Reading and signing vendor contracts for your vow renewal can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re not careful and pay attention to the details. If you’re not accustomed to dealing with a lot of vendor contracts, it’s best to have a professional planner reviewing them before you sign on the dotted line. There are several “red flags” that planners typically look for in vendor contracts that the average person might not think about as being an issue. Here are the top five “red flags” you’ll want to look for in every vendor contract for your vow renewal.
The details of your order are fully spelled out or aren’t perfect on the contract.
It’s your responsibility to make sure that the details fo the order perfectly match what you want. The quantity, color, type, style, size, and so on should be included and correct. This is often where cake and floral orders get messed up. Chance are you’ve brainstormed several ideas together before coming to a final decision. If you told the baker you wanted to go with the raspberry filling with white cake instead of the lemon cake you tasted, and she wrote lemon cake, you’re getting lemon cake, and it’s your fault once you have signed the contract. The same applies if you miss the fact that your floral contract only included one boutonniere in the order you signed when you wanted three – you’re only getting one. Your vendor isn’t going to look at your order again until a couple weeks before your vow renewal date. It’s unlikely he or she is going to remember your conversation or notice the mistake because you approved it as written.
The date and/or time on the vendor contract is incorrect.
One of the most common and easy to miss errors on contracts is an incorrect date and/or time. Some vendors will be flexible and work with the modified date and time, others won’t be able to. While it may seem like an easy thing to change, it can be impossible since your vendor may be booked with another client for the correct date and time. This could leave you scrambling to find an alternative vendor. Make sure you double and triple-check the date and time before signing!
A relatively high minimum number of guests required for the pricing offered in the contract to be honored by the vendor.
Ideally, you want the minimum number of guests on the contract to be no more than 40-60% of your invited guest count, less is even better. If you’ve invited 100 guests and the vendor’s contract lists 80 as your minimum, you will likely be required to pay for 80 regardless of how many actually attend. The other possibility is that the vendor will charge you substantially more per guest (30-60%) if your acceptances come in at a lower number like 50 guests.
The details include extreme cancellation policies.
Typically your initial deposit with a vendor is non-refundable. However, some contracts require a full payment if the event is canceled less than 90 days or more before the contracted date. Even for top-rated vendors, sixty days is more appropriate, and less would be preferable. After all, that gives them two-three month’s notice to book a new client, which is very fair.
A clause that prohibits you from posting reviews of them after the event.
Great vendors want as many client reviews posted online as they can get. They are often a major determining factor in how much work they get. A vendor that doesn’t want reviews has undoubtedly had a lot of bad ones posted online in the past. Obviously, you’ll want to read any publicly-posted reviews on any vendor you consider before hiring them. However, you need to beware that those don’t always tell the whole story thanks to these kinds of clauses and reputation management services that help get bad reviews removed. As a client, you should have a right to share your thoughts about a vendor’s services anywhere you want online, like Yelp, Google, and other review sites. A clause that prohibits you from doing so can result in litigation if you do post a review.