Is It a Bad Sign If a Wedding Vendor Won't Let Me Make Contract Revisions?
When you start signing contracts with your wedding vendors, it quickly becomes apparent that every vendor approaches these important legal documents in a slightly different way. Some are incredibly detailed, while others ask you to initial a simple one-page agreement. As such, it's not uncommon to discover some terms that are a little confusing or even some terms that are hard to agree to. When you bring these clauses up with your vendor, you should be able to talk through each item in a way that brings clarity and peace of mind. As for whether it's a bad sign if a vendor won't let you make contract revisions, we asked the experts to weigh in.
Is it a bad sign if a vendor won't let you make changes to a contract?
Wedding planner Amy Nichols of Amy Nichols Special Events says, "It's not necessarily a bad sign. Business owners have contracts with couples for a reason—so that there are clear expectations of what products and services are being provided, and what the costs for said services are." More often than not, a wedding vendor has one contract created by a lawyer and uses this with all of their couples. Changing it just for you would incur legal costs they may not be willing or able to take on.
Ask questions when things don't make sense at first glance.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with asking for clarity. Nichols says, "Make sure you understand each point in the contract and ask questions. If something seems fishy, trust your gut or just ask for a better explanation. If the clause still doesn't make sense, ask the vendor if you can discuss further. It may be that the wording needs a slight clarification. But in some cases, that legalese you're reading makes sense and is there for a reason." Nichols cites wedding photography copyrights as a common issue. She says, "Many couples assume they should have the copyright to their photos, but that's not the case. The photographer (as the artist) retains the copyright to the photos they've created (their art). Most photographers are not going to give up their copyright, unless you're paying a hefty additional fee. Most contract questions are usually easily resolved once you ask the vendor to explain their contract more carefully."
Your vendor should be comfortable talking you through the clauses in their contract.
Wedding planner Kathryn Kalabokes of Dream a Little Dream Events says, "For most professional vendors, their contracts are iron-clad. If the vendor isn't open to having a discussion about the clauses on their contract that a client might feel uneasy about, then I would be concerned. A lot of times a simple explanation as to why a vendor may have certain clauses on their contract is enough."
Contracts are written to protect both the vendor and the client.
This isn't a one-sided agreement; that contract is benefiting you, too. Kalabokes says, "The biggest thing to remember is the contract is to protect everyone involved, and sometimes nit-picking the little details (for example, payment structures, due dates, or even late fees) can start the client and vendor relationship on the wrong foot. If something doesn't feel right, it's always best to ask your vendor for some clarification. Marking up their contract with a red pen isn't the best strategy. Open discussions go a long way in client and vendor relationships."
Keep in mind that most contracts are written with a lot of thought.
If you're struggling with a vendor who won't make a contract change you've requested, it may be necessary to rethink your approach. Kalabokes says, "The main reason a vendor may not be able to make contract revisions is simply because they had their lawyer prepare it, which most likely took a lot of time and money, and it was written specifically for their business. Having to make any changes or adjustments to it sometimes means they have to then have it re-written by their legal advice team. Another reason is because a lot of contracts have clauses in them based on something that has happened to them or that their insurance may require, so revising that may not be an option."