Become a Top Wedding Planner – 5 Things You Need to Know About Contracts and Fees


As a wedding planner you will be called upon by many brides to help them understand the fine print on vendor contracts and to explain fees. If you don’t have much experience in these areas yourself, you may want to get a copy of the July/August 2011 issue to Bridal Guide magazine to start learning some of the basics. In their article, “Hidden Costs, What You Need to Know,” they briefly explain fees and contracts. The article is written for brides but if you are new, you will also benefit from the tips offered by professionals.

Here are 5 of the highlights:

1) Look for phrases such as “additional costs may be incurred” and “plus the cost of setup and delivery”

Always ask vendors how much these costs are and when and if they will apply to your bride’s wedding. Don’t forget to ask that the price they quote include services charges and taxes.

2) Find out about permit fees

Your bride might be responsible for permit fees if she has her wedding outdoors in a public space. Or, if decorations at an indoor venue include candles, your bride may need to get a fire permit. Check with your local government for information for outdoor space and ask venues about any permits the bride might need to purchase if she has lit candles. (Some venues do not even allow open flames.)

3) Ask caterers what is included in their prices

It may sound easy to have the caterer bring their linens, flatware, glassware and china but be aware that their rentals may be billed separately. When they present an estimate to your bride, find out if it includes all of the rental items.

Also, if the caterer is providing bar service, ask how the drinks will be billed, per drink or per person. A crowd of heavy drinkers could skyrocket the cost of per drink service.

If the bride is supplying her own alcoholic beverages, she will incur corkage fees.

4) Check cake-cutting fees

If your bride is not using her venue’s in-house caterer for her wedding cake, she may be incurring heavy cake-cutting costs. Ask how much this is and how the fee is calculated. Some venues base their fee on the intricacy of the decoration, the more elaborate, the more expensive it is to cut the cake.

5) Get detailed quotes from musicians and DJs

Find out how much wedding packages are and what they include – number of hours, breaks, taxes and gratuities, etc. Also ask what the charges are if there is a need to extend their hours beyond the time listed in the packages.

As you work with more brides and get to know more vendors, you will become a pro at understanding fees and contracts. However, no matter how much experience you have, don’t forget to read contracts, they are different for every vendor and when you are planning a wedding for a bride, you don’t want any surprises.

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