Read and understand your venue contract

Read and understand your venue contract

Dear bride, finding a venue that you fall in love with is a very pleasant moment and sometimes not easy.  Getting in contact with the events manager and getting all the administration sorted to sign that contract normally happens very fast.  You may be told that you might be standing in line with someone else going for the same date.  So first come first serve applies.  You make sure you get that venue for the date.  That is your date at that venue.  You want and need to get married right there.

How many of you know what you are signing and how many of you have read your contract thoroughly.  And how many of you understood what you read?  Did you have a proper open discussion with your events manager?  Was the events manager professional and forthcoming about certain clauses that everybody might miss?  Were they knowledgeable about the contract?

This isn’t just a standard contract.  This is a facility that cost the owner a lot of money and they have rules about it.  They want to keep it in a good condition that every bride will enjoy and it will have maintenance issues after every wedding perhaps.  Or they want to protect certain things or areas from certain types of décor and things that vendors do.  They would want to renovate it and maybe change it sometime to make it more attractive and change the status level of the venue.  They might change the contract without your notice.  They might change or increase the fees without giving you notice.

No, not every venue’s contract is the same.  There are top class venues and then there are medium class venues and other.  Each venue will have their own set of rules and some have a lot of rules.  These rules apply to your decorator and also to you.  You should understand this contract and you should also have to inform your vendors of any special rules.

Last year we decorated at this top class venue.  We have worked nicely together with our clients until I got an email from the events manager, stating that I have to be present all the time and cannot only do the on-the-day co-ordination and set-up.  Their venue contract states that the couple is obliged to appoint someone to be present the evening as well.  Just a couple of weeks before the wedding, these were extra unforeseen costs that put them on the spot.  By then I had been 8 years in this industry, and I never have I come across something like this.  As a wedding co-ordinator, decorator and florist, I realised that there is much to learn out there still and you will never stop learning.

Our industry has changed a lot in the last 10 years and this industry has become very serious and professional.  So I had to contract email to me.  I could not believe that tight and serious contract.  I then realised that brides and grooms to be, don’t read, don’t understand and don’t grasp that venues can be very strict about this agreement and certain rules.  This venue also asked for certified electricians and a certificate to be presented if you hang any electrical elements.  Well it does make sense, if you might burn their venue down because of an electrical fire.    Most venues or shall I say the events co-ordinators are not worried about this.  But it can cause a lot of problems for the vendor and the bridal couple of this happens.

I have also now come across another issue, different venue, where my client needs to pay an extra fee if we set-up the day before the wedding.  Most venues do not mind if you set-up the day before.  Let’s face it, not every brides wedding décor and flowers are standard.  Some have some elaborate taste and this takes time to co-ordinate and style.  Again, my bride did not see this clause, and nor was this emphasized once over months of dealing with her and nor did the events manager mention it in any meeting.  She has left the venue in the last month without sending out an email to brides and the new people are following the contract rules / clauses closely.

So what do we learn from this?  Bridal couples need to read and understand a venues contract before booking a venue.  If you are not able to understand legal terms, then get someone to read it on your behalf that understands legal jargon before you agree to anything with a signature.  It is not the problem of events co-ordinators that you promptly signed a contract and not read it properly or that you did not ask questions.

So before your favourite venue becomes your nightmare, do take the time and become knowledgeable about all the hidden clauses that states extra costs or states unreasonable clauses on timeless and any other that might not be what you want it to be.

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