We often talk about tips and tricks when it comes to bridal gowns and wedding themes, but what about negotiating addendums and handling refunds? It may not be as pretty, but the legal side of planning weddings deserves just as much of your attention. Planning a wedding nowadays means having Plans A-Z and being open to last minute changes. This is why it is so important to know and understand the contents of the contracts you’re signing. So what if the changes have already come and you’re not sure how to start talking contract amendments and refunds with your team of suppliers? Keep on reading for a few practical tips the Pro’s would surely appreciate!
Before initiating a discussion with your vendors, you can browse your existing agreements to set the right expectations for the discussion. Pay close attention to the section on rebooking and cancellation terms. You might just find most, if not all, of the answers you’re looking for in the fine print. Many industry professionals have adapted their contracts to the current situation, including more flexible terms for unforeseen changes and specific clauses for non-refundable fees. Don’t fret if your contract states you cannot get your full deposit back. You can always appeal to your suppliers, but keep in mind that the fee may also be justified. They may have already sourced materials, hired staff, or held the date and even turned down other potential business for your booking.
This one is applicable from the first inquiry until well after the wedding day. Be considerate with your requests as well as empathetic with their responses. Don’t allow emotions to get the best of you, no matter how frustrating the situation may be. If you feel the discussion is getting too heated, put a pause on the conversation or maybe rope in your fiancée to mediate. The road to compromise is often a lot closer than we think. If you’re looking for content on building good relationships with your wedding suppliers, we share more tips to help you out here.
We know it’s often difficult to make the decision to push through or postpone, but deciding sooner rather than later is always a good idea. It not only gives you a better chance and locking in your vendors’ availability for the new date, but it also gives you and your guests more time to adjust to the new plan. Moreover, as business owners, your vendors also need time to find other potential clients or make plans to recuperate from the lost income.
When you’re left with no choice but to cancel the big day, there are still ways you can support your wedding suppliers during these difficult times. Instead of demanding a full cash refund on your deposit, how about asking for credit for future services? For example, you can talk to your Photographer about using the deposit on a future maternity shoot or birthday celebration. You can also request the same from your Makeup Artist, spreading out the deposit to utilize his or her services for multiple events when it’s safer. There are different unique arrangements you can discuss with each supplier.
It is definitely more personal to communicate with your vendors through a phone or video call. Just make sure you document everything that was discussed in a follow-up email afterwards. It is highly likely that you are not the only client your vendor is currently discussing changes with. You can protect yourself and your terms by clearly stating what was agreed on the call and asking your vendor to confirm. Should there be any major changes to your contract, make sure you receive and review and signed copy soon after.
It’s important now more than ever to accept things that are out of our control. There may be a vendor that is unavailable on your new date and there may be deposits that are non-refundable. No one was spared from the harsh financial realities of the pandemic. Why not get creative with ways to earn your money back? Maybe you can save the deposit for another event in the future or offer it to friends who are still shopping for suppliers for their own wedding. It might not be how you initially planned, but you can still work together to find resolutions that are win-win.