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10 habits to prevent family feuds leading up to your big day

Wedding Preparations. Emotions run high. Expectations are not met. This is the perfect setting for an Eastenders episode. However, in binding two lovebirds in matrimony, it is important that other relationships remain as intact as possible. Yes, weddings can bring people together but on numerous occasions they have split people apart. Therefore, we have set out our 10 habits to prevent arguments between family and friends.

  1. It is not what you say, but how you say it.

Whilst you may not like some of the wedding ideas and suggestions by family or friends remember to control your reaction  when you are not agreement. Remember it is not what you say but the manner, tone and the words you use to communicate it.

  1. Form a committee of advisors

Any large project can benefit from a small team of advisors to assist you and your partner to sanity check ideas and plans for your big day. It is worth informally recruiting 2 or 3 trusted friends or colleagues (ideally not family) to act as a soundboard and to provide feedback on any plans/ideas you may have.

  1. List your nearest and dearest and allocate them a responsibility

Family and friends may have huge expectations when someone close to them gets married. Therefore, it is important to manage expectations as best as possible. Start off by creating a list of all the people who are close or who may communicate discontent if they are not involved on your wedding day. Then simply allocate these people with a responsibility before or on the big day. It doesn’t have to be a major role – it could be as simple as allowing them to be an usher. The aim is to make the important people feel included and enrolled on your big day.

  1. Address the elephant in the room

If you find that you have had a dispute or disagreement with a family member or friend about your wedding prep, do not ignore it. Also, avoid the silent treatment. When preparing for a wedding, every day counts and you simply cannot afford to waste planning days due to a disagreement. Aim to get to the centre of the issue as quickly as possible and find a way to resolve it.

  1. Couples come first

As you are the couple getting married, your wishes and desires must prevail over any pressures you may get from family and friends to do something in a certain way. Aim to gain clarity with your partner on how you would like to proceed with your wedding plans before taking on family members who may disagree with you. By being on “the same page” as your partner will give you the conviction and strength to stand your ground.

  1. Take regular breaks from Wedding Admin

Weddings are important but do not let them take over your life. Take breaks from planning and allow yourself to focus on our aspects of your life too. All too often, disagreements are a result of overworked and tired minds that are fixated on certain ideas associated with the big day.

  1. Create rules about guest lists from the outset

A ridiculous number of disputes arise from negotiating with family members about guest lists. From the outset, work out the maximum number of people you are looking to invite followed by setting rules about who makes the cut. Examples may include: not inviting anyone who hasn’t ever spoken to the couple, no long lost aunts and uncles or no work colleagues. By creating rules, this allows everyone to be on an equal footing. An alternative method is to provide each family member with an allocated number of guests they can invite. They are then free to invite anyone as long as they come within the allocation.

  1. Retreat from tradition and be creative

We are living in the 21st century. Your family may place pressure on you to adopt traditions and rituals. These are great but if they are likely to cause the couple to be unhappy, it is worth substituting tradition for a more modern and creative approach. E.g. putting the names of all the parents on an invitation card or forgoing a particular aspect of the traditional ceremony. Remember, a couple should be united on their approach if they decide to depart from a tradition or ritual as it is likely to be greeted with some protest from a family member.

  1. Have a leader to make the final decisions 

In the event of dispute or conflict, there needs to be a bold leader who will make the final decision in order to progress the wedding planning. This may well be the couple or a wedding planner but there needs to be someone who makes the difficult decisions to ensure disputes to not drag on.

  1. Finally, if all else fails consider getting married abroad!

It is fascinating how much simpler it can become when you decide to get married abroad. You can invite more people (knowing many will probably not attend) and a lot of your work could be outsourced to wedding planners in your host country meaning you are free to enjoy the wedding festivities leading up to the big day.

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