As wedding planners, one of our most important jobs is finding professional vendors for our clients. Finding and securing vendors with your clients can be complicated. You want to have a process that ensures you are not financially responsible and that your clients are not only getting all of their needs met, but they are also in legal contracts with their service providers.
The following process allows you to make thoughtful recommendations and manage contracts without becoming entangled financially or legally with contracted vendors.
Getting recommendations on trusted wedding vendors is a big benefit of hiring a wedding planner. As planners, we have knowledge about who can meet our clients’ needs and who we feel are the best professionals to work with.
My process is to offer three vendor recommendations in each category that fit the client’s needs, style, and budget. Depending on the level of service they contracted with me, I either pass along the recommendations and they follow-up, or I set up and attend the consultation meetings with them.
Contracting with Vendors
Once you have made your recommendations and your clients have met with and chosen their event professionals, it is time to sign a contract. As a planner, you are an advisor, but you do not contract or pay vendors on behalf of your client. The contract is always between the couple and the service provider. This removes you from the liability of being the responsible party for all contractual agreements. If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating with vendors on behalf of your clients, set that expectation up front with your clients.
All payments to the vendors should be made directly from the client to the vendor. If you are paying on behalf of your client and plan to be reimbursed from your clients, what happens if your client does not pay? You are out large sums of money for a service you aren’t even providing. As the planner, you can remind clients when they have upcoming payments due and make updates to their event budgets and payment schedules as they are completed.
The key thing to remember is that, as a wedding planner, we are hired to advise, educate, and implement on behalf of our clients. We are not meant to take on the financial or legal responsibility for other event vendors on behalf of our clients. Your wedding planner contract can clearly state how you work with your clients and vendors.
This is a guest post from Amber Peterson. Amber is the owner of Cheers Wedding Planning & Design and Cheers Consulting Group in western Washington. She has a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and consults with wedding professionals about their marketing and business challenges. Amber is also the co-founder of the Skagit Wedding Society.