Tag Archives: Wedding contracts

Why you should book your Wedding Vendors early…

8 Feb

Did you know that the highest number of engagements occur during the months of November through February?  With the prime question-popping holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day all one right after the other, it’s no wonder that we receive our highest number of bookings during that time. Hence why you will find, that by the time January rolls around for the start of the next bridal season, majority of your vendors will already be booked and closed by then, especially for Spring/Summer months!

Don’t want to compete with the huge rush of brides wanting to book all their vendors for their 2012 wedding?  Book BEFORE the engagement season takes over…

Typically, the first things to happen on the wedding day are Hair and Makeup services.  Whether this is first thing in the morning or first thing after lunch is up to you, but generally we get there before your photographer is due to arrive and long before all your other vendors.

This is why Beauty services are generally one of the first and fastest services to book up!! Especially those seeking the luxury and convenience of MOBILE Bridal services were your artists come to you in your home or at hotel location. As covered in our booking and timeline posts. These services generally book a minimum of 6 months to 1 year in advance. Spring/Summer months and all long weekend dates (Fridays included) generally averaging closer to the 1 year mark!

Here are some tips and things to consider about booking your vendors and why earlier is better.

Don’t believe what you see on TV.

With all these Bridal shows now, they’ll have you believing that you can plan a lavish event in mere weeks or a few short months. In most cases this is very untrue. What they don’t show you is the dozens of vendors hired in, to make everything a reality, dozens of teams hired on for just basics like set up and take down, let alone the actual details.

In the real world, it doesn’t quite work that way.  Wedding planning takes time, unless of course you don’t have a job and have unlimited time to juggle all your vendor appointments, fittings, taste tests, trials, and more…This is also why the average stat for engagement/planning stage is 14 months.

Your Stress is your own!

Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but let’s face it, if you hadn’t of procrastinated and waited until the mere month before the wedding, you wouldn’t be rushing around all drama like and taking it out on everyone. It’s because of you and it’s not fair for you to take that out on others.

The brides we see the most stressed out, are always the ones that left everything up until the mere few months before the date, now they scramble around work schedules, kids, school, etc. to get it together.

Somehow they thought they’d have plenty of time to book all their vendors, have all their appointments, make the decisions, then reconfirm all those details the week before? Really?

I can’t tell you how many brides we turn away every  year, who contact us in say July, for an August wedding. The busiest month(s) of the entire year and you left it until 3 weeks before the wedding? Sadly, by that point, they might as well go to the makeup counter or find someone on Craigslist, as all the professionals are likely booked MONTHS Prior, if not longer.

What happens then? STRESS – They begin to freak out, calling everyone they can find and mass messaging vendors  to find someone who isn’t already booked. Usually resulting in a family member or friend, with no idea about photography ready makeup, decor ideals, etc…. we then see a flood of “Help me” posts running rampant on the bridal forums.

In the rare instances we do still have artists open, or a vendor might be available still, the brides are already so stressed it can make for a very tense situation and thus many bridal vendors just based on that alone, will turn away a client!

Save money

In the case of last minute clients, that is a perfect example, on what’s likely to cost you more. Many vendors will now charge you more, there will be late booking fees and so on, in many cases FULL Payment is now due upfront! You now have created a stressful working environment for them, leaving them rushing around to accommodate you last minute for a trial or meet up, processing paperwork, rush bouquets, that list goes on.

You want your vendors to be able to provide you with the very best, not slap something together for you in 2 days. It’s not fair to you, or them. Sadly, you then see the brides that have the nerve to complain when a Vendor can’t meet the criteria’s in such a short time, can’t get the supplies requested, or doesn’t have an open booking at their convenience, due to having other client’s booked in MONTHS beforehand…I mean seriously think about that, the entire situation at hand rests solely with the bride at that point and the procrastination of a last minute booking.

So just remember, it does not matter what vendor it is you are seeking, booking them in advance is going to save you a lot of headaches in the end, give you ample time to plan, the ability to change things as needed and just overall make the experience a lot more enjoyable. It’s never fun feeling rushed, especially for a day where there is a lot of time and money being spent. This is your day, take the time you need to make it prefect for you. An experienced professional will have a game plan for any situation, and getting your hands on that knowledge early on will save you stress, time, and money in the end.

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Are you the Bride that gets yourself FIRED?

25 Aug

Bridal season is in full swing and in the past few days I have had an overwhelming surge of last minute requests come through for services, some as close as 2 days before a wedding! This in turn has prompted some VERY interesting conversations with a number of brides left scrambling for vendor services mere days before their wedding.

So today I’d like to touch on a subject of “getting fired” by your vendors. Yes it does happen and more often than one might think….and I feel it be very important for brides to understand the working behind such a decision, as you very well might be heading in that direction and not even know it!

During a few recent conversations, I listened to a few brides stating their case of “what happened” and “why” they were without services, some photographers, some Hair and Make-up, some decorators and so on. Upon listening to many, it was evident that it wasn’t just simply a case of mishap or schedule changing, but full out FIRING of the bride-to-be due to her behavior towards their vendors in question…

Sadly, so many brides are now watching these reality programs on weddings, which do paint quite an un-realistic picture of both what actually happens behind the scenes, but worse yet implies that if you throw a large enough tantrum and go “bridezilla”, that vendors will bend over backwards for you…which unfortunately is completely opposite!  Bridezilla behavior will likely result in your vendors just walking away and FIRING YOU, leaving you scrambling.

Although it seems that the closer you get to your big day the more seems to happen, just know that in the end it will all be okay!! Every bride experiences stress, but how you handle it is key. Today I want to discuss what taking your stress out on those around you can lead to.

Although you may be having quite an ordeal with your wedding planning, keeping in mind that your vendors are likely dealing with that same ordeals with anywhere up to 100 or more other brides during bridal season.

So here are a few areas that I think should be addressed, education is the goal here so that you don’t find yourself in this situation.

#1 – Be fair to your vendors

Do unto your vendor as you want them to do at your wedding! These people are there to help make your day amazing and special. Running them through the ringer with constant last minute changes and indecisive behavior, may lead to them just walking away from it all… if you can’t get it together for them, why would they want to help?  Vendors can’t plan anything for you, if you yourself are in constant flux.

#2 – Communicate.

Your vendors do not read minds, I cannot stress that enough.  Lying to their face saying you “like” something, only to turn around a mere few days before a wedding asking for complete overhaul is very disrespectful of the work that professional vendors put into making your day perfect.   Last minute changes, never usually work out.  Emergencies do happen, so when things change let them know and allow them time to respond, especially over a weekend.  Weekends are the busiest time for wedding pros, as they are likely AT another wedding servicing other brides.  It is for this reason that responses to calls and emails are slower from Fridays through Sundays.

#3 – Be respectful

Yes things change, and your vendors understand this… but screaming, crying and throwing tantrums like a child gets you nowhere. Stepping out of line with childish name calling, demands, and hiding behind friends, family or your wedding planner will not give you the result you are looking for. Instead a vendor is to likely peg you as a drama queen and drop you completely rather than deal with your childish behavior.  Many vendors now have “abuse” clauses in their contract which allows them to terminate services and collect their full payments immediately if they feel threatened. Another thing we can thank TV For, as many vendors did not feel the need for such addition into their contracts, until many of these bridal shows came out!

#4 – Be clear and firm with your plans from the get-go

Booked your photographer for an entire day, only to email them 3 days before the wedding to tell them you only want them for 2 hours? Booked beauty services for 5 people only to now have “Bride only” for services? Not only are you now in breach of your contract, you have now likely cost them other business and clients they could have booked while holding and scheduling a full day for your services. This is often the biggest cause of Brides getting themselves fired and comes down to the age old saying; Don’t say one thing (and sign for it) only to turn around and do another… although vendors will try to accommodate the best they can, it may not always turn out as originally thought due to last minute and overhauled changes. Your day would now be on their time, not yours!

#5 – Know when to listen…and READ (emails, etc)

In most cases brides are planning for the first time. You may “think” you know how something might pan out under your own organization, but sadly 9 times out of 10 it’s a flop. Listen to your vendors’ suggestions, tips and advice given…this includes all emailed information and listings on their websites, as many vendors aim to educate you on ALL facts, BEFORE you even book! Turning around 1 week prior with an “I didn’t know” is inexcusable, especially in the cases of those who have had their contracts/paperwork for months prior that outline all such details in question, long before they even signed and booked services.

Take the time to READ IT all through. That includes pricing, policies/terms, start times, leave times, recommendations for planning and so on…If you have any questions about it, just ask them! Remember that in the end your vendors are there to ensure your day is flowing smoothly.  They know how best to make your day relaxed and fun. They do this for a living and see ALL angles, and can foresee things that more often than not a client hasn’t even thought of yet.

In the end, weddings are another part of life, and unforeseen changes can happen, but being respectful and handling situations in an adult manner will make things a lot easier and keep you from being ditched by those you aim to hire. No one likes conflict!  Think about the best way to deal with the situation, and then put yourself on the receiving end for a minute….how would you react watching yourself?   Your wedding is supposed to be one of the most beautiful days of your life, and we are always sorry to watch a beautiful bride ruin her own day!!!

Here’s wishing you a fantastic wedding and that your vendors brag about your courteous and easygoing nature to other vendors and clients for years to come!

Understanding your Contracts – (Part 4) Image release forms.

6 Jan

In this day and age Photoshop runs rampant in all our Magazines and more.  Many clients now request to see “original” images from many of their providers. Specifically that of their Beauty and Make-up and Hair providers for the  services they are booking.

Since most of us ladies know just how and what we look like when we wake up in the morning, to us, seeing another “without make-up” is no big deal at all. Doesn’t even phase us…

Without these images to display, as requested by the clients, we as beauty providers have nothing to gauge our galleries on, you have nothing to see in order to hire us said vendors!

Sure we can post all the professional models and photoshoots in the world, young flawless models… but how is a client to really know just how much is actually your work and skills and just how much was digitally altered to achieve that perfect photo?

For many clients these photos are also on a  “book or don’t book” scenario. However it is also a catch 22. For a client to book solely on the merit of a vendors previous client transformations, then they themselves,  ask not to be posted. What message does that send? Never the less it actually hurts your artist in question who may rely on these images!

Which brings me to the post at hand; Image Release forms.

They are in place for many reasons, but mostly for the mutual respect and protection of the individual signing it.

Images are usually, for most artists anyways, posted anonymously. We prefer it that way. We have no need to list names and client  information,  future clients do not care, as it has no meaning to them anyways.

These images are a way of gearing a real life reference to another client to show everything from optional color choices, different make-up styling’s, lashes choices and so on.

Clients sign a release to state exactly that!  That an artist doing the work in question can post these images on their sites, they are not to be used for “outside” purposes, sold off etc. without the clients permissions. Simple as that, as stated on the forms.

Additional clauses may be found such as “images may be slightly altered for professional posting”…translation: We might need to tweak coloring, remove a few “blemishes”,  things like that.

Or in the case of  photographers, a separate area to discuss things like promotional usage, “aka”  Those happy ads and posters you see at all the wedding shows and more. Possible submissions to wedding magazines, and so forth.

But again all anonymous. It’s also a great safety measure taken to protect us and others!

In signing you agree with this, that we, as artists, protect you and thus give us the ability for other brides to see reference of our work we’ve done on another client, in real time, no gimmicks of photoshop.

To then turn around and BREACH Your signed contract by asking the said artist to remove an image that you signed off on, now puts you, the client, in a compromising situation. Both from a vendor client relation as well as possible Legal Action, should the said vendor chose to act on that.

So PLEASE do understand, that ALL Contracts, whether small or large, for money or just “likenesses” is there to protect both sides.  Sign them willingly upon understanding them, if not, ask your questions with that vendor so that they may explain information BEFOREHAND!! Not after the fact or down the road, a year later.  Thus giving you the ability to understand what you’re reading and take appropriate measures and possibly work out alternate options. After the fact does you no justice as these contracts are legal and can be upheld in a court of law…

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!

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…

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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