Lindsay FergusonComment

4 Contracts Every Wedding Planner Needs

Lindsay FergusonComment
4 Contracts Every Wedding Planner Needs

When you own a wedding planning business, there are a lot of things you need to get in place. From building a brand and website to setting up systems and services, your administrative task list starts off pretty long. But, perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself and your business is take care of the least sexy things – namely, covering your ass with contracts!

Even when you feel like you’ll “be ok” without them, the reality is that you are opening yourself up to huge potential headaches if you start doing business without them. So today, we have our go-to legal resource and lawyer for creative business owners, Annette Stepanian, sharing her top tips about the 4 contracts every wedding planner needs before starting their business. Read on and protect that business baby of yours with her awesome contract templates!  

A Contract for Your Wedding Planning Services

Working with clients on a big event can open you up to a lot of liability. So, the bottom (and very honest) line is that you should not be booking clients if you do not have a proper contract in place!

Just some of what you need to define within the contract:

  • Services to be performed

  • Compensation and payment schedule

  • Reimbursement

  • Event rescheduling

  • Client responsibilities (yup!)

  • Limitation of liability

  • Termination of the agreement (by either party)

Pro-tip from Annette: If you’re performing services for your clients without a written contract in place between you two, don’t take another client project until you have a solid service contract in place for your business that reflects your business’ unique policies and procedures.  If, on the other hand, your current contract is one you pulled together from different contract samples you either found on the internet or borrowed from industry peers, do yourself (and your business) a favor and have it reviewed by a lawyer.  Though I commend you for taking charge of your business and having a contract, a lawyer has the legal eye, the training, and the experience to make sure it says all the rights things in the right way to protect you and your business. 

An Independent Contractor Agreement

If you are working with independent contractors (ICs) in your business, it is imperative that you enter a formal agreement. From clearly laying out the deliverables and due dates, these details must be explicitly outlined in an agreement since legally, ICs have a lot of control over where and when they work. Not sure what the difference between a contractor and employee in your state is? Be sure to educate yourself about whether the type of work being performed qualifies as something that can be done by an IC or if you need to hire them as an employee!

What you need to define within the agreement:

  • Services to be performed

  • Compensation and reimbursement

  • Confidentiality and intellectual property

  • Termination

Pro-tip from Annette: Just like when someone hires you to provide them wedding planning services, when you hire an independent contractor to provide services for you, have an agreement in place outlining the terms of your relationship. Also, having a written independent contractor agreement may help prove that you and the worker have indeed intended to enter into an independent contractor relationship should the classification ever be questioned by a government agency.

An Independent Contractor Agreement Confidentiality Agreement

Whenever you hire someone to work with you on your business, they become privy to information that might be sensitive. So, if you want to make sure that legally, your business stays “your business,” you need to have any IC that you work with sign a confidentiality agreement that limits what they can share.

What you need to define within the agreement:

  • What the confidential information is (and isn’t)

  • The obligations of the person receiving the confidential information

  • What they can disclose and when

  • What happens if confidential information is share and shouldn’t have been

Pro-tip from Annette: Although confidentiality terms can be included within an independent contractor agreement, more lengthy and detailed terms are usually documented in a separate confidentiality agreement.  Confidentiality agreements (otherwise known as NDAs or Non-Disclosure Agreements) outline what information should be treated as confidential by the parties, how it should be handled by the party receiving this information, and the consequences if confidential information is improperly disclosed to third parties.

A Paid/Unpaid Intern Agreement

Regardless of whether an intern is getting paid or not, it is important to protect both yourself and the intern – for all of the same reasons you need ICs, clients, and employees to sign a contract!

What you need to define within the agreement:

  • Length of the internship

  • Compensation and reimbursement

  • Responsibilities

  • Confidentiality and intellectual property

  • Termination

 
Pro-tip from Annette: If you run a for-profit business and plan to offer unpaid internships, there are specific requirements you must comply with in order to do so. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Labor has adopted a seven-factor test for analyzing whether an individual is an intern or an employee entitled to compensation. An internship agreement will document the details of your internship program, including outlining the intern’s responsibilities, the compensation (if any), and also address other important issues such as who owns the intellectual property rights to the work that is created by the intern and how the business owner’s confidential information will be treated by the intern. 

Ready to protect yourself and your business with a strong contract? Shop all of Annettes easy-to-use contract templates for wedding planners!


 Disclaimer:

This information is for educational and informational purposes only; it is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author.  You should not act, or refrain from acting, on the basis of information provided here without first consulting legal counsel in your jurisdiction.

Annette Stepanian equips other creative professionals and small business owners with the legal and business knowledge needed to confidently start and grow their businesses.  Committed to making legal information accessible for small business owners and entrepreneurs, Annette founded Your Legal BFFTM, your go-to online legal bestie for easy to understand and industry specific contract templates and trainings.  Annette also works one-on-one with clients on a number of matters. Learn more at www.annettestepanian.com or www.yourlegalbff.com.