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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

 

Be your own lawyer: How to review your supplier contracts – a general guide

Before we begin, it is important to stress how important it is for you to make sure there is a contract in place between you and your wedding supplier. Irrespective of how well you may know your supplier, a written agreement is crucial as it will ensure both you and your supplier are clear on the obligations that need to be met prior, during and after the big day.

It is advisable to insist on a contract being given to you and to ensure you understand each of the terms before signing it. Once you have signed the contract, make sure you keep all your supplier contracts somewhere safe, so you can refer to it should you need to.

4 important things to look out for before signing a contract:

Contracts will vary depending on who the supplier is. However, here are our recommendations on what to look out for prior to signing a contract:

  1. Length of the contract – contracts vary in length depending on the services being supplied. Whilst there is no general rule as to how long a contract should be, if you are given a contract that is no longer than a page or two, particularly where the value of the contract is considerable (i.e. the price you are paying for the services), carefully check to ensure there is nothing of real importance left out.
  1. When reading the contract, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Are the names of the parties correct?
  • Is the venue(s) and date(s) correct?
  • Has the supplier listed in sufficient detail exactly what services they will be supplying?
  • Is there clear guidance as to what time the supplier should arrive and finish?
  • Does the contract state who will be the point of contact in the provision of the services and if so, what the best contact number is for the point of contact?
  • Has the supplier clearly stated how much the total amount will be for the services? If so, does the price include VAT?
  • Is there clear guidance as to when the deposits and balance of payment is due? Quite often, there will be an option to pay in instalments, if this is the case, are you sure you can pay on the dates provided?
  • Is there guidance as to what the penalties are if the wedding day overruns and doesn’t comply with agreed timings?
  • Is there guidance on what happens in the event of you having to cancel the booking?
  • If your wedding supplier is attending the ceremony or reception, have they stipulated any requirements they may require on the day? E.g. a meal, certain number of rest breaks, accommodation. If so, are you in a position to make provision for this?
  • Is there a provision for what happens in the event of your chosen supplier not being able to attend your event? Can the supplier substitute the services? If so, would the substitution be to someone of the same or higher quality?
  • Is there a requirement that you carry out a wedding insurance in the event of cancellation?
  1. Cancellation issues

There are times when due to unforeseen circumstances wedding days have to be cancelled. A well drafted supply contract should include guidance as to what happens in the event of cancellation and what the financial implications are for both the consumer and supplier. In other words, what refund will you receive if you cancel and what penalty the supplier will pay if they cancel. Quite often, the closer the cancellation is to the date of the wedding, the less of a refund you are likely to receive. Similarly, it is important to be clear on what the supplier will give you if they cancel. Unfortunately some supplier contracts leave fail to mention what will happen in the event of them cancelling, therefore, it is important you check this before signing.

4.    If you are not clear, do not commit

Contracts are there to protect you as a consumer but are also there to protect the business interests of the wedding supplier. Therefore, it is just as important that you are able to meet each of the contractual obligations as it is for your supplier. Before signing the supplier contract, ensure you can meet each of your obligations. If you feel, you need more information or clarity about your obligations, you are encouraged to obtain these first before signing anything. For example, prior to signing a catering contract, you may need to obtain information about the venue (e.g. the kitchen specification or loading points). Ensure you have all the information you need from your other suppliers before you sign the agreement in case you find you are unable to commit.

Should you require any guidance on interpreting or analysing a supplier contract, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

From an award winning wedding planner: 5 mistakes couples often make when planning their wedding day.

 With the United Kingdom heading towards a mini heat wave, the wedding season is on the verge of kicking off. The Wedding Lawyer has interviewed, Parita Patel who has recently been awarded “best wedding planner of the year” about some of the common mistakes couples make when planning a wedding which has the potential to ruin your big day.

Restricted to using preferred caterers

An increasing number of wedding venues are insistent that you use their preferred and approved caterers. Parita states that venues do not always make it clear from the outset that you must use one of their preferred caterers and often couples are not informed about this until it is too late and they have already contracted with the venue. Being restricted to using preferred suppliers could be problematic as they can be costly and less flexible to meet your requirements. If you must use a preferred caterer, it maybe a good idea to negotiate your catering and venue contract simultaneously before entering into a contract with either supplier.

Curfews Catch outs

From Parita’s experience, many couples fail to acknowledge the curfews that are often in place at a venue. There maybe curfews in relation to when music must come to an end or in relation to delivering and picking up supplier equipment. It is essential that both sound and delivery curfews are carefully checked and provision is made for the wedding to finish at a reasonable time to allow for the suppliers to clear up.  It is a common occurrence for suppliers to be unable to load their equipment following a wedding or reception due to a curfew and therefore, charged an additional fee for a next day collection.

Parking Practicalities

If your wedding is taking place within a busy City Centre, parking costs for suppliers can sometimes be extortionate. However, where parking is not readily available at a reasonable cost, you may wish to consider approaching the local authority to obtain a low cost parking permit. Some local authorities categorise weddings as “special events” and on this basis are willing to issue parking permits for suppliers. This will allow your supplier to park on a yellow line when loading and unloading which is often more convenient and inexpensive compared to using designated City Centre car parks.

 Using public spaces without obtaining local authority permission

Whether you decide to have an elaborate roadside wedding procession, use a photographic drone, host a pre or post wedding photo shoot in a public area or decide to park your wedding transportation on a road with parking restrictions, it maybe prudent to check with the relevant local authority to ensure there are no specific restrictions to your activities. Local authority representatives tend to be rather helpful if they know you are celebrating an important event and will provide you with relevant guidance. From experience, Parita also states that some Central London venues will ask that you obtain local authority permission if you decide to play loud music in public spaces (including on the doorstep of a Central London hotel). You can find details for your relevant local authority by visiting https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

Planning a party at home?

With couples trying to save on wedding costs, it is becoming increasingly common to host a wedding event at home. If you are planning on hosting a wedding house party or pre-event, our recommendation is that you inform your local authority, particularly if there is likely to be loud music. Local authorities can send enforcement officers to houses where loud music continues persistently after 11pm. In extreme circumstances, enforcement officers can confiscate music equipment in a bid to bring the party to an end. Therefore, it is always a good idea to cooperate with your local authority. Another tip is to write a kind note to your neighbours informing them of the fact that there is a wedding party going on and manage their expectations as to when the party will be starting and finishing. Some couples even go as far as inviting their neighbours to their wedding event or a “pre-drink for neighbours” event to keep them sweet and to minimise the chances of a complaint being made.

Parita Patel was named “Best Wedding Planner of the Year” earlier this year. For more information about having Parita as your wedding planner, contact info@rishtaaevents.co.uk or visit www.rishtaaweddingsandevents.co.uk

For any further assistance in relation to this article contact: info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

10 ways to reduce your wedding spend

One of the most difficult aspects of organising a wedding is to keep the wedding costs under control. Here are 10 tips to assist you in keeping your expenditure in check:

  1. Wedding caterers often take the lion’s share of your overall wedding budget. Instead of offering your guests canapés during the drinks reception, starters, mains and dessert, you may consider having a slightly longer drinks reception with more canapés. You could then skip the starters and go straight to mains and dessert.
  1. Find a venue that allows you to bring your caterers. Unfortunately many venues require you to use their list of preferred caterers. The problem with this is that these preferred caterers often charge more than independent, non-venue affiliated caterers.
  1. Carefully managing your bar tab can also assist in keeping your overall wedding spend under control. Adopting a limited drinks menu – i.e. only offering 2 spirits, 2 wines and a beer option is perfectly acceptable. In the alternative creating your own personalised wedding punch/cocktail to replace a spirit option can also be an inexpensive way to keep your costs low. Finally investing in entertainment through the course of the evening is a way to distract guests away from the bar which in turn can assist in keeping your spend down.
  1. The payment method and payment schedule by which you pay a supplier could also assist in negotiating prices for your consumer. Paying part of your contract price in cash and some by bank transfer could provide you will some scope to negotiate down the price.
  1. There is often scope for a couple to negotiate down with a supplier if you simply just asked. It isn’t uncommon for a supplier to have a margin in which they can negotiate provided you put forward a polite request. If you don’t ask, you don’t get and you have nothing to lose.
  1. The concept of plus ones can sometimes be a sensitive issue when it comes to inviting your friends and their partners. You are advised to make it clear that invited guests are only those named on the invitation. Being ruthless and honest with yourself about how much you value the presence of a plus one maybe a useful exercise in keeping the overall guest list under control.
  1. Don’t be afraid to splash out on artificial merchandise. The truth is that very few people will be able to tell the difference and even if they can – who cares! Whether it artificial flowers, jewellery or designer dresses if it means making a saving – why not consider it?
  1. Weekday and Sunday evening weddings are growing in popularity and it is easy to see why. With up to a third being knocked off the final price of the venue and supplier costs, it may make sense to give some serious thought to when you decide to have your wedding. Further, weddings in Autumn and Winter seasons can result in cheaper hiring costs.
  1. Ditch expensive invitations. It is possible to use social media platforms to your advantage when inviting guests. Creating a quirky video invite and sending the link to guests could be just as impressive compared to the traditional paper based invites.
  1. Lets face it – you will only wear your wedding outfits once, so why end up spending thousands on it. With more companies operating a hire scheme, why not consider hiring your wedding outfits for the big day. This is a far more effective way to look amazing at a reasonable cost. 

For more information on keeping your wedding costs down or assistance with any of your wedding legal requirements: contact: info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk