It can be super-exciting to finally find your wedding vendor team. All that’s left to do is sign the wedding contract—should be easy, right? Not necessarily. A wedding contract with a vendor is a legally binding document, and may be long and kind of confusing, potentially with jargon you’d need a dictionary to decipher. You might feel a bit overwhelmed, and therefore tempted just to sign the paperwork quickly without reading the fine print. Not a great idea, if you ask us. So how’s a non-lawyer supposed to figure out the intricacies of a wedding contract?
Here’s a glossary of important wedding contract words and phrases you need to know.
“Hold harmless” and “indemnification”
You may see this clause in some wedding contracts, particularly for venues. It basically means that one party (probably the venue or vendor) is not legally liable if something goes wrong during your event. For example, if a guest falls down the steps at your wedding and wants to file a lawsuit, the hold harmless may mean that you, not the venue, are responsible. “These terms and phrases can seem very scary, but it is my understanding that essentially these clauses in a contract are meant to limit responsibility and avoid certain outcomes if anything should go wrong,” says Leanne Valdes of You Name It Events in Geneva, Illinois. “The point is mutual protection and clarification before you begin working together.” If you feel uncomfortable with this clause, talk to your venue or seek help from a lawyer.
“Scope of services”
What exactly is this particular vendor responsible for? A wedding contract should clearly outline everything that’s included in a package—and if there’s something unexpected that’s not included, it’s your responsibility to ask your vendor about it before signing the contract. For some vendors, like florists and caterers, you might not have solidified every flower in your bouquet or every dish you’ll serve, and that’s okay (your contract will likely include a general scope of services with a more specific plan to come)—but for other vendors, like DJs or photographers, this should be more clearly spelled out in a contract.