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Feb. 15, 2023

Importance of Reading and Understanding Your Vendor Contracts

This episode focuses on the importance of reviewing contracts carefully before signing them. While it may be tempting to just scroll down and sign, it is important to take the time to read and understand the terms of the contract. Michael Gaddie, Sharon Rumsey and Kristina Stubblefield noted that vendors often have things included and not included in their contracts. They discussed that importance of asking questions about anything that is unclear. Michael shared that he goes through his entire contract with potential clients at the consultation, which Sharon mentioned she loves. Michael mentioned specific details of his contracts, such as not sending pictures of flowers. 

Ultimately, it is in the best interest of the couple to take the time to read and review the contract. They encouraged couples to look for details such as what is supplied, what is not supplied, and potential due dates. They agreed that it is important to read contracts carefully to avoid potential issues on the wedding day.


 00:03:00 Reviewing Vendor Contracts and Asking Questions
 00:05:00 The Importance of Reading Contracts Carefully Before Signing
 00:07:00 Understanding Venue Policies and Cancellation Policies
 00:14:00 Discussion on Vendor Requirements for Weddings
 00:18:00 Discussion on Wedding Planning Logistics and Contract Considerations
 00:20:00 Discussion on Contract Amendments and Date Changes

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Kristina Stubblefield

Michael Gaddie, Lloyd's Florist

Sharon Rumsey, A Perfect Plan Events
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Kristina Stubblefield: [00:00:00] Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Ring The Bling and All The Things. Now we have episodes that are longer because you know Sharon runs with the topic. Then we also have our shorter topics, and this may be a shorter episode, but I think it's going to be one of the most important. It's crazy important, very important.

We cannot emphasize that enough, and it has to do with contracts. And the thing about it that I'll start off by saying is we're all guilty of it. I mean, you scroll down through Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yep. I'm gonna sign, this is one of those instances, you definitely shouldn't do that. And although we probably are not gonna talk about every different type of vendor today, because contracts are probably even more detailed for different types of vendors or a venue.

I think [00:01:00] what we want you to take away from this episode is, it is well worth the time for you and maybe your significant other to review it 

Michael Gaddie: Correct. 

Kristina Stubblefield: And, although it may be a few pages long, it is in your best interest to do so. Now, I think, Sharon, where we can start with this is number one, if you have a wedding planner, I would think they would need or should, whatever that right wording is, review that with you or in addition to, just to make sure your bases are covered. 

Sharon Rumsey: I of course want my clients to read the contract themselves and review it themselves. I've had clients that are attorneys. They know more about contracts than I do, so of course I want them to read it themselves. But if you do have a wedding planner, I strongly encourage you to allow your planner to review the contract before you sign it, just because there are certain things we're trained to look for.

I know one [00:02:00] thing that pops up just right now, a quick thought is, when a contract says linens included at a venue. Most of the time that's lap length linens and brides don't want lap length linens. So when they put the measurement of that linen on there, most brides and grooms, they don't know that that's a lap length linen.

But I can see that measurement and I know instantly that's not a linen that's gonna go to the floor. So just little things like that that I'm, that I just look for, I know to look for. So yes, if you have a planner, it's part of our service. You might as well use it. I would have your planner review your contracts.

Kristina Stubblefield: So one thing you just said, I'm sorry, Mike. One thing you just said there about Included, that made me think, I'm assuming some vendors, and I'm not a big fan of that word, but assuming some vendors have things that are included, and are not included. 

Sharon Rumsey: Every vendor has things that are and are not included 

Kristina Stubblefield: [00:03:00] In most contracts if they don't do something, it's normally listed in the contracts. These are not included. 

Sharon Rumsey: My contract, and I can only speak for my own business. Clearly states it is understood the planner will not, and then it lists everything. That is just a hard no for me. 

Kristina Stubblefield: Well, and the other thing I wanna share with what you talked about, if there's something you don't understand, or you question, highlight that, make a note of it, and get those questions answered before you sign on the dotted line. I don't know of any problem of asking questions 

Sharon Rumsey: for sure 

Kristina Stubblefield: about things that are in contract. 

Michael Gaddie: Ask questions, ask as many as questions as you want. I'm gonna bring my contract up for an example. Um, you know, yes, usually, and I'm going back to what Sharon said. Sharon said, you know, you, she wants to look over it.

Sharon knows my contract front and back. Okay, but over the years, I have noticed that someone will book with us or book with me the night [00:04:00] of the consultation, and I go through the whole contract with them,

Sharon Rumsey: I love that you do that. 

Michael Gaddie: So I'm reading it to them and then they automatically sign it. But I would highly encourage you to take that contract home and read it again because you're there you're excited about your flowers. You love what was presented to you. You've booked with me, but you kind of forgot about all the little details that come with 

Sharon Rumsey: your head still in all pretty 

Michael Gaddie: exactly 

Sharon Rumsey: of the flowers and not the logistics of the contract. 

Michael Gaddie: And there's so many things on my contract, such as we don't take pictures of your bouquet and send it to you. You have that option to come to see it the day before. And that's the number one thing that brides asked me the week of the wedding. I can't come in, so can you text me a picture or video? Well, that's number two on my list, that we do not do that. And I hate to say no, but there's comes a time when you're dealing with 200 plus weddings a year.

You've [00:05:00] gotta draw a line. Not that I'm being mean, it's just that pictures of flowers especially does not come across 

Sharon Rumsey: right 

Michael Gaddie: like they do. 

Sharon Rumsey: Color can be in person 

Michael Gaddie: can be different and everything. Another thing is due dates. You know, make sure you know what the due date is. 

Sharon Rumsey: Yes

Michael Gaddie: ours is three weeks out. And then usually to be honest with you. My staff is calling you the three weeks out. And I'm not saying you have to pay, you know, right then, but I mean, at least follow the contract. There are so many things and other vendors, DJs, and everything, look and see maybe this is what they supply. This is what they don't supply. Don't assume that just because they're a dj, that they're gonna have lighting above their dj stand at your reception. Just because you always see that, that doesn't mean it's always gonna be there. When it comes to contracts, it's so important. You might as well go ahead and get the black and white out of the way at the beginning and not wait till three days before the wedding, oh, I gotta pull my [00:06:00] contract out.

Sharon Rumsey: Yeah, 

Michael Gaddie: that's not included. 

Sharon Rumsey: I think with each vendor type, there's certain things you wanna look for, but some of the just generic biggies that I would look for as a planner is hours. If your reception's four hours long and your ceremonies an hour and you've hired your DJ for three hours, you have a problem.

Yeah. So you wanna look at hours with a venue. You wanna look at venue access hours. How long do you have that venue 

Michael Gaddie: well, let's talk about that because vendors, that's a big thing. If you have that venue from two to midnight and you have got a setup that's gonna take your event planner or your florist or whoever it may be, four hours to set up.

Sharon Rumsey: You've got a problem, 

Michael Gaddie: you've got a problem. Don't assume that you're gonna be able to get there at nine o'clock in the morning. 

Sharon Rumsey: Cause most venues, you can't.

Michael Gaddie: you cannot do that. I think that's one of the biggest things we run into. 

Sharon Rumsey: I also really, really recommend that you look at add-ons. You know, again, what [00:07:00] comes with and what's gonna be additional money. I really, really recommend that you understand the cancellation policy. Cancellation is big weddings get canceled or postponed sometimes, you know, God forbid, but they do. Um, what's that vendor's policy? Where are you gonna be once you've paid that deposit or retainer?

Where are you gonna be with that? Um, so I think that's really important. And I also think that liability is important. A lot of venues require you to have a liability policy yourself for that event, that's an additional expense. So you just kind of all those little ins and outs, you know, do they have open vendor policies or are they going to hold you to a list of their vendors?

Do those vendors have to be licensed and insured? I had a client this past year, she was getting married at a venue that had an open vendor. But it required that any consumable [00:08:00] food be prepared in a commercial kitchen by a licensed and insured professional. They wanted their aunt to make their wedding cake.

Their aunt was their aunt. She was not a professional baker. She didn't have a commercial kitchen. They didn't realize the contract said that, and it became kind of a booger. So I think just knowing all those little things. 

Michael Gaddie: Well, one of the things on my contract, and this is a big thing, is there's different stages that you can get so much money back and so on. But one of my thing is no matter how, say you booked your wedding with us today and then, and your wedding's in June of next year, but then when it comes to March, something happens and you cancel. Like you said, things happen all the. But on my contract, anything that you have rented such as hard goods, such as candelabras, stands, vases, any candles. 

Sharon Rumsey: Arches, 

Michael Gaddie: Arches, all that, [00:09:00] you are still responsible for that. And I want to talk about this because people don't understand, but if you booked your wedding today, I have marked all that off my list for a complete year. For that date, that it's not available day. And then now it's all of a sudden it is available. Well, now that, but it's too late weekend. But now that weekend is already booked, so keep in mind what the vendor has to go through to, to let that contract go.

Sharon Rumsey: I run into the same thing with if a client has to cancel for me, you know, we're six months out. Well, I've probably already worked six months on your wedding. You know, I've helped you get your vendors. I've done a lot of legwork and ground work for your wedding, and clients don't understand why I can't refund everything, but I have to be paid for the work already put in as well as a date that has off my calendar that I probably can't rebook, because I book my clients so far out. So I do think kind of seeing the vendor side of the [00:10:00] contract is super important.

Michael Gaddie: Well, and that's why contracts are so important because of details like this. Not that we want you to cancel your wedding. Not that we even have to go back to that contract cause we want it to be as smooth as possible. But just keep in mind when it comes to something that comes up like that, that's the reason that contract is there. 

Sharon Rumsey: Something I wanted to touch on just really quickly, I just had added to my contract. Um, I don't, I don't remember if you have one or not, but mine, because there's not just me, but I have a team of people in there working that wedding that are part of A Perfect Plan Events and we just added a harassment and respect clause to our contract that gives us the ability to pull out and cease services if we feel like.

Myself or anyone on my team is, it's never happened. I don't anticipate it happening, but I have known wedding planners that got in a [00:11:00] predicament where they felt unsafe or they felt, that their team was being treated poorly. And I think that it's important that a lot to know that a lot of vendors now are adding this clause, because I think with everything that's happened over the last three years in wedding world, people are just uptight and wound. What we're not gonna do is treat my staff poorly. 

Michael Gaddie: Sure. 

Sharon Rumsey: So I think that contracts go both ways. They protect us as, as businesses. And they also are made not just to protect us, but they protect the client. The client knows what's expected. They know what we, it's spelled out. Every service that I'm gonna offer is spelled out on my contract. They know what they're purchasing and it's someplace for us all to revisit if there's a question. 

Kristina Stubblefield: So I was gonna say something you know, when I was in the wedding industry years ago, that was in the, the DJ lane with a DJ business.

And [00:12:00] one of the things is outside, you know, and equipment not being outside, you know, plan Bs, things like that. I know in our area there, there's even been, it seems a trend with outside ceremonies and things like that happening. 

Sharon Rumsey: Oh, yeah. 

Kristina Stubblefield: And reviewing that part of the contract. Does it have to be a covered area? All the things that go along, and I'm not just saying from a DJ standpoint, a band 

Michael Gaddie: orchestra

Sharon Rumsey: When you say band that sends off 50 light bulbs to me because you need to know, the power requirements. I've had bands that had a problem because they plug it in a hotel and they blow a fuse. That all needs to be spelled out, and we all need to know where we are so that it's not on wedding day. And the other thing I would say, and Mike touched on it as well, is your due dates. So when you as a couple, review that contract and it says your numbers are due to the [00:13:00] caterer 28 days before the wedding. That needs to be put in Google calendar. That needs to be put on your kitchen calendar. That needs to be everywhere. 

Kristina Stubblefield: Those aren't suggestions they have to order food in. There's a lot happening 

Sharon Rumsey: with Mike, you know, and he's taught me this. Flowers have to be ordered three weeks out for him to make sure that he has what he needs to create your vision.

So as a planner, when I say we sign with Lloyd's Florist, I'm gonna go home that night. And then in aisle planner, I'm gonna put a reminder numbers due to Lloyd's Florist. So that the couple gets an email and I get an email. Those are important things, and missing those or skipping those can mess up your wedding.

Kristina Stubblefield: And I like what you just said there. If you don't have a wedding planner involved using a tool like Google Calendar or whatever you use. 

Sharon Rumsey: Set a reminder of your phone. Siri, remind me numbers due to Lloyd's Florist on this state. 

Kristina Stubblefield: Absolutely. 

Michael Gaddie: So the last thing I've added to my contracting, contracts can grow over you.

Sharon Rumsey: They evolve. 

Michael Gaddie: Every time you come up with [00:14:00] 

Sharon Rumsey: a situation. 

Michael Gaddie: A situation, it's gonna be added. Because we have learned as vendors that we've gotta fix this. I was having a big, and I had some couples and moms get upset about this, but I have added that if you tell me to be at a venue at 12 o'clock to pick up your product that night and you've added another hour and then that hour passes and you've added another hour, well, then there's a charge for that because you're keeping your staff on. I've got a staff of three or four that I'm paying and I've got that time allotted, but you've added a whole another hour on, that's a whole another hour for four more people.

Sharon Rumsey: And I'm the same way. I pay my wedding day team by the hour. So if you come up to me and say, Hey, we wanna add on an hour, that's great, but you've just cost me another a hundred bucks. 

Kristina Stubblefield: Okay. But let's also review that contract. Is adding time even an option? I'm gonna be honest. I've seen in some it's not an option.

Sharon Rumsey: For me it is, but every vendor has their own [00:15:00] contract 

Kristina Stubblefield: and we are talking about this at a high level here. You know, because every contract is different, and you need to do your own research. If there's clauses you don't understand. If there's things you don't understand and you don't get a clear answer from the vendor, you need to figure out what it is you need to do.

Sharon Rumsey: One of the other things I think, um, couples need to really look at, and that I always look at, is my contract. It says that as your wedding planner, I require the following vendors to be licensed and insured professionals. Florist, catering and dj because that's where my liability's gonna fall. So I think knowing those things as well, because if you hire Mike to be your florist and your venue requires license and insurance and he doesn't have it, you're in trouble. So I think just knowing those vendor requirements is very important 

Kristina Stubblefield: aslo. 

And I really feel like we talk a lot about it. It really starts at the venue. [00:16:00] You really need to know the do's, don'ts, and I don't even mean that. I mean, what is allowed and what isn't allowed, to be able. Can you have a band at certain venues?

And I'm saying that, but you know, can you have, a chocolate fountain? I'm just giving examples. 

Sharon Rumsey: Well, there are a lot of venues too that are in residential areas. What time does the music have to stop? 

Michael Gaddie: Exactly.

Sharon Rumsey: You know, that's because you're gonna tell everybody your reception's over at 11, but music has to stop at 10.

Kristina Stubblefield: Well, you also talked about the cutoff time. We've dealt with this recently about the setup and tear down time of a band. You know, some places you only get so much time to get the hell out at the end of the night. 

Sharon Rumsey: Most places will offer you to buy more time and that's fine. But again, that's, you've got to figure that in when you're choosing that venue, that's an added expense versus a venue you would have all day. 

Michael Gaddie: But you've gotta keep in mind too, that if. There's one, [00:17:00] uh, place in Louisville that that will let you add on time. But just because you've made the decision to add on time there, you've gotta think about the big picture, your who's involved, your band, your dj, your floor.

Sharon Rumsey: The big one, the bar. 

Michael Gaddie: The bar 

Sharon Rumsey: you can add on hours, but if that bar, if that bar closes, they're going home. 

Kristina Stubblefield: I think the point of this is, to really think about your entire vision. And if you think that, okay, we're think we're ending at 10, we might decide like how, just making sure you keep track who allows that, who doesn't allow it? And that's what it comes back to, is what we started with. 

Sharon Rumsey: Not to toot my horn, but if there were ever, ever a reason to get a wedding planner, this is a good one. Because we are taught and educated to look at the whole day. I can't have the caterer and the floors both unloading through the same door at the same time.

This is exactly the same thing. When I'm looking at a venue [00:18:00] contract, I need to know what time is, can I turn off music? Well, then I have to turn off dj, I have to turn off bar. You know, so just, or if you can't, if a wedding planner's not in budget, someone. To help you look at all these logistics 

Kristina Stubblefield: and, and it may even need to be something that, a person that is a specialist in that field, I'm sure there are times that an attorney might need to look at something and we are not here to say what you should and shouldn't do.

Our advice is just read it thoroughly if you don't understand something, get the answers, and 

Michael Gaddie: that's correct. 

Kristina Stubblefield: We don't know exactly where you will need to go to get those answers, but before you assign on the dotted line, just make sure you understand. 

Sharon Rumsey: One thing to add, and I know we're trying to wrap up, but one thing that just popped into mind is don't ask a vendor to change their contract. I've been asked before, well, can you take this off or can you take this that off? And No, no. [00:19:00] My contract was written by an attorney for a reason. 

Kristina Stubblefield: So one thing I will, and yes, we are wrapping up this episode.

Sharon Rumsey: I know, Mike already gave me the look. 

Kristina Stubblefield: One thing I would ask though is if there's a change, a major change, a date change, a pillar change, I would call that in an event. Is that a new contract? 

Sharon Rumsey: Depends on what the

Kristina Stubblefield: now, and this is vendor specific. Like this isn't what you all say. Well, if there's an amendment, I'm sure there is something that the vendor as well as the engaged couples should have something in writing 

Sharon Rumsey: for me, if the date changes, I do a contract amendment.

Michael Gaddie: That's what I like about you because then that they send us and then we just sign it and they sign it, and then we just. 

Kristina Stubblefield: Do you do an amended contract of a date change?

Michael Gaddie: Not if they, but you have something in writing. Yes, we have some, they have to email me and say that this date has been changed and that will go on their contract and then we'll change the date. But everything else will stay the [00:20:00] same. 

Kristina Stubblefield: And I think that's a good suggestion to people if you're making a change and your vendors you're using do not do amended contracts, at least getting something in writing, in email, confirming those changes in your contract, 

Sharon Rumsey: well what I do, it's a very simple amendment. If a client is using me and they have to change their date, and unfortunately I got very good at this during the word we don't pronounce or we don't say, but I would send it out to every vendor and I would say, this is our new date.

Your signature on this agreement assures continuation of same services and availability. Anybody can write that and send that out to their vendors, just so you have something in writing that you made them aware of your new date and that what they've done for you or what they had promised to do for you in your previous contract will continue on. 

Kristina Stubblefield: Yeah. And I'm sure we could have another episode about this, I know that I said it a while ago, but [00:21:00] that I think is what all three of us want, is you to understand that you should take the time to read it. And Mike, I love what you mentioned about how you go through it with him and read it.

Sharon Rumsey: He does such a good job. 

Kristina Stubblefield: they can ask questions then, but you, even said, still go home and read it and if there's questions. But the other thing is get the answers. If there's something in there you don't understand. So we'd love your feedback. Even if you're a vendor listening and you want to share something with us that maybe we hadn't thought about, please just go to our website and send us a message or send us a DM on social media, and we hope that you already subscribe either on your favorite podcast platform or on YouTube. So with that

Sharon Rumsey: and we would love for you to go on and leave us a glowing five star review. 

Kristina Stubblefield: She's so good at saying that 

Michael Gaddie: she is.

Sharon Rumsey: I do love a good review. 

Kristina Stubblefield: All right, until next time. See ya.