturned to make it a success. It keeps you protected against any kind of abuse or for dispute resolution if any such occurs.
The only element you need to be aware of is that this contract needs to be signed by both parties: you, the service provider, and your client.
But what are exactly the terms and conditions that you should integrate into your wedding planning contract?
This post reveals each of them while diving deeper into their benefits. As an added bonus, we give you the anatomy of a well-rounded wedding planning contract. Stay tuned.
7 contract terms that every wedding planner needs to integrate in 2021
Creating the perfect wedding planning contract at the core requires you to focus on creating maximum transparency between the two parties. This not only helps to support a smooth wedding execution but also helps keep disputes at bay.
Moreover, you will only come out highly organized and professional to your clients, improving your long-term reputation in the market. Also, creating a contract paper allows you to answer all the questions your client might have for you.
So what elements make the best legally squared contract?
Here is a complete list that you would need to know in 2021. As a bonus, we have added a free wedding planner contract template to make the most of it.
Terms and conditions
The terms and conditions are usually the opening section of an ideal wedding planning contract. This section helps answer key questions about the event and client for creating an outline for your scope of work.
Questions surrounding the events like what the event is about, when and where it takes place, the timeline expectations and the budget for the event, and so on are to be answered. This creates the perfect opportunity for you to plan the event from start to finish establishing connections with relevant information and resource links.
General company information
This section might not look like the most important information to state to your clients but look closer. Creating transparency about who you are as a business in front of your clients can help you establish trust with them.
It can open doors of safe information circulation that might be critical for creating an unforgettable wedding experience for your client. This means letting them know who you are, how you work when you work, and other details bring confidence in them about your authenticity in the complete process.
The best part?
Your brand reputation has a huge positive impact in the long run.
Service level agreement (SLA)
Having a detailed annexure defining the scope of your work (SoW) is incredibly important to set realistic expectations for your client as well as mitigate future dispute occurrences. The best practice here is to get into as many specific details as you can. This will establish a clear picture of the final outcome for your client. Here is what you can add to this clause.
Timelines and deliverables
Defining the event timelines is incredibly important for setting realistic expectations. This is perhaps the most significant element that can turn off your clients if done wrong.
Ensure you mention the timelines on specific dates in the format of the day, month, and year. Also, creating room for regular progress updates for keeping your clients posted here. It is a great way to give a more transparent and delightful service experience.
Request for proposal (RFP)
Having an RFP document attached to the contract helps you bring more transparency to the event planning process. You can easily use this contract as your quotation clause and the different rates that your collaborating vendors charged you in planning the event.
Although the dominant portion of an event’s success can be controlled by efficient collaboration and planning by a planner with the client’s help, certain situations are entirely unavoidable.
Situations that can completely jeopardize it, forcing you to cancel the event. Situations like weather disputes, impromptu public holidays, or unforeseen location faults are beyond your scope of control. Creating cancellation clauses keeps you as a business out of liabilities of such problems.
Here are a few elements that you should consider implementing.
Force Majeure Clause
Creating a cancellation clause is incredibly important for securing your services against any circumstances that run beyond the scope of your control. A cancellation policy, commonly known as the Force Majeure Clause, is ideal for such a case.
Under this clause, you can define the circumstances and conditions under which you are not liable under the canceled service. You can mention details about what and how you want to receive the payments against your services from the respective client.
Just like the cancellation policy, an indemnification bond ensures you end up on the greener side when the hell breaks loose. It creates room for you to take legal actions against the other party, holding you responsible for any condition gone wrong, if any.
Although different from the liability contract, it ensures you are not unjustifiably penalized for situations that are entirely out of your scope of work but interconnected to your service deliverables.
A payment annexure helps you to communicate the complete financial transaction for the entire event to your client. Here you detail every major to minor financial transaction. From service charges, taxes to add-ons to final invoices, everything is detailed here. You can even go to mention how and when you want to receive the service payment. Do you want to create milestones for your work, or do you want to down payment for your services?
As a payment protection plan, you can add a clause that gives you the right to stop your services if you do not receive your payments timely. But remember to be subtle about it. Do include a relaxation time around it.
Legal bindings contract
No matter if you are creating a contract for your first servicing client or the 100th, trust is crucial in each of them. Creating a legal binding improves it exponentially. A legal binding contract declares that the complete agreement is enforceable under both state and federal law. It establishes confidence in your client about your authenticity and service quality.
Integrating a rider clause is a great way to bring flexibility to your services. It creates room for your client to add ad-hoc services to the original contract where the new binding contract overrules the former.
But the best part of this contract is that both parties have to comply with this arrangement. This is why creating a scope for the add-on is a good way to ensure it does not go out of your hands.
Guarantee or warranty clause
While this clause is not an absolute must, including a guarantee or warranty on certain sub-services gives more room for the budget. This clause states that irrespective of your conditions, there will be a certain scope of service that you would offer or a particular compensation you would bear if the set service quality and expectations are not met.
Having all the clauses in your wedding contract duly signed by respective stakeholders is a critical success point of the contract. No matter how neat your document is, if they are not signed in their official signature, they are useless.
Also, it is a good practice to take some time out and discuss the key points with all the stakeholders involved early on. This will mitigate occurrences of future disputes.
Contracts and legalities might look scary. But when anything goes wrong, they are the best tool to defend yourself. This makes meticulous contracts so important.
The above points are sure to give you a headstart in your wedding planner contract document. But, if you need it to be flawless, look beyond the best practices. Observe your unique audience landscape and see if there are any common risks associated with your service. Integrating clauses and terms for resolving problems that are unique to your landscape will give you the edge.
Remember, as your business grows, your contract will also change. This means keeping it agile is as important as creating a well-rounded contract.
Now when you know what elements go in creating the best wedding contract, when are you planning yours?
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as an Instructional Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted content that is both informative and engaging. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and parents. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at [email protected] to discuss your content marketing requirements.