Make it official. (And specific.) A contract is your chance to map out your expectations for any and all services. “It doesn’t need to be 17 pages,” says Paul. “Just simple English, explaining what’s been agreed upon.” This means all those nitty-gritty details — timelines; pricing and dates of payment; hours of service on the wedding day; exactly what types (and brands) of alcohol are going to be served at the reception; what blooms will make up your bridal bouquet — that up until this point have only been discussed out loud need to be clear and outlined, in ink.
Kendall Brown, a contract lawyer turned wedding planner and owner of Eclatante Event Design in Northern Liberties, agrees: “If you haven’t specifically asked for something in the contract, then you’re not specifically going to get it.” You’ve seen it, touched it, heard it, tasted it — and you want that — so be specific. When finalizing arrangements with your caterer, don’t just detail the menu items and when they’ll be served — include guest counts, the guest-to-staff ratio and portion sizes. With transportation, list everything from the vehicle year and color to your smoking preference and the number of passengers who’ll be riding. Not only are vendors more likely to pay attention to executing the agreed-upon details, but this way, if you’ve planned with your baker to have the covered-in-chocolate cake you’ve always wanted and you’re presented with some Pepto-pink monstrosity covered in doilies, you can point to your contract, demand a refund, and have your vendor reaching for the Pepto.