Important Questions to Ask your Wedding Vendors Prior to Signing a Contract

March 06, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Important Questions to Ask your Wedding Vendors Prior to Signing a Contract

Bouquet with colorful flowers for a wedding table decorationBouquet with colorful flowers for a wedding table decorationA beautiful bouquet with colorful flowers for a wedding table decoration

Questions for ALL VENDORS

Do you service the area where my venue is located?

For wedding professionals like your florist, bakery, rental company or hair and makeup artist, knowing their service area is important. You want to make sure that your venue location is in the area they service. If it’s outside their normal service area, ask if they are willing to travel. Many wedding vendors will work outside their normal service area for an additional fee. If there’s a wedding vendor you absolutely love, it’s worth it to at least ask them. But can also add additional fees to your budget. Be wise when choosing your wedding vendors.

Does the vendor provide insurance?

Many venues only allow insured vendors to work on-site. Not only does this protect the venue, but it also protects you. You don’t want to be responsible if a guest trips over a your photographer’s tripod and hurts themselves. And you don’t want to be liable for replacing linens that were scorched by candles. Insurance is for those “worse case scenarios”, but in the case something does happen you’ll be glad you did your due diligence.

Brides Tip: If your vendors don’t have insurance, you’ll want to consider getting your own wedding insurance policy. These types of policies can covering everything from your dress catching on fire to rescheduling your wedding because of bad weather.

What all is included? Is there any additional fees?

Staying within your wedding budget is widely important. You want to make sure that at the end of the day, any vendor you hire is within your budget. The final invoice total includes many fees that aren’t always included in the initial proposal. Don't be afraid to address these additional fees. 

Extra fees can include things like:

Travel charges – these are applied when the destination is outside the vendors typical service area

After hours pickup charges – sometimes companies will charge you a late night fee for having to do a pickup at midnight or later

Taxes – though it’s not on your proposal, you will have to pay a food and beverage tax on your catering invoice. Also, some vendors charge sales tax.

Upcharges – These charges include things like linens, chairs, and up-lighting that aren’t included in the vendor’s base package.

Overtime – If you decide to extend your reception or have your band play for another hour, they might charge an overtime fee.

Gratuity – Instead of tipping each server, bar tender, and the wedding planner separately, sometimes they’ll include the gratuity in your final invoice. If they do include gratuity, you will not be required to tip them.

Cleaning fees – This is usually charged after the event because the venue wasn’t left exactly like you found it.

 

 

Do you require a Retainer? When is it due?

A wedding is a big investment. It’s common for vendors to require a retainer at the time of the contract signing. Final payments are due anywhere between 30 days before your wedding and the day of. Many vendors offer payment plans. Understanding how many payments and when each payment is due can take away some of the financial pressure of wedding planning, as well as maintain your budget. If the vendor’s proposed payment plan doesn’t work for you, ask if you can make smaller, more frequent payments; may vendors are happy to work with you.

I need to Cancel, now what?

Things happen. Maybe because of unforeseen circumstances you need to change the date of your wedding. Or perhaps you and your groom decide to elope. Whatever it may be, canceling or changing your wedding date isn’t something you anticipate doing. In the unlikely event you need to change your plans, you’ll want to ask your potential vendors what their cancellation or change policy is.

Here are a few follow up questions to ask:

Is my Retainer Refundable?

Whether you cancel or change an event, you may not be able to get your retainer back. However, some vendors that may return your retainer if you cancel before the agreed upon deadline. Or allow you to use it towards future purchases. This should be defined in your contract with said vendor.

 

Is there a fee if I decide to change my date?

Wedding vendors need to purchase materials and resources for your event ahead of time. If you do change your date, expect to pay a date change fee.

 

When there is a time you need help, it is when you hire your wedding vendors. This typically entails both meetings, site visits vendor selections and recommendations, as well as event planning details once you have decided on your vendor of choice.

 

Below is a list of questions that are often forgotten and overlooked. Asking important questions will make a big difference for your wedding day. Some of these tips may help you in choosing the right vendor and fit for your event and budget.

 

Questions for Venues

Is there other events are going on at the venue that same day? You'll want to know if and with whom you'll be sharing the space and or time frame limitations.

Is there a cake-cutting or corkage fee? An often-overlooked cost that you'll definitely want to know. A wedding planner can cut this cost.

What is the inclement weather plan? Is their a Force Majeur and what is the policy? This is especially pertinent in light of recent events like the Coronavirus, Acts of God, etc.

Does the venue carry liability insurance? Will the venue require you to carry any type of liability insurance, license or permits?

 (Common examples are event insurance or an ABC license if alcohol is being served. This knowledge is especially important for budgeting purposes, additional costs can ruin your budget.) 

Are there any additional taxes? State tax, service tax, resort tax, sales tax or any other fees? 

(It's a HUGE budget consideration. You want to know what the entire venue price,  so this does not come to a surprise to you, and so that you may make the best venue selection for your budget.)

Can you come with your vendors and do a site visit? 

We highly encourage you to do a site visit with at least your planner and photographer. This gives both logistics and a visual to space, set up and decor ideas, as well as helping your photographer choose the best locations for your portraits.

What is the cancellation and refund policy? 

Do you or they provide clean-up? Is there a fee for clean up?

What time do we have to be out of the venue?

 

Questions for the Florist

Where is their wholesaler (supplier) located? Are they local? 

This can make a big difference should they need something last minute or inventory is low at one supplier. Fresh florals are a perishable item and can only be ordered so far in advance so supplier options within close proximity are a plus and help with peace of mind. 

Set up and delivery charges? 

Cancellation and refund policy? 

 

Questions for Caterers

When is the final headcount for your wedding due?

Is there a fee for overtime? 

What is entailed in clean up? Do they provide, or are you responsible for clean-up. Another great question for your venue.

What are the uniform/clothing requirements for catering staff?

Cancellation and refund policy? 

Is there a deposit and is it refundable?

Will the food be served by servers or will it be self- serve?

 

Questions for Photographers

What is the fee for overtime/extending beyond coverage hours? 

Do you offer one or two photographers?

What is the fee if our wedding hours are extended?

What rights will I have to the photos? Will you get a copyright release?

How will the photos be delivered?

When will my photography be delivered?

If photographer is sick, do you provide a refund or replacement photographer?

What is your process for handling family formals? Will there be a photography plan in place?

Will there be a Sneak Peek? Will my photos be on social media?

Cancellation and refund policy?

 


 


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