Wedding Planner’s Must-Know Guide to Contracts
Until you have an executed (i.e. signed) contract in your hands, avoid the temptation to begin working for any bride. Without a wedding planner contract a bride is only a potential client.
No contract, no client!
Review Sample Contracts
The best way to create your own wedding planner contract is to look at several sample contracts. This is a good basis for issues you might not have considered, and reviewing other contracts can provide strong, standard, language for your own wedding planning contract.
Here’s a sample wedding planner contract you can use as a starting point.
Send your Wedding Planner Contract ASAP!
Once a couple tells you that they want to move ahead and hire you as their wedding planner, send a contract within 24-48 hours. If you wait longer than that it may be too late and the couple may have already made the decision to work with someone else. The key is to have a standard version–Microsoft Word makes sense–of your contract on file. This way you simply fill-in-the-blanks with the details that are specific for each new client.
If you’re emailing the contract, convert into a PDF file before sending. This way there are no concerns about any of the wording being changed in any way. If you are sending the contract to your clients using the regular postal service, it’s helpful to include a self-addressed stamped envelope to make it easy for your clients to return the signed document to you.
Include a Cover Letter
This couple didn’t have to choose you, so express your appreciation to them for selecting you. Include a warm, personalized cover letter with your contract. Print both the contract and the cover letter on your company letterhead.
Wedding Planner Contract Must-Haves
Your contract should include the following items:
- Today’s Date
- Wedding Date (and time if you know it)
- Name of Bride & Groom
- Bride & Groom’s Contact Info – address, telephone, email, etc.
- Conditions – your role as wedding planner and restrictions
- Your Compensation – your total fees, initial deposit and payment schedule
- Description of Services
- Terms – include liability and legal issues
- Cancellation/Change Policy
- ‘Act of God’ clause
- Signatures of both clients
Have a Local Lawyer Review (IMPORTANT!)
Once you have created your standard contract that you will use for all of your clients, have your attorney review it. Laws vary by state, and what may apply in one state may not apply in another. A lawyer can also point out the omission of important terms or clauses that protect you.
- A wedding planner contract protects YOU, the wedding planner. As the writer, you have the advantage of shaping things in a favorable way for your business.
- Deviating from the terms of your contract is risky! Be sure to put any changes along the way in writing.
- Advise your clients that each vendor they hire for their wedding (caterer, florist, photographer, etc.) should have their own contract.
The best wedding planner contract is one that is signed, filed, and does not have to be pulled out again, because when that happens it usually means there’s a problem.