What can we expect from the next few months as couples start to get back into planning their dream day…will things be different? I’ve been pondering the future of wedding suppliers’ contracts, and have some thoughts to share!
Wedding Suppliers’ Contracts Will Be Under More Scrutiny Than Ever – Are You Ready?
It’s great to see new couples venturing back into the world of wedding fairs, open days, and enquiries as planning ‘post-Covid’ gets going again. I think it’s fair to assume there will be far more scrutiny of your Terms and Conditions – your client contracts – than ever before. I think it will be commonplace for customers to challenge your terms and seek clarification and guidance about what they say and why some provisions are in there. Are you prepared for that sort of challenge and explanation?
Do you understand your own contract?
Firstly, before you give your terms to a customer – do you understand them? Do you know how they work and why the particular clauses are in there? You might not explain it to them as a lawyer would, but at the basic level, do you know why they are in your contract and what issues they are there to deal with? If not – why not? In my opinion, you have no business sending something for someone to agree that you don’t understand yourself.
Secondly, how do you handle questions? The future of wedding suppliers’ contracts may mean you have to respond to requests for amendments. I would advise not amending your standard terms unless you absolutely have to – you will quickly lose track of what you have changed and when, and that’s always dangerous. Standard terms are exactly that – standard! If you went onto a website to buy tickets from a venue for a musical performance for example, and they were sold subject to their standard T and C’s, you wouldn’t dream of calling the seller and renegotiating the terms. In essence, you may need to think about your contracts in a similar way.
The Future Of Wedding Suppliers Contracts – Your Liability Is Not Negotiable!
Negotiations about price and what is included in the services are to be expected but negotiations about the limits of your liability, for example, are in my view not to be entertained. You may have to say no to some business as a result if you believe your terms are robust and fair.
Clarity On Another ‘Covid’ Situation
The ‘biggie’ will be folk seeking clarity on another Covid situation arising and what you will do in that instance. Your terms should not need specific Covid referenced clauses (I actively avoid them) but should have clear terms about postponements and cancellation. You can see this handy blog for some of the issues to consider here.
They should also have a force majeure clause of some sort that deals with weddings that cannot progress because of some sort of third party intervention that was out of the parties control, but again rarely will you need to have a clause that is specific to Covid (or even any other pandemic) and my advice at the moment is to keep such clauses general.
We all await a court case, or a further missive from the CMA to clarify…
Editor’s Note: Look out for our free download coming soon in the next month or so to help you with your FM clauses revamp, which will be available to all, whether you have previously purchased a contract or template from us or not.