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What is a Contract (And Why Good Vendors Require One)

Wedding planning can be stressful, so it is a huge relief when you feel like you’ve found your dream vendor! They are professional, you love their work and they fit in your budget. You are ready to secure them for your wedding date, but first they send over a contract for you to sign. It may be a little intimidating to sign on the dotted line. What exactly is the purpose of a contract? And why do your vendors require you to sign one?

A contract is a service agreement between you and your vendor for your wedding or event date. While many consider a contract as just a way to make sure a vendor gets paid, a contract is also meant to protect you as the client. A thorough and professional contract should cover everything such as start time, service count or duration, cancellations, payment, what you are receiving, emergencies and more.



Imagine if your makeup artist showed up to your wedding and said “I know you have six bridesmaids that need makeup, but I really only have time for three. Sorry!” Or if your photographer sent you an email saying “I try to get photos back in two months, but I’ve been really busy so it will probably be about six months until you get your wedding photos.” That would really put a damper on your wedding day, right? Truth be told, without a contract these scenarios can happen and they actually happen pretty often in the wedding industry. I have been contacted multiple times this year by brides who are in panic because their makeup artist has cancelled days before their wedding day, or have simply just stopped replying to their emails. And guess what? No contract was in place.

I was able to speak with Henry Jones, owner of Henry Jones Photography. Henry is a portrait photographer based in Columbia, SC and specializes in capturing memories for individuals, families, bloggers, brands and seniors. Henry was able to give some insight regarding contracts from a photographers perspective.

“Having a contract is very important in any business. The contract helps protect the client and the photographer if any legal issues arise. It will also help quickly remedy a potential issue between the client and photographer. The photography contract clearly lays out what is being offered, the terms of the session (ex: what portrait services I am providing, when I am & how I am delivering your images and what I am expecting from you). Once I had a client tell me that she hired a photographer and he never provided her with the images. She told me she didn’t have a contract in place to protect her. I ensured her that she will never have that issue with my business. I clearly list in my contract what I will provide and in what time frame. It is very important that any amended verbal agreement be added to the contract, so that you receive what was promised.”

At the end of the day, a contract is meant to make sure that you get everything you are paying for and that your day runs as smoothly as possible. Please make sure you fully read your contract and ask your vendor about anything you have questions about. A contract from your vendor says that they value you as a client, and I would not recommend booking a vendor that does not require a contract. Why gamble on one of the biggest days of your life?

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