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Wedding and events caterers don’t get caught out! The law surrounding food labelling and allergies

Our appeal dedicated to Nainika Tikoo

This blog article is dedicated to Nainika Tikoo who sadly passed away on 25 May 2017 as a result of anaphylaxis owing to an allergic reaction to blackberries. We have noticed a number of wedding and event caterers who regularly fail to comply with their legal food labelling obligations. We hope the below provides some guidance. If you are an events caterer, wedding planner or couple, we are offering free food labelling consultations and best practice advice to ensure your next event is compliant with the relevant legislation. All we ask is that a donation is made to the allergy awareness campaign set up by Nainika’s parents (Lakshmi Kaul and Vinod Tikoo) (www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nainika)

Facing the facts

It is shocking to see how many caterers at weddings and events, fail in their legal duty in providing information about allergenic ingredients in the food that they serve to guests. This has the potential to cause serious harm. We have put together some tips to assist caterers with their obligations.

In the UK, it is estimated that 1-2% of adults and 5-8% of children have a food allergy. This equates to around 2 million people living in the UK with a food allergy. This figure does not include the number of people who have food intolerances, which would in turn substantially increase the number of people who are impacted if they have a food allergy or intolerance.

About an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction can be produced by a tiny amount of food ingredient that a person is sensitive to. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild symptoms such as rashes to more severe symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and on occasions anaphylaxis. Around ten people in the UK die from allergic reactions to food every year.

What can be done?

There is no cure for food allergy, therefore the only way to manage the condition is to avoid the food that makes the person ill. When you are attending events (including weddings) it is important that caterers provide clear and accurate information about allergenic ingredients in their products. Food Information Regulations 2014 introduces new rules for food businesses relating to the labelling and provision of allergen information.

What ingredients must a caterer declare to consumers?

The following ingredients must be declared to a consumer if they are added to food (the most common ones are in bold):

  1. Cereals containing gluten namely wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats and their hybridised strains and product thereof, except:
    1. Wheat based glucose syrups including dextrose
    2. Wheat based maltodextrins
    3. Glucose syrups on barley
    4. Cereals used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.
  2. Crustaceans and products thereof (for example prawns, lobster, crabs and crayfish).
  3. Egg and products thereof.
  4. Fish and products thereof, except;
    1. Fish gelatine used as carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations.
    2. Fish gelatine or Isinglass used as a fining agent in beer and wine.
  5. Peanuts and products thereof.
  6. Soybeans and products thereof, except;
    1. Fully refined soybean oil and fat
    2. Natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherols, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate and natural D –alpha tocopherol succinate from soybean sources
    3. Vegetable oils derived phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean sources
    4. Plant stanol ester produced from oil sterols from soybean sources
  7. Milk and products thereof (including lactose) except:
    1. Whey used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.
    2. Lactitol
  8. Nuts (namely almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan nut, Brazil nut, pistachio nut and Macadamia nut (Queensland nut) and products thereof except for nuts used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.
  9. Celery and products thereof.
  10. Mustard and products thereof.
  11. Sesame seeds and products thereof.
  12. Sulpher dioxide and/or sulphites at concentrations of more than 10mg/kg or 10mgL (litre) in terms of the total SO2, which are to be calculated for products as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturers.
  13. Lupin and products thereof.
  14. Molluscs and products thereof (for example mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, snails and squid).

Tips for caterers to avoid breaking the law with regards to food labelling

  1. Businesses should review ingredients information for foods provided by them and ensure that their suppliers provide them with the necessary information to meet their obligations.
  2. Every caterer has a responsibility for ensuring that allergen information they provide is accurate.
  3. Should you not make reference to allergenic ingredients within a menu, it must be clear to a consumer where such information can be found. In such situations, there must be a statement that can be found on food menus or food labels. All mandatory allergen information on menus or signpost statements should be easily accessible and visible, and clearly legible to the final consumer regardless of whether they have a food allergy or not.
  4. Where food is provided through a buffet format, the allergen information should be provided for each food item separately.
  5. Some catering businesses may find it difficult to ensure written menus are kept up-to-date and displaying accurate information regarding allergenic ingredients used in products. Caterers do have the flexibility to provide such information orally. In such cases, consumers must be able to obtain information from members of the catering staff. If a catering business operates this approach they will need to ensure that there is a written notice, menu or label that is clearly visible, at the point that the consumer chooses their food, to indicate information is available from a member of staff.
  6. Caterers are recommended to have a system in place to ensure that when allergen information is provided orally to consumers, it is support by that information being available to staff and others in a recorded form (in writing for example) to provide consistency, accuracy and verifiable safety procedures.

The sanctions against Caterers for failing to comply?

Wedding and event caterers who do not comply with the above, risk committing a criminal offence. If found guilty, the fine can be of an unlimited amount.

For more information: contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

Reference – https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/food-allergen-labelling-technical-guidance.pdf

 

 

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

Wedding Loans: eye watering facts and what you need to know.

According to price Comparison website Money Supermarket, did you know over 50,000 couples have applied for loans to fund their wedding day costs so far this year. Of this number, one in ten couples have requested to borrow more than £20,000. It has also been reported that there has been a 53% increase in £30,000 plus wedding loan applications compared to last year. Since January 2017 to March 2017, collectively British Couples have asked for approximately £460 million to fund their wedding day.

Our tips before taking out a wedding loan:

  1. Look for the best deal

When it comes to taking out a loan ensure you check what the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is. Essentially, the APR informs you of the true cost of the loan taking into account interest payable, any other charges and when payments fall due. When checking which wedding loan to take out, be sure to compare APRs.

  1. Early Repayment Charges

Do not forget that it is possible to pay off your wedding loan early. Often this is desirable to couples particularly if they wish to be debt free or where paying off a loan may impact their ability to borrow further (for example, to purchase a house). Many loan providers will charge an early repayment fee if you wish to pay off your debts early. If you think there maybe a possibility that you can pay off your loan early, try and search for a wedding loan deal that comes without any early repayment fees.

  1. Check your credit rating

Wedding loan lenders are only required to offer their advertised ‘typical’ APR to two-thirds of applicants. If your credit rating is not in good shape, you maybe offered a more expensive deal than the low rate loan you originally applied for.

  1. Secured v Unsecured loans: know the risks

Secured loans are cheaper than unsecured loans but run the risk that your lender will be able to take a charge on your property. This means that if you are unable to keep up with your repayments, you risk losing your home. Secured loans generally are only offered to homeowners who have sufficient equity in their property. So do not sign up for a loan unless you are 100% sure that you will be able to meet your repayments.

  1. Check the small print

Never sign a document without checking the small print. Should you need any assistance in understanding the meaning of your loan agreement, always consider obtaining legal advice.

For any further information, 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

Could you lend your wedding outfit for 1 day to a bride or groom who has lost out due to the sudden administration of their wedding supplier?

We need your help!

Dozens of brides and grooms who are due to get married have been left devastated to learn about the sudden closure and administration of bridal boutique, Dan Kerr Brides.

According to the Lancashire Post, a number of wedding ceremonies may be cancelled after a representative from Dan Kerr Brides said it has “no alternative but to close”.

For brides and grooms who paid by credit card, there maybe some recourse to obtaining their money back from their credit card company. However, for a number of brides and grooms who have paid using cash or cheque, there is a possibility that they may neither get their bridal dress/wedding suit nor their money back.

With some couples potentially losing out on between £200 and £5000, we are looking to assist those who cannot afford to purchase a new outfit.

Could you lend your spare bridal dress for one day?

If you are already married, you may have a spare bridal dress/wedding suit that is not currently being used. If so, we are appealing to anyone who maybe willing to lend their dress or suit for a day to a bride or groom who has lost out on getting their outfit from Dan Kerr Brides and is unable to obtain a refund.

How does it work?

If you think you can lend a wedding dress/suit for one day, please email Pranav@theweddinglawyer.co.uk stating your:

  1. Name
  2. Where you are based
  3. For Brides – Size of your wedding dress
  4. For Brides – Style of wedding dress – Either by sending an image or similar image of the style of your dress.
  5. For Groom – Size of trousers, blazers and shirt.
  6. For Grooms – Style of suit – Either by sending an image or similar image of the style of your suit.
  7. Contact number (optional)

We will then look to pair you up with a bride or groom who has lost out on getting a wedding outfit. The bride/groom and lender will then communicate with each other to organise the logistics of borrowing the wedding dress.

Are you are bride/groom who has lost out?

If you have been adversely affected by the closure of Dan Kerr and would be interested in borrowing a dress or suit, contact Pranav@theweddinglawyer.co.uk stating your:

  1. Name
  2. Date of wedding
  3. Where you are based
  4. For Brides – Preferred size of bridal dresses
  5. For Brides – Preferred style of wedding dress
  6. For Grooms – Preferred size of trousers, blazers and shirt.
  7. For Grooms – Preferred style of suit
  8. Contact number (optional)

We will then look to connecting you with someone who maybe willing to lend you his or her outfit for your big day.

The Wedding Lawyer

We appreciate weddings can be expensive and stressful. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring every bride and groom has a wedding day to remember. Therefore, if you can assist us, please do. For any more information about The Wedding Lawyer, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

Dan Kerr Brides goes into administration. What you need to know?

On Tuesday 18 April 2017, it was announced that the Dan Kerr bridal boutique, which has stores in Preston and Blackpool, has closed its doors and removed stock from displays as the administrators move in. A representative from the family run bridal shop, which had been running for over 100 years stated that “We have no alternative but to close down” and that “individual letters will be sent to each customer in relation to dresses which have been ordered or paid for”. Consumers are instructed to wait for letters and to contact Leonard Curtis Recovery if they would like further information regarding the operations of the business. However, in the meantime, the below may assist you.

What is administration?

An insolvency firm has been called in to run the company, and obtain as much cash as it can for creditors by selling or utilising its assets. In this case, Dan Kerr has instructed insolvency practitioners Leonard Curtis Recovery to handle the administration. Leonard Curtis Recovery is likely to collect any assets and try and sell what is can. The cash raised will then be distributed to creditors in order of priority.

Priority of payments following administration

The priority in which creditors are paid is usually as follows:

  1. Secured creditors – E.g. banks – if the company have borrowed money secured on property/assets. According to Companies House, it would appear that Dan Kerr (Brides) Limited have outstanding liabilities to HSBC Bank PLC and Midland Bank PLC.
  2. Insolvency Practitioners – e.g. Leonard Curtis Recovery.
  3. Employees – Redundancy pay and wages
  4. Everyone else – including customers, HMRC and any additional money owed to employees.

Therefore, you will note that customers are low down in the priority list that could make it difficult (though not impossible) to obtain refunds from the bridal shop.

Can you get your money back?

It is our understanding that Dan Kerr have stock and it maybe the case that some of this stock has already been allocated to customers. Therefore, at this stage, there maybe a possibility that your orders have been fulfilled and it may be worth checking with your Dan Kerr/Leonard Curtis representative to what extent your order has or can be fulfilled. It maybe the case that Dan Kerr have entered into an arrangement with another company to meet their outstanding obligations to customers. You should check if this has been the case.

If you have ordered a wedding dress and the order has not been fulfilled as yet, there is no guarantee you will either get your wedding dress or your money back from Dan Kerr.

From what we understand about the situation with Dan Kerr, there is no evidence that the insolvency company will be running the company as a going concern, which means the company has ceased trading. This will complicate things as far as refunds are concerned.

As you will see from the priority list above, whilst it is not impossible, it is unlikely you will get a full refund from the administrators. If you do, it is often a negligible amount.

What are your options?

1.Did you pay by credit card?

If you purchase cost between £100 – £30,000 and you paid either a deposit or the full amount by credit card, then your credit card company is liable under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Please note, the £100 or more threshold is for a single item. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be protected if you bought say 5 dresses for £90.

The Section 75 protection means that whatever rights you have against Dan Kerr, you now have against your credit card provider. You are advised to contact your credit card company explaining the situation. If you have any receipts for your purchased items, ensure you take a picture/photocopy of these, as you may need to submit these as proof of purchase. Please be advised that your credit card provider may expect you to contact Dan Kerr in the first instance to understand the latest position and obtain confirmation that Dan Kerr are unable to provide you with a refund.

Click here for a template letter to send to your credit card company.

2. Try relying on Chargeback?

If you paid for your wedding dress using either of the following methods:

  • Debit cards – Visa, Maestro, Visa Electron or Mastercard debit card (any amount – even under £100)
  • Prepaid Visa or Mastercard (any amount – even under £100)
  • Credit Cards – Visa, Mastercard or Amex Credit card (Under £100 only. If it’s over £100 use Section 75 (in step 1 above).

You could try using the Chargeback system.

This is a system where your bank gets cash back from the Dan Kerr’s payment processing bank.

However, unlike with credit cards (in step 1 above), this is not a legal protection and operates based on the internal rules of banks. Therefore, you are advised to contact your bank to see whether you can rely on this system.

Please note, you must complain within 120 days of realising there is a problem (not from the date of transaction). If you heard about the Dan Kerr administration on Tuesday 18 April 2017 your 120-day time limit has commenced.

3. Did you pay in cash or by cheque? 

Things get complicated where you have paid using cash or cheque as you will not be able to rely on the protection discussed in step 1 and 2 above. Our advice would be to see how far your order had reached with Dan Kerr and check to see whether your order had been processed.

4. Wedding insurance

If you have taken out wedding insurance, it is worth checking your insurance policy/contacting your insurance company to see whether you are covered in the event of a wedding supplier entering into administration. When contacting your insurance company you should have the following details to hand;

  1. The date of purchase
  2. The amount of purchase
  3. Proof of purchase
  4. The excess on your policy
  5. Your insurance policy
  6. The date you found out about the issue with Dan Kerr
  7. Any correspondence with Dan Kerr.

Should you need any further information, please contact info@theweddinglawywer.co.uk

See our online resources for a template Section 75 letter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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