Email Template For Wedding Venues- CMA Investigation Responses

I think it’s fair to say that the recent CMA Investigation has caused a bit of panic for wedding venues. I’ve been spending the past week helping businesses respond to a sea of emails from couples demanding various refunds. I’d like to tell you about our new email template for wedding venues, to help you respond to those tricky (and sometimes nasty!) customer queries.

Many venues are dealing with couples asking for refunds, sometimes challenging the T&C’s based on the CMA’s report. Couples have access to consumer protection and resources to tell them what kinds of questions to be asking. I’ve realised that wedding venues don’t have the same help readily available! This is a minefield for everyone, so I’ve come up with an email template for wedding venues to ‘level the playing field’ and hopefully assist some venues that are feeling swamped.

Email Template For Wedding Venues- CMA Investigation

Email Template For Wedding Venues:

Our email template responses can be used as the basis for a wedding venue’s response to a range of situations, including:

1) Queries from couples whose wedding has been unable to progress due to coronavirus. The template response deals with couples that are challenging your decision to keep money or their deposit. You can remind them that the CMA have said you could keep incurred costs, or charge them for any value or services they have already received under the contract.

2) Couples that postponed their wedding but now want to cancel and get their money back. There is a set of paragraphs that you can adapt to respond to queries like this.

3) Drawing a line under correspondence. This is for venues who have offered a compromise , or reached the end of negotiations, but perhaps without settlement. Do you just need some breathing space from the pinging inbox? Our wording will help you .

4) Documenting a compromise. The wording in the template allows you to clarify an agreement and protect yourself by agreeing any deal as in full and final settlement.

Email Template For Wedding Suppliers

How To Get The Template

I’ve road tested this template with a few clients, and we’ve found it to be incredibly useful. If you think this would be useful to you, you can purchase it for £75.00 from today. Buy on line here or email me at heather@stanfordgould.co.uk with the heading ‘Venue Template’ and I tell you how to get the template in WORD format.

The template is NOT designed to cut and paste. Every situation is different. The email template for wedding venues was designed to give you a starting point to deliver a bespoke response to customers.

If you’re a wedding supplier looking for more coronavirus related advice, be sure to check out our blog. You can find a YouTube video about the email template here, and another video about the CMA Investigation here.

Best Practices For Safe Home Delivery

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t been great for businesses so far. We are, however, beginning to see innovative solutions and a ‘the show must go on’ mentality. I have been contacted by multiple caterers who are now offering home delivery services, asking for guidance. How do you ensure a safe home delivery- making sure you are protecting your employees and customers, as well as following government guidelines? 

We have some practical advice for you today, created for the businesses who are taking this step of transformation by food tech expert, Ruth Dolby, Director of Food Science Fusion Ltd. Below is her list of best practices for safe home delivery. This is tailored towards catering businesses but can be practically applied to anybody offering food deliveries. At the end of this blog is a delivery records chart, which is a perfect example of how to track allergies and avoid mistakes.

Safe Home Delivery For Cyclists & Drivers

Cyclists:
– Only use a cycle that is road worthy, before every journey, check the brakes, lights, tyres.
– Report any defects and do not use an unsafe bike.
– Wear a helmet and high viz clothing for every journey.
– Follow the rules of the road and use cycle lanes whenever they are available.
– Do not put yourself at risk whilst on the road – your safety is more important than the food being delivered.
– Do not cycle if you are not experienced.
– Follow all road traffic requirements.

Cars\Vans\ Motorbike:
– Only drive if you have a full driving licence for the vehicle you are using.
– The vehicle must be fully insured for business delivery use and have a valid MOT.
– Follow all road traffic requirements.

Doorstep Delivery Safety

Coronavirus: You may be delivering to infected customers. To ensure your safety you must place the delivery on the doorstep and then walk back to a safe distance – at least 2 meters. If the food has been delivered in a cool bag, once the customer has removed the food and closed the door, you must spray the cool bag fully inside and outside with sanitiser spray. Then, use sanitiser gel on your hands. You must ensure you have both sanitiser spray and gel on you with all your deliveries.

Dogs: Do not put yourself at risk of aggressive dogs. Look out for signs that there are dogs on the property. If you feel under threat, place the delivery on the doorstep and then return to a safe distance- preferably behind a closed gate. Please report any incidents to enable other driver staff to be aware of any particular customers with aggressive dogs.

Cash: You may occasionally be required to take cash from customers. If you are threatened and asked for any cash, you should never put yourself in danger or at risk. Always return all cash as soon as possible, do not ‘stockpile’ cash.

Communication: Please ensure you have a fully charged phone on you are all times and that you have given this phone number to your manager. Always call in at the end of your shift to confirm you are safe and well. Keep your phone sanitised by wiping it with sanitised cloth on all touch surfaces [do not spray inside the contact points but do spray the charger if touched with non-sanitised surfaces]

Safety: Use the light on your phone to avoid trips and slips if delivering in the dark. Take a break if you get too hot and wear suntan lotion on exposed skin. Take drinking water with you.

Never, under any circumstances enter a customer’s property – even if invited in by customer. The only exception would be if you could clearly see there is a medical emergency. In this case you would call 999 and follow the instructions of the emergency services.

How To Track Deliveries & Allergy Information

This chart, created by Food Science Fusion Ltd, is a handy way to track deliveries. Keeping track of your deliveries in this way will help you to keep track of allergies and prevent delivery mix-ups.

Wedding Postponements- do I need a new contract?

I’ve been getting lots of questions about wedding postponements, so let’s try and be clear on this piece of advice:

If you wish agree a wedding postponement with your couple INSTEAD of a cancellation, you do not need (nor should you issue) a new contract.

  • The terms of the original agreement remain in place and the only term that is changed is the date of the delivery, and any other terms you may agree with your couples in that negotiation.
  • You MAY additionally agree to change payment terms.

If these were connected to your delivery date – ie Payment is due 1 month before the wedding or similar, then when you change the date of delivery the payment terms are automatically deferred, unless you agree separately to change them too.

If your payment terms were on specific dates – ie 30 April 2020 for an instalment payment – they remain as is, unless you agree something else with your couple.

  • In all other respects, the T and C’s of your original agreement are still in place and valid. If you didn’t have any – or they had mahoosive holes in them – wedding postponement is not an excuse to try to sure them up.
  • Wedding postponements are not necessarily the same as cancellations – in most cases you are transferring the sums paid to deliver the goods or services on another date, not starting again with another full payment for the services or goods.
  • You should confirm any changes to your couple in writing – email is fine – and add the words.

…in all other respects, your contract terms remain unchanged.

  • I remind you that if you seek to agree a wedding postponement, please advise your couple to tell any EXISTING wedding insurer about the changes as they may need to pay a fee and will not necessarily be covered by their EXISTING policy if you change the date, with or without notification. Couples need to CHECK the terms of the specific policy, with their broker or insurer.

A Stanford Gould, we have a range of contract templates available, and also offer a review of your current terms.

Wedding Suppliers and Styled Shoots – the legal issues? PART THREE: Safety and Risk

In part three of our series about wedding suppliers and styled shoots, we are taking Safety and Risk. EXACTLY what you lovely wedding creatives want to chat about in a styled shoot collaboration…… NOT.

Let’s just quickly recap what we have learned so far- the first blog dealt with clarifying who is doing what and how the collaboration is going to work, assigning roles and reminding of responsibilities and the aims of the shoot. The second blog talked you through the delights of intellectual property and social media tagging.

This third part leads us to the one topic that wedding suppliers, and indeed most small businesses, groan inwardly most loudly when mentioned…. Safety and Risk – or put another way, insurance and health and safety. They are so important and usually the very last thing that small businesses think about (until it’s too late? …. editor) when getting all excited about the gorgeousness of a styled shoot.

Risk and Insurance is relatively straight forward but none the less essential to make sure you have ticked it off the styled shoot preparations list. At least, you should have public liability cover for your business (if not, see these blogs…) That cover will be based on the activities you undertake as part of your business, usually with prospective couples paying for your services. Check with your broker or your insurer that the activities of a styled shoot are covered by your current insurance policies. Making a flower arch to be displayed at a reception isn’t a million miles away from making a flower arch for a styled shoot, but its for a different reason and in a different context. Make sure you are insured yourself for the work you do in any styled shoot project.

Secondly, make sure the others in the project are insured – if you trip over someone else’s camera bag and break your leg – does the photographer have cover for your injuries? And thirdly – does the location that you are using for the styled shoot have or need insurance cover for its users and or occupiers  – if you fall down some tricky steps or off a ladder whilst assembling the shoot at a venue– are they insured for any losses you may incur?

Finally, on the topic of falling off ladders – I really recommend a simple Risk Assessment of the shoot. For example:

  • Are you going to be working at height? Or need to install anything at height?
  • Are you lugging very heavy items from your car to the shoot site?
  • Are you going to be using vehicles? Are you on a highway?
  • Are you going to need lighting and other electrical stuff and is it PAT tested?
  • Using candles or naked flames? What are your fire risks?

It does NOT need to be ‘war and peace’. A simple proforma of the likely hazards and risks will do and there are plenty of proformas on line to use…I personally recommend a chat with Harrier UK who are very wedding and events savvy, and the sort of H and S experts that talk plain English and aren’t ‘jobsworth’ about this very important stuff – they are user friendly and really good: so well worth a view….

BUT, I hear you cry, Legal Fairy Godmother – where do I start with this stuff??

A solution beckons. We at SGOL have created a template for styled shoots. It’s not a contract. It’s not even Heads of Terms – it’s a ‘Rules of the Game’ template to use as an aid memoire to guide you through the questions you need to ask and the agreements you need to come to prior to a styled shoot to help reduce the risk for everyone involved..

For the rest of February this is available as an exclusive offer to YLFG Facebook group members at (50% off ) a discounted price of £24.99 by emailing us at heather@stanfordgouldonline.co.uk and requesting your copy of the template.  It can be used multiple times by the same buyer but is subject to its own T and Cs which are sent on request.

If that sounds like something you could use – get in touch.

Intellectual Property- Wedding Suppliers & Styled Shoots – the legal issues? PART TWO.

So last week we looked at some of the issues around styled shoots and setting the rules out when collaborating with other suppliers. This week we are concentrating on one of the most contentious areas of styled shoots – and one of the most complex – intellectual property rights.

So I could give you a really complex precis of the law on intellectual property rights but I’m not sure how helpful that would be, but I suggest if you want to know more , this is a good basic guide: https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview

In practical terms here are the key issues to think about in a styled shoot context:

The photographer will own the images that are taken at the shoot. He or she will need to give each other supplier involved a license to use the images – and this license may be conditional. Typical conditions would be:

  • Non-exclusive – so others could also use the images as well under similar license arrangements
  • Non-transferable or non-sub-contractable– so you cannot grant a license  to someone else to use them without the photographer’s consent.
  • Within a territory – so this may be England and Wales, UK wide, EU wide _ be careful here with Brexit changes afoot… or world wide .

Photographers providing services to wedding couples often grant licenses to use their photographs to their  clients which are NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE – but clearly in a styled shoot arrangement, this IS PURELY for commercial use so make sure the license terms are clear about what that may – or perhaps may, not entail. For example: the license may give you broad rights to  use on your social media feeds but you may have to get different permissions from the intellectual property owner if you want to submit the photos to Hello magazine.

What other conditions might there be? It’s a good idea to agree the way to tag or acknowledge the photographer when publishing  by agreeing the wording and the hashtag or the account to be tagged – this sounds obvious,  but there are instances of the wrong account being credited which is never good.

So what about the content of those photos? Obviously the issue of tagging the correct supplier account and the hashtags they use should also be agreed.

This shouldn’t require pages and pages of legal speak and notes – a simple bullet pointed list of likely situations or scenarios should be drawn up and then agree what can or cannot happen. Set the expectation again with something in writing. You can NEVER hope to cover off every possible things that might go wrong, but deal with the obvious risks.

And for help on this sticky problem, read on below……..

The question that often next arises is ‘Can you protect the designs the photographs show, the original and unique goods you want to sell, the creative and artistic products that you hope a styled shoot will show off so well, from copying or passing off as another’s work?’

A creator of goods will own the original design, they may also have copyright, and if copies were made of an original idea – in principal the owner of the original idea may have a claim for damages against the creator of the fake. However you might need some substantially deep pockets for this type of ligation (it ain’t cheap) and evidence of your original creation ( which means drawings, prototypes, evidence of design, the evolution of the products and the original creative inspiration)  if you want to pursue someone for copying ( breaching your intellectual property rights) or passing off. Take advice from an IP expert on these points if you think you have a potential claim.

A cease and desist letter (what’s one of those?editorhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cease_and_desist) may be a good starting point. There are lots of google results for templates if you search these terms but take care it is one for a UK based claim (not a US one – the law is different) and it’s not a panacea of all ills, and needs to be used sparingly.

BUT, I hear you cry, “Legal Fairy Godmother – where do I start with this stuff??”

A solution beckons. SGOL have created a template for styled shoots. Its not a contract. Its not even Heads of Terms – it’s designed to be written Rules of the Game – a simple template to use as an aid memoir to guide you through the questions you need to ask and the agreements you need to come to prior to a styled shoot to help reduce the risk for everyone involved..

For the rest of February 2020 this is available as an exclusive offer to YLFG Facebook group members at a discounted price of £24.99 by emailing us at heather@stanfordgouldonline.co.uk QUOTING ref YLFG and requesting your copy of the template. Non members can also get a copy, priced at £49.99. Email us for details.

It can be used multiple times by the same buyer but is subject to its own T and C’s which are sent on request.

If that sounds like something you could use – get in touch.

Legal Advice for Wedding Suppliers: Thinking of putting up your prices in the New Year?

A new decade requires a new slogan. We’ve had the Nineties, the Noughties, the Twenty Tens …

What are we to call this decade? The Twenty Twenties (worse slogan ever: editor) the Roaring Twenties? (I think that may have been done already: editor) Boring Twenties? (Let’s hope not: editor) Soaring Twenties – (that’s more like it…..! )

So, to soar, you need to create more business, and more profits, so you need some strategy and some planning. A review. It’s not going to just happen without some graft, is it? Do you expect a slow start to the new decade or will the phone ring off the hook? I sincerely hope it’s closer to the latter than the former, but either way this is the time to get your administrative and operational ‘ducks in a row’ for this season : and there’s no shortage of blogs and articles and podcasts telling you why this is important. Here’s one of my favs at the min.

One strategic option: putting up your prices is a common thought for businesses at this time of year – especially out of season and before the flurry of activity that this post-Christmas engagement season brings. You need to put up your prices BEFORE that flood of enquiries (and conversions hopefully) really starts. Once you have quoted and hooked the client in on a price – there’s little room for manoeuvre.

You can only put up your prices for existing clients if your current T and C’s allow for it – or the customer agrees (you really want to ask that question?)

New clients need your revised T and C’s with your new price structure NOW – and you must include it in their proposal for your services. Here’s a handy video from me on the timing of using your client contract and when you need to provide it.

You don’t have any???

Get yourself over here for the options for template T and Cs we have… and for bespoke solutions you can check us out here.

If your T and Cs need a general spruce up or a proper legal look over to ensure that you are good to go for the new decade we have a fixed fee service to help you and lots of tricks and tips for legal questions and conundrums on our FB page Your Legal Fairy Godmother – free membership at the moment, but the doors are closing before the wedding season kicks in proper, so join now to access great advice and our usual display of selfies and pics for our events, products and general travels through the wedding suppliers world.

Bring it on 2020.

My Blog’s mic drop 2019

I’ve spent my afternoon planning next year.

Looking at who is important, what is important and where we are going in the next 12 months.

Its been exciting to see the progress of the last year – SGOL’s new and improved template offer is, in no short measure, responsible for some of that! And the fabulous Chrissie of Black Hare Marketing – without whom, none of this is possible.

THANK YOU X

Its also exciting to see what’s already in the pipeline for next year…

We have training lined up with wedding suppliers, commercial network groups, GCSE students and creatives in Nottingham – it’s a diverse bunch! And there’s new products and collaborations coming soon too, to help with your risk management, a review of GDPR and a membership offer I think will be too good to miss.

If, like me , you are yearning for Friday 20th December (What? part timer…….editor) and the rest and recuperation that Christmas brings – gird your loins and lets do this for another working week, people. If you need some inspiration…..click here.

Then let’s rest and add ‘the undone’ to the ‘to do’ pile and raise a glass to the next 12 months.

Thank you for joining us on the SGOL blog, and a very Merry Christmas to you all

With love

Heather xx

…OUT

The Business Proposal Podcast – Bring out the dancing lobsters: as sponsored by Heather Stanford Gould

The Business Proposal Podcast – Bring out the dancing lobsters: as sponsored by me.

Looking to fill your ears with helpful brilliance as a wedding creative?

Want to hear how wedding creatives can support and help your business?

Get your lug ‘oles round The Business Proposal Podcast: New Season by Ellie Kime and Rachel Waring

Here’s their brand new episode –

Why it feels like your marketing efforts are failing….Join us as we toboggan down the slope of self awareness together, and discuss why your marketing efforts might be failing (despite you working really hard on them). It sounds like the most depressing episode ever, but actually we think it’s rather uplifting, and we hope you do too. Special guest stars include Adele, Cecilia the cat, and Ellie’s allergies.

And once you have absorbed and LOVED this, there’s so much fantastic material from seasons one and two as well – covering everything from Building Hype around your Brand, How to Set Up your Workspace, and Diversity and Inclusion in the wedding sector. So, there’s absolutely something for everyone.

Check Ellie and Rachel out at https://www.thebusinessproposalpodcast.com/

And you can find all the past episodes of this podcast  here.

Ellie says “The Business Proposal Podcast is a podcast for wedding creatives, by wedding creatives. We’re demystifying the wedding industry one episode at a time, providing support and advice for the industry as it’s a very unique one with its own set of challenges. This season we’re covering everything from trends to wedding fairs to marketing failures to the importance of community, and so much more. All with a giggle and a cuppa…hopefully!

Subscribe today to have something actually worth listening to on your daily commute or over a Sunday morning cuppa?

I am absolutely delighted to be partnering with this brilliant programme and hope you enjoy the content.

YouTube sensation …. legal advice videos for wedding suppliers

Yes – you heard it here first.

Stanford Gould Group have a new YouTube channel and you can subscribe to see our videos dealing with all sorts of legal and contractual issues for wedding suppliers.

So, what content is there already available on this channel?

We have posted some videos about our favourite subject, GDPR of course, and there’s plenty of reading materials on this blog too – and there’s a video to view about why you need a client contract – also you can read this blog.

If you have a client contract – do you use it right? Otherwise it becomes a useless expensive piece of paper – or in this day and age more likely a PDF attachment you never use. There’s a video on the You Tube channel to view about that too.

Do you work in collaboration with other suppliers – do you know what your contractual rights and obligations are in those arrangements. There are 4 videos to watch about working collaboratively – so maybe viewing them is your homework for the week.

We would love some feedback from you on the channel and if you have a request for a video topic – let us know?

Wedding suppliers :Working on the business, not in the business

This week I’ve taken a holiday. Its August. The sun was (!!) shining. The pace has dropped. The demands are lessened. But I’m still working. You hear the phrase ‘working on the business’ regularly, but I’m not sure wedding suppliers really know and understand what that is, and how important it can be when you work alone.

Working on the business – so, what is it? Coaches and mentors use this expression a lot, and it can be hi -viz on social media too. For me, its about turning on the ‘out of office’ and stopping the distractions of email and telephone calls (and social media posting too!!) and spending some time thinking, writing, dreaming about what you do. What works well ? What could be better? What do you loath and detest? Note down some positives, draw and design (for me, visuals are everything, so scribbling and doodling really work well) identify some changes you need to make, and then create a plan to deal with SOME, not all, of these musings.

…whilst consuming large quantities of caffeine…

I say this because ‘thinking’…and I mean properly applying your mind to a question without spinning all the other usual plates you have on the go….(easy said than…..editor) can generate an awful lot of activity and the last thing you need after the thought process is paralysis in actioning any of it.

Chose one thing to change and do it. That might be the easiest thing, or it might be the biggest thing, but just chose something and make a change.

If you are really struggling to see the wood from the trees, I recommend having a chat with a great coach or mentor, ( I know a few!) maybe someone from your sector, or some other business owner who ‘gets it’ and can help you through the thinking, to some actions. There are also some great books and planning journals if you like that sort of thing – see this earlier blog for inspiration.

So for SGOL, I have been working on new templates for new suppliers…new icons and logos for the website and new packages and prices to help more of you lovely lot get organised contractually – bookmark our page and then watch this space for September…

Happy contemplating, people.