Having a contract canceled on you feels a bit like getting dumped. It doesn’t make you feel so hot, you might cry a little, and it definitely increases the likelihood that a pint of ice-cream ends up being your dinner. And though no one ever wants to have a contact cancelled on them, it happens. So we asked our global community of professional wedding planners how they handle cancellation policies and here is what they said.
We asked Suher of Savvy Soirée “What do you require to cancel a contract?”
If a client wants to cancel an agreement with us, we would have them sign a release of contract. It hasn’t happened before but it is something we have the documentation for, just in case. We did have an event where we almost had to cancel a contract with a client. They had been creating some issues for us and, had we gone through with it, we would have sent them a cancelation contract, asked them to sign and return it.
Any advice for planners who are in the process of writing their cancellation policies?
Yes, absolutely! Educate yourself! And definitely have a lawyer look over the contract. Even if it costs you a couple hundred dollars, that is money well spent because it’s better than having to hire a lawyer in case something happens and then pay lawyer’s fees. Also, make sure that you are true to yourself and your contract. Be confident in your work! Admit you are wrong where it needs to be admitted and make sure to be upfront with clients and document everything you discuss.
Cancellation Policy from Francine Ribeau Events:
Since our services are largely time and planning, we do our best to provide a refund policy that takes this into account. Client may cancel Agreement by giving written notice to Planner. Any and all cancellations will result in the forfeiture of the non-refundable retainer deposit for the event. Should the Event be cancelled by Client (except due to force majeure or due to FRE’s material breach of this Agreement), 1) Client’s decision would constitute a breach of its contracted obligation to Planner and Client agrees Planner would be harmed and 2) the Client shall also pay Planner liquidated damages (not as a penalty), within thirty (30) days after written notification to Planner of cancellation, according to the following schedule:
If Planner is unable to attend events, or complete the contract due to illness, tragedy, “Acts of God” or “Force Majeure”, Planner will make commercially reasonable efforts to provide a replacement with capabilities and experience to finish the tasks.
All cancellations to this contract requires written notification either by mail or email. Down-grading services once this agreement has been signed by both parties will not be honored.
Planner hereby reserves and retains the right to cancel any and all of the above Services with or without cause by providing written notice to Client. In the event Planner elects to terminate this Agreement, half of the Retainer Deposit will be refunded to Client within thirty (30) days of notice of termination.
We also spoke with Emma of Sparrow Weddings and Events about her cancellation policy. She said:
My cancellation policy requires seven days written notice, from either party – myself or the client. In the event that an agreement is cancelled, all work ceases at the seven day mark. If the client cancels, any remaining or unpaid fees are pro-rated up until the date of cancellation. For example, my payment plans require a 20% deposit on booking, a second payment of 40% of the balance total at the halfway mark and the final 40% ten days before the event. If I am cancelling the agreement, I would refund them a pro-rated amount.
Cancellation Policy from Aisle Planner Founder Christina Farrow:
Should the Client elect, for whatever reason, to cancel this agreement, Client hereby agrees to provide a written notice of intent to cancel this agreement. There shall be no refund of deposits due to the reservation of the wedding date. In addition, there shall be no refund to any additional payments made and will be considered payment for services rendered to date. PA will also provide a prompt accounting and billing of services to date, including, but not limited to, Booking Fees for vendors booked to date, reimbursement for any items purchased on behalf of the Client and any other applicable charges for payment in full.
In the event of past due or non payment of fees as indicated in the Payment Schedule, PA reserves the right to cease services until the account is brought current. PA reserves the right to terminate this Service Agreement by written notice for any accounts past due 30 days. In the event of cancellation by PA due to non payment of fees by the Client, all payments made to PA by the client will be considered payment for services to date.
Have first hand experience with this? We’d love to hear your advice in the comments below.
*Please note: We are providing these examples to showcase what other wedding industry professionals are utilizing. We recommend that you consult with your legal counsel prior to adding any cancellation policies to your contract.