When dealing with vendors, the ideal situation would be to have your agreement covered by a written contract. Contracts ensure that both parties know their responsibilities, rights and liabilities.
Here are some tips to help you along the way:
Put it black & white – Too often during the pre-wedding and planning stages, couples and vendors get carried away dialoguing, making promises, replying to emails and offering suggestions; only for disappointment to be had on the wedding day because of miscommunication or promises that went undelivered. You need to be very specific in your contract about what you require and what the vendor is to deliver. For example, if you would like a bouquet of white orchids and your florist’s contract states “a bouquet of white blooms,” you may be surprised by receiving whatever white blooms are available at that time to the florist. After you’ve signed the initial contract, should your requirements change – be it regarding more or less hours of work required from the vendor or modifications to what you initially wanted; you should also get those changes in writing.
Be aware of non-refundable deposits and retainers – Vendors have varying policies about their initial deposits or retainers. However, most of these are non-refundable. The reason for this is that your deposit/retainer guarantees that the vendor will be exclusively available to you on your wedding date and would therefore; turn away other work as a result of holding the date for you. Should the bride and groom cancel on the vendor, it would mean a loss of revenue from another booking the vendor has passed up.
Understand about copyright – anyone who creates something using an artistic medium such as: painting, poetry, literature, drawing, graphic design, photography videography, etc. has right of ownership for the work they created; since it is a combination of their ideas, training and skill that is put to use to create the artwork. Normally, the fee you pay your photographer, videographer or perhaps even an invitation designer, is for:
- Granting you a license to use the copyrighted materials in a certain way
- His/her time and skill
- An initial set of artwork or prints.
This fee does not give you any claim to copyright (unless this is expressly stated in the contract). For example, the reason you have to go through photographers in order to get prints of your photos, is because the photographer is the copyright owner and he/she controls who can copy his/her work.