Q: My fiancx and I did a giant venue search, and eventually found a business local to his parents that we loved. It is a new small business, owned by a couple we’d love to give our money to—it’s a farm and brewery. They haven’t done a wedding, but they have done events on-site. In our communications, they’ve been incredibly generous (allowing us to use their Adirondack chairs for our game area, offering to coordinate the outdoor bathrooms and the wholesale wine for us, including beer in the site rental), but there doesn’t seem to be a contract coming. It’s been more of a casual email back-and-forth. I’m not super versed in contract language. How do I proceed to make sure we’re covered, without insulting our sweet venue owners? Do I draft something casual, or try to reach out to a lawyer friend? We need your help!
A: We’ll open this up to our community of people-with-great-ideas in a minute, but first, I have some thoughts.
Most importantly, I want to say that I encourage people to work with newer vendors. We did it when we got married and it saved us a ton of money—and was a great experience. Our venue was in its first year hosting weddings, our caterer had never done a wedding before, and they both ended up being fantastic. I firmly believe we received better customer service because our vendors were eager to prove themselves, I know we got an excellent deal financially, and it was rad to support wonderful new business owners early, when they really needed people to take a chance on them.
That said, I am of the school that you must have contracts. In my book, this is non-negotiable. Everything these lovely folx have offered you needs to be in writing. I know it can seem rude to insist on one, but you honestly don’t want to work with anyone who is offended by the need for a contract. It protects both parties, and if they don’t get that, it is a big red flag. You also probably want event insurance, for example, and they should want you to have it—for everyone’s sake (it’s inexpensive and you can buy it online).
As for making that contract happen, personally, I’m not above Googling “wedding vendor contract [my state]” or looking at a more established venue’s contract, tweaking it, and then sending it to a lawyer pal for a once-over (and lucky for you, we’ve already written up the basics of wedding contracts). But our readers have undoubtedly addressed this issue in their own planning, and have some thoughts and solutions too.
How are you handling wedding contracts? Have You had to provide any contracts, or ask for edits on a contract? What’s your best Wedding contract advice (Or hit us with your questions)?