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Understanding your Contracts (Part 3) – The “Abuse” Clause

9 Nov

Due to the often unrealistic glamorization of many new “wedding shows” on television, there has seemingly been an increase in many brides “un-realistic” demands…Though it’s not to say for any bride that “they can’t have what they want” it comes down to the old renditions of how they treat others to achieve this…

With that, I present  a look into vendor’s “Abuse” clauses that are now being seen amidst the contract fine-print.

Generally speaking, We find brides branching off into two categories:

First, the brides that watch these shows during the course of their planning and are afraid of becoming a “bridezilla.”  Therefore out of this fear, choose not to speak up about their likes and dislikes, which can often lead to others walking all over them, un-necessary stresses,  inner party fighting and so on.

Secondly, a small few…and I do mean a VERY small few, can sometimes take the approach “Well, they can do that, why can’t I? It’s MY DAY!”  Thus resorting to ‘anger’ tactics to convey ideas, belittle others around them and so on in order to get what they want.

Now with that said,  Television is capitalizing on the stress levels of Brides during their planning, so many vendors now include an abuse clause that covers both sides of the equation for those involved in the contract.

Here’s a small snip of what an abuse clause might read like:

“We treat all client’s with the utmost respect, and ask that our clients and their wedding party, family and guests do the same. Sadly, sometimes there is someone who goes out of their way to be verbally or physically abusive to wedding professionals. At no time and under no circumstances whatsoever shall we tolerate abusive, violent, destructive, menacing, or harassing behavior from the client or any party acting on behalf of the client. If such behavior does occur, we will quietly and respectfully inform the client and/or members to handle the situation. However, if the abusive behavior does not stop, we will consider it a breach of contract, and remove ourselves from the premises immediately without providing any further services and all remaining fees will be due immediately and on the spot, regardless of further services not commenced and without any refund of monies paid.”

In the event that an abusive situation arises, be that from the direct contract holder, a bridesmaid, mother, drunken guests and so on; The vendor does reserve the right to “not put up with it” and hereby “quit” and walk out, should it not be dealt with in an acceptable manor for all involved.

This clause also doubles over from secondary term clauses that cite potential firing of a bride for anything from outrageous demands and changes, to changes to the terms booked for, that my compromise other bookings for that vendor and more…

In the case of a “deposit” paid forth these are a non-refundable retainer (unless otherwise stated) this payment made is to hold your date and secure your booking. Many vendors will then be deducting this amount paid out from your total and final pricing.

If this contract is breached, before the actual wedding date, your retainer fee is NOT likely to be returned!!

Namely on the principle that the vendor has likely already turned away other client’s seeking services, but also the time now spent out during emailing, phone calls and/or meet-ups with clients… Thus “Non Refundable.”

In the case of the wedding date itself, If a vendor has provided services up until this point or has traveled out to you, they may also reserve the rights to quit should an abusive or un-reasonable situation a rise. In which case all remaining fees are immediately due, regardless of the remaining service(s) that might need to be commenced!

So please be sure to read these areas carefully, as there is nothing funny about someone’s “drama,” either costing you money or ruining your big day!

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Understanding your Contracts (Part 2) – Time Frame Clauses

5 Nov

Weddings are a serious business, not just for the ones getting married, but for us vendors specializing in this area and catering our services towards our client’s for that one special day!

With that in mind, Many vendors in this field are catering to hundreds of clients during this time, so that’s quite a bit of information, ideas, etc. being accommodated for.

The first area we will cover is the TIME LINE Clauses! Depending on the specific vendor, many contracts now include ‘time lines’ for the client’s.

This  includes things such as the arrival time and/or end time of services,  possible scheduling itineraries  for the days breakdown for photo taking, speeches and so on.

Schedules and timing is always in place so that we can keep the day moving as fluidly as possible for our clients and thus avoid any unnecessary stresses.

When a client neglects these time frames, it will, and can often throw the entire day off, including such things as your ceremony start times!

Worse yet are the “last minute” changes that may seem harmless, but often can be a landslide for all your other vendors involved in the day, their services being provided to you and even push forward onto your guests.

Many contracts do have “fine print” regarding this very matter in order to prevent these events. Being that “10 minutes late” can often slide the entire day forward and can find an easy blame on someone else, especially if it causes you to miss out on photos and other such things.

Though it’s not meant to be militant in nature, specific time frames are typically allotted for specific service areas. Trust your vendors in this area! We do this for a living, every day, and though every wedding is indeed “different”…the time-lines and generals regarding your services are ALWAYS The same!

If your vendor tells you an appropriate time line, this is likely your best option as they will typically plan for other outside time frames too, such as things like your dressing time, photos, travel times, etc… It’s always best to have a little extra time, under no recommendations should you ever look to shorten your vendors given time lines!

Read this area carefully in the contracts . Many vendors DO reserve the right to charge extra fees for ‘wait times’ should you make them wait longer than the agreed upon time frames;  An example of this is often the Limo drivers told to show at a certain time, but alas the Bride/Bridal party doesn’t arrive for another 30- 45 minutes! This then could cost you more money, not to mention the other vendors that might also be left waiting…

This now causes the ENTIRE Day to begin shifting and can now lead you to paying out more fees for violating your terms within the contracts you’ve signed. This may also lead to omitting certain areas of interests or cutting back on such things as your photo taking times.

Time line clauses will also carry forth to the finished products and “How long” the return on your final images may be…

So please be advised that we as vendors take your wedding day very seriously and aim with all our abilities to keep it as relaxed, fun and stress free as possible, so do heed our timelines suggested to you.

Next up, we’ll cover the “abuse ” clause.

Understanding your Wedding Contracts (Part 1)

3 Nov

The contracts from your vendors are one of the most important parts of the wedding process.

No matter what the job, how big or small, you NEED To have some form of paperwork/contract signed and in place.

The first thing that ALWAYS needs to be determined, BEFORE You ever sign a contract with anyone, is what is and isn’t included from the vendor and/or the services you are hiring!!!

This is the main area that I see allot of Brides make mistakes with and if something does happen to arise, they find themselves either out money for a service that might now be botched or canceled last minute, or now confused as they never got a clear idea on what was and wasn’t provided as part of the services and the contract that they signed!

Contracts are not only for our side of services, but they are primarily for YOUR Protection and a MUST in all your planning, from the bigger bookings like your Venue, Food and Photographer….to the smaller things like Beauty Services, Limo and so on.

Contracts are your leverage and guide on ALL Services that you are now paying for and any specific guidelines that may accompany them.

This then leaves you and your vendors an area of reference to return to, should there be any unanswered questions later on down the road during your planning, and/or any discrepancies within the booking.

With that said, there are a few very specific areas that I would like to address and thus will post them all separately for easier reference as I feel each area needs to be discussed individually.

I will cover 2 of these main contract clauses in detail, as I often see Bride’s running into problems later on from not reading them and/or understanding them correctly or just flat out neglecting them until it’s too late when a problem does arise…

Getting started – Booking The Venue

28 Sep

Here we would like to touch on the next big step in your wedding day planning, booking your Venue. This is one of your first recommended and most important bookings when planning your wedding to be.

We have put together some of the main and more important money saving points when first starting off with your planning when it comes down to booking your Vancouver Wedding Venues.

Firstly, you may have your heart set on the perfect date, BUT once you’ve found your perfect VENUE this will determine everything; including your date chosen and its possible availability or not. This includes both the date itself and the month in which your chosen venue has open availability to accommodate your booking.

The following key points are worth mentioning:

* Most Vancouver wedding venues book upwards of 1 year in advance, with the main season, May through September/Oct. booking the fastest.

* Saturdays typically cost more than a Sunday wedding date as they are considered a main day, some venues boast upwards of a $5,000 difference just between your choice of day!

* Holidays and/or long weekends can be DOUBLE the original pricing! This can also be true of your other vendors, example: Your Bridal flowers for a Valentine’s Day wedding.

* Many venues offer further savings for you when booked in the off season, typically November through January. You may also find additional savings for ‘weekday’ bookings…Fridays have seen a huge spike in bookings, with many people holding more cocktail style receptions and/or harbor boat cruises.

* Look into choosing and booking a multipurpose venue. If you are able to plan out both your ceremony and reception at the same location, you stand to save additional costs on everything from site fees, transportation costs, double set up/take down fees and more.

Lastly, do your homework, not all venues boast the same features (Even if you are promised them) I have seen and also attended weddings at even the most swankiest of places where everything falls apart, to some of the simplest backyard garden-style weddings becoming the most glamorous.

For a detailed listing of some of the most popular Vancouver Wedding venues, check out one of my all time favorite Bridal forums, BRIDE THINGS located in the “Links” side bar. They house one of the biggest online venue listings for the lower mainland!!

Booking your Wedding Day Services – The REAL Timeline!

28 Sep

This is probably the most mislead area on just about any Bridal site I come across, year after year, they change, never for the better either. Only to result in bride’s left frantic and scrambling last minute because they were following their websites “guidelines.”  Every year this breaks my heart, when I personally have to turn away dozens of  last minute brides seeking services.

So allow me to present a REALISTIC Vendor booking guideline, simple, easy and no stereotypes into which is the best vendors to book first…

Bridal season is Bridal season, plain and simple!

ALL Vendors be that photographers, Hair and makeup, Florists and Cake makers, DJ/Musicians, Officiants and so on,  are all working very hard during these few busy months providing services to sometimes upwards of HUNDREDS of bridal clients during the year.

Every month of the year is someone’s “ideal” time to get married, so even if you think you have an advantage with having a “winter wedding” for example, you are probably wrong.

It’s best to book at least 6 months in advance or as soon as possible, for ANY wedding day services especially for those with wedding dates in the spring/summer months as they tend to be the busiest and book VERY fast usually upwards of 8-12 months in advance!!

August is also the main month of the ENTIRE Year; you will find out that ALL main and professional level services providers in the wedding industry typically book about 1 year in advance for this month!!  This includes many of the “less important” ones I see listed on many sites that tell you to book them around 1-3 months before your date. Absolutely ridiculous!

By this time you should be doing all your finalizing and consultations with many of your vendors to insure everything is going according to your plans and specifications. This also leaves you time now to continue finishing any last minute details along the way without being bombarded with everything in the last month leading into your wedding day.

For those with weddings in the months of May and June, remember these are both  typical GRAD MONTHS as well, so all your Hair and Makeup services, be that through a freelance/mobile service provider or Salon services you will be faced against double the booking volumes!

Many of us also TRAVEL to provide services for our Bridal clients, especially during the summer months. So again, bookings will usually book farther in advance.

For example: I provide my Mobile Makeup/Hair services from Vancouver throughout the Fraser Valley areas, but also to clients residing in Whistler/Squamish areas, Vancouver Island, up into the Okanagan, out of Province and further. So our bookings for select months can book upwards of 1-2 YEARS in advance! Not the basic 1-3 months booking times that these main sites boast. This in turn leaves many disappointed brides when they realize that most service providers are already booked for their ENTIRE YEAR and now shutting down bookings and/or booking for the following year typically by around the month of June.

Statistics now show that the average engagement time frame is now up to 14 months, why?

Because during this time you will most likely be the busiest you’ve ever been: work, kids, school, planning a wedding, etc. Take your time to do your research, plan ahead…The result in the end will be well worth it!

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