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The Other Pre-nuptial Agreements

You¡¦ve heard the phrase, ¡§Get it in writing.¡¨ You¡¦ll want to take this to heart for the pre-nuptial agreements required as you plan your wedding. I¡¦m not referring to the pre-nuptial agreement you may or may not have with your beloved (that¡¦s a different topic) but to those between you and the vendors supplying the critical services that can make your day a dream come true. . .or a nightmare best forgotten.

Some women get so swept up in the fantasy aspects of planning their weddings that they overlook the fact that for the wedding vendors supplying the services, this is business as usual. And business means contracts, or it should.

The vendors with whom you¡¦re doing the business of your
wedding (catering, flowers, photography, etc.) should provide you with written contracts specifying everything they will (and will not) supply. If the vendor provides such a contract, it¡¦s your responsibility to review every line. Consider not just what it says, but what it doesn¡¦t say. Are there aspects of what you think of as this vendor¡¦s service that aren¡¦t reflected in the written contract?

Imagine your wedding minute-by-minute, one vendor at a time. Let¡¦s use the florist as an example. What¡¦s the first thing you picture her providing? Is this on the day of your wedding or some time prior to the event? Does she deliver flowers to the door and leave? Does she have a crew of six spend two hours draping tulle around the bandstand and weaving tea roses through it? Is her crew responsible for getting the boutonnieres to each groomsman or just for leaving them in a box for someone else to distribute? Where and with whom will they leave the box?
Does the contract say ¡§six crew members¡¨? Does it specify ¡§two hours¡¨ spent decorating or do you (or your designee) get final approval of when the process has been completed? Think everything through, then make sure that what you want is written down.

Chances are it won¡¦t be. Most vendors, if they provide a written contract at all, use a standard form that covers just the basics of what they¡¦re obligated to provide. Anything beyond the basics, vendors are likely to discuss with you but not write down. That¡¦s when it¡¦s time for you to take responsibility for your own wedding and write a letter.

You¡¦d be surprised how often people can participate in the same conversation and yet come away with differing impressions of what was said. To benefit both you and the vendor, follow up each conversation in which substantive decisions were reached with a letter.

Your written summary helps you to mentally review the conversation, elaborate on points you think need clarification, and provide specifics about your expectations. This results in less confusion on both sides and greatly increases the likelihood that the end result will please both you and your vendor.

The following is a bare-bones example of the kind of letter you should write to your vendors. Note that it includes
„h A list of everything you¡¦ve agreed to pay for and the price (including a Total Price)
„h A list of everything the vendor provides free of charge
„h A timetable outlining what you expect the vendor to provide and when.
Fill in the blanks on this sample letter to make writing to your vendors a breeze!

The Date

Ms. Jane Doe
Name Business
Address
City, State ZIP

Dear Jane:

This letter is to confirm our conversation of [DATE]. I am pleased to have [BUSINESS NAME] providing [SERVICE] at my wedding. [IF THIS IS THE FIRST SUCH LETTER YOU¡¦VE WRITTEN TO THIS VENDOR, INCLUDE A SENTENCE COMPLIMENTING THE VENDOR AND EXPLAINING WHY YOU CHOSE THEIR SERVICE, SUCH AS, ¡§My experience with your catering samples (and the mouth-watering description on your catering menus) fill me with great anticipation for an exceptional meal at my reception.¡¨]

As we discussed, my vision for the [SERVICE] at my wedding is [DESCRIBE THE ATMOSPHERE YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS VENDOR¡¦S SERVICE, SUCH AS, ¡§a casual ¡¥enough hors d¡¦ oeuvres to make a meal¡¦ reception where the gourmet quality of the food elevates the event above the ordinary.¡¨] To this end, the items and amounts I have ordered from you are listed below:

Item Quantity Price

PROVIDE A DETAILED LIST OF EVERYTHING YOU ORDERED FROM THIS VENDOR.
Total Price


My understanding in talking to you was the your service includes (at no extra charge):

PROVIDE A BULLETED LIST OF THE ¡§EXTRAS¡¨ YOU BELIEVE THE VENDOR PROVIDES FREE OF CHARGE.



Our timetable would then include the following:

Date Time Location Service Expected From Vendor


Please feel free to contact me if you want to discuss any of the information I¡¦ve outlined above. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME