Recently, I heard a story about how a bride emailed her wedding supplier asking if they were still on for her wedding that weekend. The supplier was like... what now? Basically, the bride thought she'd booked the supplier but there was no verbal/written agreement, she'd never confirmed the amount she wanted of her order and never paid a deposit or signed a contract. For these reasons, the supplier thought she has changed her mind and ordered from someone else, and took another booking for this date. Upon hearing that the supplier was no longer available, the bride became pretty upset/panicked, and is putting the onus on the supplier.
You'd think that this was just a silly one-off misunderstanding, but actually I've heard many similar stories, where people have thought they were booked in when they weren't. It's a real shame because there's such a small amount that needs to be done near the start that could save an unnecessary amount of stress, but it's easy to forget these checklists in the busyness of wedding planning.
So, to ensure there's no nasty surprises, here's my tips to make sure you have booked each supplier:
- Do they require a deposit and if so have you paid? As far as I know with wedding suppliers, or at least with wedding photography, you'll need to pay a retainer to book. We take retainers because if we reserve that date for you, and for some unfortunate reason you cancel or move the date, we will have turned down other bookings and therefore, if we can't fill the date we'll lose part of our income. If the supplier thinks you're booked in, they won't just be like "Ahhh I'll swing the retainer for this couple", if you haven't had an invoice or request for payment, it might mean there's been a miscommunication- email them to check.
- Make sure you have a contract with both sets of signatures, yours and theirs. All professional wedding suppliers should have contracts really, there's no real reason for them not to. I once heard about a photographer who didn't have a contract because he didn't approve of "all that legal mumbo jumbo". Errr what? Contracts exist to protect both parties, to guarantee a service. As a married-to-be, without a contract your supplier can just not turn up on the day and you wouldn't have a leg to complain on. As a supplier you want to be protected and have a fee agreed to. I have no idea why a wedding supplier would actively disagree with having contracts aside reasons like pure laziness/dodgy-ness.
- The easiest way to make sure there's been no misunderstanding and that all your suppliers are secured is to simply email to say "Is there anything more you need from us to book you?". This way, you've done your part and been very clear that you want to book. I would also regularly check in to say hello with your suppliers, just so there's no misunderstanding 4 days before the wedding. Although suppliers, especially during peak season, might be too busy with earlier weddings for a long email, it doesn't hurt either party to connect occasionally. If I can, I will usually drop a quick hello by, and I always encourage booked couples to like my facebook page so they can see what I've been up to and check I'm still alive!
And there we go! Hopefully with these tips you'll make sure you never accidentally not-book your wedding suppliers!
Have you heard of any wedding mis-booking stories? If so, tell me about them in the comments below!