One of the questions we hear every once in a while (particularly from parents) is, “Why do we have to pay vendors the full amount of the contract prior to the wedding? How do I know that, if I pay them ahead of time, they will deliver?” Paying vendors in full before the wedding is a practice that has come into play for two reasons.
First, many wedding vendors have been burned in the past when the bride and groom leave their final bill unpaid. Sometimes the couple in question never intended to pay the vendor; sometimes, good intentions lose out to the reality of the wedding budget. No one wants to be left holding the check if the money runs out early. Once a vendor has been caught in this trap, they tend to shift to requiring payment in full in advance of the wedding day.
Second, quite a few of your vendors will do the majority of their work (and accrue most of their expenses) prior to your wedding. The florist will have to order his or her inventory two to four weeks in advance of your wedding. While you see their work for the first time on your wedding day, the florists have paid for their materials and perform their labor before that. This is also true of a wedding planner. For us, the actual work we do on a wedding day is perhaps 4% of the total work we do for a couple who hires us for full service planning.
There are some vendors that may be open to negotiation on this point, so you should broach this subject before you sign their contract. Some vendors who might be flexible are DJs, photographers and videographers. For the last two, you may be able to ask for a post-wedding final payment, pending delivery of photos or the wedding video. When you’re negotiating on this point, though, take care to assure your vendors that you do not doubt their professionalism. These folks take pride in their work. Belittling their business sense will get you nowhere. Instead, focus on how this will affect your financial planning for the big event, and see who is willing to work with you on this point.
One of the responsibilities of a wedding planner is to recommend trustworthy vendors who they have seen “deliver the goods”. Wedding planners meet and interview many, many vendors before finding a core group of professionals that we trust and rely on to deliver top notch services within your budget. Why do all the research, when we already have for you? Make sure your wedding planner has a great reputation and their team of vendors will, too!
For help with your vendors or etiquette advice contact us!