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February 2017

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A very quick legal guide to getting married abroad.

It is important to remember that the legalities surrounding an international wedding can be slightly more complex compared to a conventional UK wedding.

Here is our quick guide to getting married abroad:

  1. Documentation – Depending on which country you are planning to get married, you may need to provide certain documentation for your marriage. The information requirements can often vary from country to country. You are able to obtain guidance if you visit the Government Website (https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad). The website has a step by step guide to assist you in understanding your obligations as to documentation.
  1. Marriage certificate – You will not be able to obtain a British marriage certificate if you get married abroad. You can still have the marriage recognised in the UK, provided you comply with the local law of the country of marriage. (See Destination Weddings – Are they recognised in the UK?)
  1. Insurance – it is recommended that you take out suitable wedding insurance in the UK which will provide cover for the wedding in the country of choice. Before enrolling onto a policy, ensure you are clear on what the policy covers and what is excluded. Click here for more information about wedding insurance.  In the event that there may be an exchange of high value gifts at the international wedding, guests are advised to check that their travel insurance adequately covers the value of the gifts in the event that they are lost, stolen or damaged. Quite often, we have noticed travellers take out a generic insurance to cover them for the whole year. Therefore, if you are expecting a high valued gift at a destination wedding, ensure your insurance cover is adequate. If need be, consider upgrading your policy. Ensure the hotel / apartment can provide you with a safe big enough to fit any high valued gifts.
  1. Contracts – It is advisable to ensure that any contract you sign for a service being provided in another country contains a “jurisdiction clause” which states that the Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. In the event of dispute, this will assist you in resolving the dispute by using the courts in England and Wales.

An example of the clause that should be inserted is as follows:

“This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. Each party irrevocably agrees to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales over any claims or matter arising under or in connection with this Agreement”.

  1. Make provision for site visits before the big day – Where possible, aim to visit the venue at least once before the big day to gain an appreciation of the facilities which will assist in managing your expectations for the big day.
  1. Ensure suppliers are fully briefed about the wedding venue and facilities before entering into a contract – In the event of you booking suppliers from the UK, avoid entering any contracts until the suppliers have gained a full understanding of the venue. This may require them to speak with the management of the venue or in some cases going out for a site visit. Problems could occur where you have entered into a contract, only to find the contract price increases after your have committed due to additional equipment being needed which was not appreciated at the time of entering the contract.
  1. Have agreements and emails printed before your leave the UK – Much of the planning for a destination wedding will take place via email. Therefore, before departing the UK to the country of your wedding, ensure you have hard copies of all the agreements, itineraries and plans so you can ensure all agreements have been fully complied with. Do not rely on Wi-Fi or printers at your hotel to assist you in digging out such information once you have arrived at your destination.

For any more information about the legalities of getting married abroad – contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Destination Weddings – Is the marriage recognised in the UK?

There has been a surge in popularity in having a destination wedding. Guaranteed great weather, the picture perfect backdrop for the ceremony and quite often a trimmed down guest list. The question that often gets asked is whether marriages abroad are recognised in the UK.

  1. Your marriage should be recognised in the UK if you follow the correct process according to the local law of the country you get married in. To understand what the requirements are in the country of your marriage, you are advised to contact the embassy of that country.
  2. An overseas marriage cannot be ‘registered’ in the UK (rules may differ if you are part of the armed forces). If your wedding has taken place in one of the countries which the General Register Office (GRO) can accept formal notification,  a ‘record’ can be created for your overseas marriage by depositing the marriage certificate in the General Register Office. Contact the GRO (details below) to see which countries will accept formal notification.
  3. This ‘record’ can be created at any point after your marriage ceremony.
  4. In order to have your wedding certificate deposited you will need to contact both the British Embassy in the country you were married in as well as the GRO in the UK. When contacting these organisations, you will need to state that you wish to deposit your marriage certificate with the GRO.
  5. When contacting the embassy in the country of your marriage ceremony, you will need to provide them with a copy of your marriage certificate that will be authenticated and potentially translated by the local authority. The British Consular General will then forward this certificate to the GRO in the UK. All this maybe subject to a fee.
  6. Once the documents have been received by the GRO you will be notified. The documents are then held with the GRO. Should you need a copy of your certificate you can contact the GRO.

General Information on Marriages Abroad can be obtained by contacting either of the below organisations:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Consular Division
King Charles Street
LONDON
SW1A 2AH
Tel: 020 7238 4567
Web : www.fco.gov.uk

Registering your Wedding

Marriages Section
General Register Office
Trafalgar Road
SOUTHPORT
PR8 2HH
Tel: 0151 471 4814
Web: www.gro.gov.uk

If you need assistance in understanding the legal requirements of getting married abroad, please contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

Venue Contracts: Checklist before signing the terms and conditions

Couples usually get a huge sense of relief once their venue is booked. After all, once the venue is sorted the remainder of the wedding planning can continue. However, whilst it is appreciated that there is often a need for speed when securing a venue, care should be taken before signing on the dotted line,

Look out for the below points before signing the terms and conditions with your venue. If the venue terms and conditions do not mention the below, it is recommended that you address these points with them before signing.

  1. Ensure you have the full Agreement in front of you

The terms and conditions for a wedding venue is usually made up of:

  • The Particulars or Schedule (usually a separate document to the terms and conditions)
  • The General Terms and Conditions

Both documents are extremely important. You should always ensure you have both documents in front of you when you carry out your review before signing. It maybe the case that one document cross refers to the other document, therefore to understand what you are about to sign, it is a good idea to have all the documents to hand.

The Particulars/Schedule are specific to your individual booking. Therefore, it is advised that you carefully check;

  • The names of the parties are spelt correctly
  • The date(s) are correct
  • The Particulars clearly specify which facilities you have access to on the date(s) of your booking
  • There is clarity about access times and what time you must vacate the property on the date(s) of your booking
  • If you have agreed any time extensions, ensure these are clearly set out in the Particulars
  • If your wedding venue is providing you with complimentary or discounted accommodation, this should also be set out in the Particulars
  • The Particulars may also set out a break down of the costs of your booking. Ensure these reflect the final price that has been negotiated
  1. Your Rights and Obligations
  • Are you allowed to bring external caterers to operate on the day? It is worth while checking this as soon as possible as catering costs can differ massively depending on whether you are required to use in-house caterers or whether you can bring your own.
  • Are there any areas of the venue which are out of bounds on the wedding day? If so, could this impact you?
  • What are your obligations as to music? Are you allowed to bring your own DJ? Is there any information about what time music must finish? Are there any sound limit monitors or smoke machines that could impact on the big day?
  • What is the capacity of the venue? Do you have any obligations in terms of informing the venue of the final guest list numbers?
  • What are your obligations as to cleaning up the venue after the big day? If this is something you are required to do, are you in a position to make arrangements with someone to oversee this process? The newly weds would probably want to jet off on honeymoon rather than oversee the clean up operation!
  1. Payment, Postponement and Cancellation
  • Are you required to pay a deposit? If so, are you in a position to pay this? Before paying this, ensure you have got full confirmation from all important family and friends that the proposed date is suitable for them to attend. It may be difficult to change your wedding date once you have signed the contract. Also, you are advised to check any potential tube strikes, major sports matches or road works which could inconvenience your guests to making their way to your wedding.
  • When is the remaining balance payable? Ensure you are in a financial position to comply with the payment schedule. If you may struggle, negotiate this prior to signing the contract. Once the contract is signed, ensure you put diary reminders in on your phone or email calendar so you do not forget to pay your next instalment.
  • What happens if you cancel your booking? Ensure you are clear on your payment obligations in the event of you having to cancel your booking. You are advised to get wedding insurance for this very purpose.
  • What happens if the venue cancels the booking? In the event of the venue cancelling, the venue may try to limit their liability to only cover a ‘refund’ of any fees paid which will not exceed the total fee. If this is the case, you are advised to remind the venue that you may pursue them for consequential losses if they are in breach of contract. Consequential losses may include the cost of finding a venue at last minute, reprinting wedding cards or a change of cost for wedding transportation that may have to go to a different location.
  • Does the venue have the correct planning permissions to carry out the civil wedding ceremony? This should be checked before signing the agreement.
  1. Over-run
  • Is the contract clear about what happens if the wedding over runs the allotted time allocated?
  • Are you clear on the penalty? If this is not set out in the terms and conditions, ensure clarity is obtained before you sign.
  • What safeguards have you got in place, in case proceedings on the day overrun? You are advised to incorporate time buffers in your timetable in case there is a delay. It may also be useful to have a timekeeper on the day who ensures the programme runs to plan.
  1. General clauses
  • In the event of a dispute, do the terms and conditions make it clear how they will be resolved? For example, does it set out whom you can complain to and when a complaint should be made?
  • If you have not met representatives from the venue, the terms and conditions should make reference to the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. This means you will have the right to cancel the agreement within 14 days of the conclusion of the agreement.

For more information or assistance with interpreting or negotiating your venue contract, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

The Wedding DJ/Band: 6 important clauses to include in your terms and conditions

Weddings are great fun! But everyone knows the real fun only really kicks off once the DJ or live band have taken to the stage. This means DJs and band musicians are spectacularly important during the wedding day, in particular the reception. Ensuring you have airtight and a comprehensive set of terms and conditions will help to ensure you have the protection you need if the big day does not go to plan.

Here are just some of the clauses you may wish to consider incorporating into your terms and conditions if you have not already done so.

  1. Electricity Supply:

It seems like an obvious one but has the potential to ruin the big day. It is becoming more common for weddings and reception to take place at country estates and marquees rather than in established longstanding structural buildings. Therefore, ensuring there is a suitable electrical connection for you to carry out your service is crucial to the performance of your services.

The Client undertakes the responsibility for ensuring that [DJ Name Roadshow/ band] are given access to the venue and use of earthed mains electricity supply on their arrival. [DJ Name Roadhow/ band] assume the event venue meets the electrical safety standards to operate the Client’s selected package. In the event of any electrical risks being posed, [DJ Name Roadshow/ band] have discretion to reduce the size of the Client’s selected package in order to operate safely. The Client will continue to be liable for the agreed sum of the selected package. 

  1. Power Cuts

We have witnessed a surprising number of power cuts when a wedding reception is in full flow. This has been particularly common following thunderstorms in the hot months of July and August (which also tends to be wedding season) or where the electrical mains have not been able to cope with the output necessary to operate the sound and lighting system.

[DJ Name Roadshow/ Band] will not accept any liability for power cuts which interrupt the service provided, however, will endeavour to co-operate with the venue to try and rectify any problems. If reducing the equipment booked by the Client will overcome power supply problems at the venue then [DJ Name Roadshow/ band] are given full authority to do so without consulting the Client. The Client understands that no compensation or price reduction will be given for power cut issues or for the reduction of equipment due to power supply problems.

  1. Venue Restrictions

It would be important to make it clear that DJs and Bands cannot be responsible for any venue restrictions which could detrimentally impact on the delivery of services. For example, many hotels and country estates have sound limitation monitors and smoke alarms. The client making the booking should be responsible for ensuring venue limitations will not impact the delivery of your service.

The Client will be responsible for checking and resolving any limits or restrictions attached to the venue, which could negatively impact on the ability of [DJ Name Roadshow/ Band] to carry out their services. This includes devices such as smoke alarms and sound limitation monitors. The [DJ Name Roadshow/Band] will not be responsible for any interruption to the service provided due to venue limitations or restrictions, unless [DJ Name Roadshow/Band] were notified about these at least 14 days prior to the [event date].

  1. Time required to install and take down equipment

Ensure you have protected yourself to have enough time to set up and take down your equipment without the risk of incurring any penalty. Unfortunately this clause will not protect you if you arrive late, therefore, it is important that you arrive on time to set up and have accurately estimated to the client how long it takes to set up and take down your equipment.

The Client is responsible to ensure [DJ Name Roadshow/ Band] has sufficient time to set up and dismantle their rig/equipment based on the package booked. [DJ Name Roadshow/ Band] will not accept any liability for insufficient set up or dismantle time that results in either the booked package not being set up prior to the event or any additional charges for late exit of the venue. [DJ Name Roadshow/ Band] can provide an estimate set up and dismantle time for the Client to plan accordingly. 

  1. Additional artists to perform alongside the DJ or band

An increasing number of couples are booking celebrities and other performers to perform alongside the DJ or Band at their wedding/reception. This can sometimes cause technical or communication hiccups, particularly where the equipment belonging to the DJ or band has to be used for the additional artist(s) to perform. Therefore, it may be an idea to have full transparency as to any additional artists who may be performing on the evening.

If the Client invites any additional artist(s) (independent of [DJ Name Roadshow/Band]) to perform at their event, the Client must inform [DJ Name Roadshow/Band] as to the identity of the artists and whether they require any technical requirements to execute their performance at least 7 days before the date of the event. The Client’s failure to do this may result in [DJ Name Roadshow/Band] not being in a position to cooperate with the additional artist(s).

  1. DJ/Bands are not to be responsible for USBs/CDRs devices.

It may be the case that you will be provided with a USB or CD Rom by a guest or the couple for the purposes of a performance, pictures or a song request. You may be required to insert the USB/CD Rom into your system so the music/photos can be played or displayed. It is important to make it clear that you are not responsible for that device or the contents on the device.

The Client and/or their guests will be fully responsible for any USB or media devices given to [DJ Roadshow/ band] and it is the responsibility of the Client and/or their guests to collect any USB or media devices after the given purpose is exhausted. The Client understands that any unclaimed USB or media devices following the event will be disposed of after 14 days. Further  [DJ Name Roadshow/Band] will not be responsible for any damage or distortion to the contents of the USB or media devices. 

 

If you would like your DJ/Band terms and conditions reviewed – contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

6 Contract Drafting Tips for Wedding Photographers

If you are a wedding/event photographer or thinking of setting up a photography business, this blog will hopefully provide you with a basic understanding of your legal rights. We also provide a basic checklist of items to be covered in your service contracts.

The intellectual property rights of photographs

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the owner of the copyright in the photographs will be your business. This means that your customers/ third parties will not be able to use the photographs, for example for use on social media, without your permission. Permission usually takes the form of assignments (giving the rights to the other party) or licenses (giving consent to the other party to use the photographs).

Licenses are beneficial to your interests as you keep the rights over the photographs, whilst allowing your customers to keep and use them for their own personal needs. When giving license for use of the photographs it is important to clearly outline the extent of the license – i.e. what material the customers are allowed to use and how they are (and are not) permitted to use the material.

Procedure for cancellation

A well drafted service contract will always contain provisions for what would happen in situations of cancellation. For example, in the event of a cancellation by the customer, the contract may contain a grace period within which they would receive a refund of payments already made, or a deadline after which they can no longer claim a refund.

In the case of a cancellation by your business, clauses should be inserted into the contract that you will oblige your to take reasonable endeavours to provide a substitute service.

Quality of the Photography

It is important to insert a clause which provides guidance as to the quality and nature of the photographs, in order to provide legal protection for your business in the event that your customers are dissatisfied with the photographs.

Commonly businesses provide sample photographs and insert a clause guaranteeing that the photographs produced will be of the same style and standard as the samples. This ensures that as long as you can produce photographs which are comparative to the sample, customers will not be able to take legal action for any dissatisfaction. You can also add that the photographers must have the necessary artistic discretion to capture and produce photographs in accordance with such style and quality.

It may also be useful to insert a ‘key moments’ clause. In such a clause you would guarantee to use reasonable endeavours to capture a certain list of key moments (for example the bride coming down the aisle), whilst also adding that you cannot guarantee the capture of unexpected moments and will not be responsible for capturing all attendees.

Changing plans

There is an expected level of the unexpected when planning weddings. To protect your business from liability, you are advised to insert a clause stating that you will not be required to refund the customer where you are unable to attend in the event of a last minute change of location or time.

Details about the event

Remember to insert the smaller details about the events which you will be photographing. For example, making sure the photographers on the day have a contractual right to a hot meal, or if not a meal that they can have a lunch break to go and get themselves a meal.

Clarity, Specificity and Brevity

As with any contract, it is important that each clause be worded clearly and carefully, to avoid conflict between the parties due to misinterpretation. Keep sentences as to-the-point as possible, taking away all unnecessary wording. It may be important to define terms used in the contract, especially technical terms of the photography process. Look at each clause and ensure that the words cannot be interpreted differently from what you intended.

For further guidance on drafting your terms of business contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

This blog is by a guest blogger –  Yavnik Ganguly

Pricing strategies for wedding photographers – 3 tips

The wedding photography industry is a competitive one. There are lots of different photographers out there, offering up their services to happy couples around the UK. Whilst the quality of your images, the professionalism of your service and of course, how much you appeal to the couple are all important considerations when a bride and groom picks a photographer. How you are priced, and how you present those prices are also a big consideration and is often what distinguishes a good photographer from an excellent one. However, the issue of pricing and in particular a lack of transparent pricing can sometimes be open to dispute.

This means that it is vital that you put together a good quality pricing strategy. So, to help you make the most of your wedding photography business, we have put together our top tips for creating wedding photography pricing strategies that really work.

Focus on a few clear packages rather than several complicated ones

Confusing your potential customers with a complicated and confusing pricing strategy is never going to encourage them to use your services. Many photographers also make the mistake of creating too many different packages to choose from, all with really subtle changes such as an extra hour or a few extra photographs.

The best approach to take is to concentrate on two or maybe even three packages, all of which have obvious differences. This means that your potential customers will be able to see the different levels of what you can offer, and decide which one is right for them or your budget.

By keeping things simple, you will also minimise the chances of disputes arising due to misunderstandings relating to the pricing scheme.

Start small and allow the customer to build up

Another great idea to tempt customers into coming to see you for wedding photography is to offer a more tailor made approach to your pricing. Start with a low cost basic package that only contains a few elements of what you can do. This will entice customers to come and see what you are able to offer, and then you can start to upsell or add in the different services that you can provide.

Not only is this method going to encourage more people to enquire about your service, but the customer won’t feel pressured into going for a package that isn’t everything that they need. Instead they can pick a basic starting point and develop it into something that is perfect for them.

One of the objectives of recent consumer legislation is to protect the consumer from feeling pressurised into entering into a contract. Therefore, by providing the consumer with discretion and autonomy to choose a package, this will assist in minimising a dispute.

Show off what you can do

You should never underestimate the power of examples of your great work. If you are looking to tempt new clients into signing up with you, it is a good idea to show them exactly what you can offer them. If you are proud of your albums, make sure you take some examples of this, have a beautiful studio that they can view their photos in, have pictures of this, or better yet, invite them to take a look round.

Remember that even with the best pricing strategy, you still need to sell yourself as a business, which means that you always present yourself in the best light. In doing this you can assure your potential clients that come their big day, they will be presented in the best light possible too!

For more information about pricing strategies or to recover an unpaid debt contact: info@theweddinglaweyer.co.uk