You've done the wedding consultation, you've discussed pricing and both you and your client are ready to move forward - what's next?
It's time to get the contract signed!
The contract sets you up for success in a few ways:
- You are able to set your client's expectations of your services and timelines.
- You can use it to provide an official quote on items needed and their pricing.
- Once signed, it is legally binding and holds both your client and yourself to the terms set forth therein.
Two tips on verbiage to use:
Agreement vs. Contract
An agreement is an informal arrangement between two or more parties that is frequently unwritten. The parties agree to do or refrain from doing something. There are no goods or services exchanged (e.g. - no product for money) which makes it unable to be enforced in court.
A contract has a higher set of standards and is a formal arrangement between two parties that’s enforceable either in court or through arbitration. Contracts are valid when both parties accept the terms. An exchange of goods or services for “consideration,” which is usually money but can be anything of value, is required for the arrangement to be legally binding.
While a verbal contract can be upheld in court, it is much more difficult to prove than a document signed by both parties. Having a signed contract is the best way to protect your business as failure on the part of either party to upheld their end of the contract can lead to legal ramifications.
Written contracts require both parties to sign, thereby validating the document. Having a signed contract is the best way to protect your business as failure on the part of either party to upheld their end of the contract can lead to legal ramifications.
Deposit vs. Retainer
A deposit is an amount of money paid that is returned when the services are complete.
A retainer is a fee that is paid in advance in order to hold services (i.e. - wedding or event date). It is, by default, non-refundable and is not returned. Instead, it is applied to the total.
While the two terms seem to be interchangeable used, they are not the same! If you do not plan on returning the fee that not only secures you doing work, but you want to also apply it to the total owed, this is a retainer. This is not a deposit.
Two Example Contracts:
- This contract can be used if you will be on site ahead of the event to set up florals.
- This contract can be used if you will be shipping items to your client ahead of the event
Both of these samples are word documents so that you are able to customize them to your exact needs and timelines. There may also be specific things you have encountered that you want to be sure are covered in your contracts. Look at these as living documents that can be changed and altered as your business grows! Once signed by both parties, however, they are binding and must be adhered to.
Best of luck with your event bookings and contracts!