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Arizona Destination Weddings ~ Does My Destination Wedding Planner Need to be a Lawyer too?

Well this is an interesting question.  After 17 years as an executive in the wedding planning/design and event supply industry and after executing hundreds of contracts ranging from vendor to government to the sale of a company, I must say that having a law degree would have been helpful in the earlier days.  Instead, I paid many specialized lawyers to review agreements that pertained to my customers, to my suppliers, to the company who bought one of my earlier businesses and to the U.S. Patent Office.

Today, I am much wiser for doing so and a huge portion of my initial wedding planning time with my clients is spent in the contractual phase, actually looking for “red flags” now that I have the foresight and obligation to advise the people who have placed their trust in me as they plan for their wedding celebration.

“But I thought…..”

So, as many newly engaged couples can tell you, it’s exhilarating to be in love and planning a new life together.  However, many details can be lost in the excitement of booking your venue and vendors, especially if you’re planning the wedding without the expertise of a professional.  As a destination wedding planner, I have heard my clients say “the hotel will take care of that” until I explain to them that the hotel will not take care of that.  For example, many hotels will not have their staff light candles placed by the florist at the reception dinner and the florist must stay to light them.  Something so simple, yet it needs to be clarified in the contract.

And for all of you pet lovers, the last thing you want to do is bring your fur baby to your destination wedding only to be told that animals are not allowed on the premises. More importantly, if you are a destination couple, it is imperative that you place your trust in a planner who has knowledge of the local market and what hotels and venues will or will not allow.

“Around the Block”

The most challenging part of a destination wedding for the client is the room block. Approximately 75% of my clients are destination couples and half of those are very large groups with up to 550 guests.  These large guest numbers require carefully negotiated room contracts that are crafted to the nature of the wedding.  Room attrition and concessions are critical to lodging contracts (especially when the wedding and lodging are at the same location) and your planner should know how to formulate the deal that you would like to present to the hotel.  And yes, there is a real formula for this.  Remember not to sign lodging attrition contracts unless you are willing to pay for those rooms that will not be booked due to guests sending regrets or guests who cancel their trip to your wedding at the last minute.

So, does my destination wedding planner need to be a lawyer too?  Of course not, however, your wedding planner should be able to educate you on the intricacies of wedding contracts, negotiate fair deals and offer you information concerning their formal contract training in these matters.  As always, I recommend that any contract be reviewed by a legal entity prior to signing.

Until next time, stay calm and plan on.




Author: Suzanne Taussig

Scottsdale, Arizona based destination wedding planner and designer