Wedding: How To: Seal the Deal

To get the wedding (services) you've dreamed of, it pays to read the fine print

Expect the unexpected. (And have a Plan B.) Don’t count on mishaps; just plan for them. “The wedding industry isn’t full of crooks,” says Brown. “But if someone doesn’t perform, if something doesn’t show up, you need to know how you’ll be reimbursed.” Contracts drawn up by smaller-staffed businesses should provide reimbursement information in the event products aren’t what you requested or the professional you hired doesn’t show up. Are you promised a refund in the amount listed on the contract, for example, or are you limited to the cost to fix the problem?

These sorts of money-back guarantees help, but when your photographer is a no-show, do you really want Uncle Henry’s Polaroids to be the only photos of you walking down the isle? If a contract promises a certain person providing the service (such as your photographer), it should also delineate who will show up to cover in case of an emergency.

This sort of backup plan is especially doable for larger businesses that have built-in emergency lifelines. After 20 years in the industry, Anthony Rossano, owner of Bernard’s Salon and Day Spa in Cherry Hill, has seen his fair share of hair-raising planning malfunctions. He once had a pair of stylists book a private consultation with an area bride. When they confused the date and didn’t show, the bride called Bernard’s in a panic. “Of course I sent somebody over,” recalls Rossano. But he counsels, “Always go through a reputable salon.” In the event a stylist can’t make it, a big-name salon will have its reputation on the line, and, more importantly, a staff of skilled replacements on the ready. Similarly, whenever possible, Paul pushes her brides to work with a large transportation company that can easily send one of its fleet to rescue a sick vehicle.

Let the professionals get to work. (Let go, and let them.) As with any good relationship, Brown believes that when it comes to wedding planning, compromise is key. “If you’re too inflexible in your contracts, you’re going to have problems,” she warns. “What happens if you decide on all white roses, and there’s a massive snowstorm in Argentina?” You can’t control everything. Good thing you hired a
professional you trust. And that florist, that caterer, that photographer, that stylist will do all he or she can to honor your vision. Says photographer Novak: “If you feel like someone has your best interest in mind, then they probably do.”