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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

 

A 5-step guide: What to do if your wedding venue cancels your booking?

Step 1

Immediately arrange a meeting with the venue manager:

  • Aim to set up a meeting with the venue manager within 24 hours of learning that your wedding venue has cancelled on you.
  • This will allow you to understand the circumstances surrounding your cancellation.
  • Where possible, take a copy of the contract with you to the meeting.
  • Take a note of everything discussed at the meeting.

Step 2

Ascertain whether the venue manager can provide you with an alternative similar venue or whether he has a contact that can assist:

  • Time is of the essence if a wedding venue cancels – therefore, it is worth exploring whether the venue manager has contacts in the industry that can assist you. This is a far quicker option at this stage than frantically ringing around to find an available venue.

Step 3

Start searching for another venue as soon as possible:

  • In the event of the venue manager not being able to assist you, start the search yourself. Ideally within 24-48 hours of the meeting  with the venue manager.
  • If your wedding cards have gone into print – immediately inform the designers and printers to stop press.
  • Contact any wedding suppliers you have already engaged to see if they can assist you. They quite often have been to a number of wedding venues.

Step 4

Request a refund from the management of the cancelled wedding venue:

  • You are entitled to a refund of any monies paid.
  • You can also claim compensation for the cost difference of booking a new venue at the last minute. Further, you may be able to claim any consequential losses that have resulted due to the venue cancelling on you – for example the cost to reprint new wedding cards or if your suppliers will charge an additional fee to travel to the new venue.

Step 5

In the event that the cancelled wedding venue management fails to  cooperate with you, contact The Wedding Lawyer for guidance as to how to proceed info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

5 secret tips to organising a low cost “Pippa Style” Wedding

You don’t need to be a millionaire to have a wedding like Pippa Middleton and James Mathews. It was dubbed the “society event of the year” with Royalty, A-List Celebrities and some of the wealthiest elite being invited to the wedding of Pippa Middleton to her long-term partner, James Mathews.

Despite the world media spectating, the couple ensured that practicality dominated every aspect of their big day to ensure it went as smoothly as possible. You do not need to be a millionaire to have a well organised wedding, so what tips can we learn from the wedding of the year.

  1. Proximity is Power – Pippa and James decided to marry at the 12th Century church of St Mark’s that was only about a 15-minute drive from their reception venue (Pippa’s home). When there is a logistical exercise involved in transferring guests from the ceremony to the reception venue, keeping the day’s proceedings as geographically close as possible will assist in ensuring everything goes according to the set timetable. Even if there is a delay incurred, the close proximity of events will assist in making up any lost time.
  2. Who said Christmas Cards were just for sending Christmas wishes –Despite the abundance of disposable income the high profile newly weds have, this didn’t stop them in taking practical steps in sending “save the dates” out to their guests. You guessed it! The couple used a practical approach and combined their Christmas cards with save the date notification to invitees.
  3. Taking Charge – Butlers, personal assistants and wedding planners were all at the disposal of the newly weds. However, Pippa insisted on taking the lead in organising her big day. The fact is, no one will be as passionate and enthusiastic about the smooth running of your big day more than you. So take charge! Sources close to Pippa mentioned that the bride took full control over the planning of her big day and had everything thoroughly organised weeks before the big day.
  4. Home sweet home – More and more couples are opting to host a wedding event at home to save cost and to create a more intimate wedding day experience. Pippa was no different. Following the church ceremony, guests were invited to a marquee event in the Middleton’s garden. Marquees do not have to be as elaborate as the one erected for the wedding of the year, however, marquees can be a cost effective and pleasant way to celebrate your nuptials. Further, quite often marquee companies can offer bespoke interior designs to match your exact requirements.
  5. Personalised touches make all the difference – Weddings become just that much more special and meaningful if you can add your very own personal touch to the celebrations. Pippa’s wedding banquet menu included her own lamb recipes from her cook book. Indeed, you may not be a budding cook, but personalising an aspect of your big day can truly add a touch of class to the whole day.

Photo credit: Rex Features

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

A brief introduction to protecting your intellectual property

What is intellectual Property?

Intellectual property refers to tangible or intangible creations of the mind such as inventions, literary, artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce.

Why is intellectual property important to a wedding supplier?

The UK wedding industry is growing at a phenomenal rate and intellectual property protects more than just an idea or concept but also protects genuine business assets and the overall long-term viability of your business.

Your intellectual property can

  1. Set up your business apart from other suppliers within the industry.
  2. Be sold and licensed, providing you with an important revenue stream (particularly when the wedding season slows down).
  3. Form an essential part of your marketing and branding so it is instantly recognisable by consumers at every wedding event.
  4. Be used as security for loans.

How is this relevant to a wedding supplier?

Wedding suppliers may have branding and corporate identities that they may wish to protect, however more specifically photographers, videographers, cake designers, wedding dress designers, invitation card designers, DJs and bands, dance choreographers, designer florists are just a few of the wedding suppliers who we have assisted with their intellectual property disputes over the past 12 months.

There are four different categories of intellectual property. These are trademarks, copyright, patents and registered design. Depending on which category your work comes within, this would impact how it is to be applied, registered, renewed and infringed. Therefore, ensuring you obtain legal guidance is essential in ensuring you gain the maximum protection for your intellectual property rights.

How to protect your intellectual property

  1. Be IP Smart – Engage a specialist lawyer to assist you with reviewing your business and analysing which areas of your business can benefit from intellectual property protection.
  2. Protect what is important to others, not just you – What you may believe is important, is not necessarily what your competitor believes is important. Engage a lawyer to scrutinise which areas of your business could benefit from the most protection.
  3. Invest in a well-written non-disclosure agreement – Make sure your employment agreements; licences and sales contracts all protect your intellectual property too.
  4. Act Quickly – It doesn’t take long for a competitor to copy you. When it comes to registering your intellectual property aim to work as quickly as possible. 

For any more information relating to intellectual property rights contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

Read this before contracting with a photographer or videography – 8 step guide

Last year, The Wedding Lawyer received a record number of disputes arising from the photography and videography contracts. Disputes partly arose due to the supplier not keeping to their side of the agreement.

Whilst photography and videography contracts differ depending on supplier, here is our six-step checklist to assist you when checking your photography or videography contract.

Step 1 – Does your supplier know the venue, timings and duration of coverage?           

As the consumer, it is your responsibility to check that the contract correctly states the date, venue and timings of your photo and videography shoot. Some suppliers will indicate the time at which they arrive and leave (e.g. arrive 9am and leave at 5pm) and others will simply state how many hours they will be providing coverage for (e.g. 8 hours coverage). Remember, wedding days do not always run on time, therefore, you are advised to go through your itinerary and ensure the timings stipulated on the contract as realistic. You may find it useful to negotiate an hourly rate with the supplier in advance of your wedding day, in the event of the day over running by one or two hours. This will prevent any nasty surprise bills for overtime after the event.

Step 2 – Who owns the copyright in the photos?

Do not be alarmed when a clause in the contract states “copyright of the photographic material” belongs to the supplier. This clause is often found in photography contracts. As the consumer, you should take care with how you use photos that are taken from your wedding day by your photographer. Whilst it may be tempting to stick photos/videos onto social media sites you are advised to check with you photographer before you use such photos/videos in this way.

Step 3 – How much do you need to pay upfront?

Many photographers and videographers want to be paid the entirety of their fees in full before your big day. Whilst, this provides the supplier with security that they have got the full payment, it also means you have little bargaining power once you have departed with your hard earned money. Whilst, suppliers can set their own terms as to how and when payments are due, it is worth choosing a supplier who is willing to accept part payment prior to the big day and the balance on completion of the job. This will provide an incentive for the supplier to deliver your photos and videos in a timely fashion.

According to the UK Competition and Markets Authority – as a guide:

  1. A deposit is just to reserve the goods and services and should be no more than a small percentage of the total price.
  1. Advance payments reflect the supplier’s expenses in carrying out the contract and should leave the customer with a reasonable amount to pay on completion of the job.

Step 4 – Do you need to provide your supplier with a meal or a break?

Photographers and Videographers are usually required to be fully alert and present throughout all aspects of the wedding day. However, they are only human beings are often stipulate break times and meal arrangements in their contract. Ensure you understand what the hospitality arrangements are for the supplier and if possible ensure this is factored into the itinerary. A failure to make provision to allow your supplier to take breaks for meals could mean they end up taking it at a time when they are most needed during the course of the day. It is not unusual for a photographer and videographer to request a hot meal in their contract. If this is the case, ensure you have made provision for this with your caterer.

Step 5 – Does your supplier understand the timetable for the day?

Contracts often contain a clause along the lines of

“The supplier x will endeavour to capture all the relevant moments throughout the day as they occur. However, some unforeseen moments might not be captured”

To minimise the risk of not capturing a special moment, ensure you have given your supplier a full briefing as close to the day as possible. This should also be supplemented with a printed timetable so there is no confusion as to where the photo and video team should be on the day.

Step 6 – Do you know when the final photos and videos will be delivered?

An often-disputed point is that a videographer or photographer is taking too long to deliver the photos or videos. Carefully check each clause of the contract to see that it mentions how long it will take the supplier is likely to deliver the final version of the photos and videos. Should this not be included in the contract, ensure you get written confirmation about how long this is likely to take.

Step 7 – Is there more than one photographer or videographer?

Both the bride and groom have wanted to instruct their own photographer and videographer on a separate basis to cover the wedding day. If this is the case, check the contract to ensure there are no limitations to allowing this. Some suppliers include a exclusivity clause which states “no other professional photography crew will be hired to cover the same event”.

Step 8 – Do you understand the cancellation clause in the contract?

Unfortunately, there are times where wedding days cannot go ahead, therefore ensure you are clear of what your financial liability is when you have to cancel a booking with a photographer or videographer. Remember, wedding insurance is always a good idea to protect you to cover any expenses in the event of cancellation.

If the photographer or videographer cancels the booking, check to ensure you are clear on your rights. The supplier should provide an alternative supplier of the same quality and experience or a full refund.

Should you need assistance with reviewing a contract or dealing with dispute, please 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

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