Why everybody wants your “D”
I’m talking about wedding deposits. I don’t know about you, but handing over $500 to a complete stranger in a Panera can be a little unsettling. Or maybe that’s just a normal thing for you… I ain’t judging.
As a wedding planner I personally understand the need for the deposit fee as I, like many other vendors, have been “burned” before. If we turn someone away from a date that we believe to be booked and that couple decides at a later time that they no longer wish to use our services, well not only are we out the money we would have earned from that event, but we are also unlikely to book that late in the game with another couple. This is widely regarded as a ‘dick move’ and should be avoided for karmic reasons. The deposit is there to protect both parties. You want to have money down, in addition to a signed and executed contract, to cover yourself as the wedding date nears. Always pay by check or credit card for your record keeping, if it has to be by check make sure to get a receipt.
So now that you know why everyone wants the D, let’s talk about what you can do to ensure you’re protected.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK– With the copious amount of wedding vendor sites like theKnot and WeddingWire there is absolutely no reason for you to get hustled by an illegitimate company. Much like a user on Tinder or Bumble, you have the power to arbitrarily decide who appeals to you from the comfort of your couch without any chance of hurting anyone’s feelings. Read their reviews, look at their portfolios and use your best judgment.
KEEP IT CASUAL – Meet with multiple vendors to ensure that you feel that this person/company is trustworthy, a good fit and can provide a quality product or service. This especially goes for photographers. I once had a photographer get irritated with me because she didn’t understand why I wanted to have my clients meet with her before booking. Her work is amazing, and she is highly sought after, but if you don’t get along with your photographer that is a big deal. This is the person with whom your wedding party will spend the majority of their day. If the photographer’s personality doesn’t fit with your crew then the photos won’t be as great as the energy of the group will not be as positive and fun.
MAKE IT OFFICIAL – Contracts can be a little daunting if you have never reviewed one before. They are there to protect both parties so take a deep breath and read through it. Make sure that they include the Who, What, When, Where and Why of your event. I can’t tell you how many times a contract has been sent to me for a client to sign and the services aren’t listed, or the venue isn’t mentioned or the time is shown even though you don’t have the exact time yet. If there is a time for services listed and you do not have any idea what the start/end time will be, have them put it in as TBD and once you have the times ask for an amended/updated contract. As you read though remember that you are the client and their job is to help you. If you are unsure what something means, ask. If something makes you uncomfortable or seems unnecessary ask that it be removed. Here’s a little secret, wedding vendors aren’t lawyers and many just downloaded the first contract template they found online. This means that asking for a modification will most times get the nod without much fanfare.
BE EXTRA SAFE – If you want to be extra safe then you can get “Special Event Coverage”. This can cover almost any potential issue with your event, from cancellation to property damage. If you have home insurance, or if your parents do, you can see if you can go through that provider and have it written as a rider to the existing policy. If this is not an option then check out Wedsafe.com or Wedsure.com for coverage. For all of my Virtual Planning Clients you can read more about this in the portal as well as read all about non-refundable deposits and when that is a red flag.
For those of you interested in having monthly phone calls with a real professional planner to discuss your event, step-by-step instructions on how to plan every aspect of your wedding and amazing spreadsheets that make everything super easy check out our Virtual Plans.