• by Devyn

5 Secrets Behind Reviewing Contracts

Right after you're engaged i’m sure you are ready to jump right into planning + booking your vendors, which is amazing! However, I want to remind you to not let your excitement cloud your judgment. It is so easy to book the first vendors you inquire with, which is okay! Just be sure that you aren’t forgetting to review their contracts closely before signing on that dotted line!

Read It + Read It Again!

This may sound like an easy, simple step. However, you’d be surprised at how many brides look to make sure their date is correct then scroll to the last page and sign off! I will be honest with you, they can seem overwhelming. That is why I recommend reviewing the contract briefly, taking a step away and coming back to it with a clear mind and review with a fine tooth comb!

Hidden Fees

If you are not used to reviewing wedding contracts then you most likely won't realize that there are some fees that are added into the fine print that weren’t pointed out on the packages + proposals that you originally reviewed. Items to look for -

  1. If your price per person states “$50pp ++” the “++” means plus tax plus gratuity. Be sure to have in your contract exactly what percentages are for tax as well as gratuity.

  2. “Service Charge” “Admin Fee” are other phrases to be looking for when reviewing contracts. In other terms it basically means the cost of doing business. Don’t be afraid to ask your venue/vendor for a break down. I’ve seen this fee get up to 23% here in Massachusetts. And it is important to note this fee does not go towards servers gratuity, typically 18%. So now we are at $50pp + 7% tax + 18% grat. + 23% admin fee bringing us closer to $80pp!

  3. “Set up fees” “Tear down fees” are other hidden costs to look for as well!

Cancellation Policy (Force Majeure)

Force Majeure is defined as “unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.” Under this section you typically see the following listed - subject to acts of God, war, government regulations, disaster, strikes, civil orders. However, post COVID-19 you want to be sure Endemic, Epidemic, Pandemic + Travel Restrictions are added to cover yourselves if we have something like this again in the future!

Preferred Vendors

When you are venue shopping be sure to see if the venue requires you to use vendors that are on their preferred vendor list! You don’t want to sign on the dotted line and realize that you can’t use your dream photographer because she/he is not on their list!

Get EVERYTHING in Writing

If you take any advice from this post, PLEASE be sure to get everything in writing! If you had a phone call with a venue/vendor to talk about your big day be sure to follow up with an email outlining the points you discussed on the phone. This way you are able to ask them to confirm what was being promised on your call and you'll have this for your records to look back on if need be in the future!


Stay positive, you've got this! Be sure to reach out with any questions, we are here to help!


Devyn, Emerald Events