What to Include in a Wedding Entertainment Contract

    What if the DJ shows up in jeans and a tee shirt, or the band is comprised of different members than those you auditioned, or your wedding entertainers come late, leave early and take too many long breaks? Worse yet, what if they just don't show up at all?

    That's where a good wedding entertainment contract comes in. After you have decided who to hire but before any money changes hands, you should have an ironclad contract signed by the vendor and the paying party that spells out all the specifics of your celebration and fairly protects the interests of both parties.

    Here is what a good wedding entertainment contract should include:

    1. The exact date of your wedding (including the day of the week) and the time you need the vendor to be at the site. Consider the amount of time they need to set up.
    2. The length of time for which they will be providing entertainment. Make sure this lists a specific number of hours and the exact hourly charge for any extra time.
    3. The number and length of breaks the entertainment can take, and where they are to go during those breaks. Will meals be provided? Where should they eat? Should they stay hidden from guests during this time?
    4. The dress code. Spell out exactly what the wedding entertainers should be wearing, whether it be tuxedos, business wear, all black or a costume. Don't forget to include shoes in this section.
    5. The exact number of people included in the wedding entertainment package, including the names of any specific performers and the names of who will be the backups in case those first choice players have an emergency. Make sure you meet with these understudies and approve them beforehand.
    6. Payment terms, including the amount of deposit, whether or not it is refundable and under what circumstances, and when final payment must be made.
    7. Any site requirements. For example, bands and DJs may specify that the facility have specific electrical and audio capabilities. You made need to ensure your site allows fireworks or open flames for other forms of wedding entertainment.
    8. Specific equipment the wedding entertainment vendor is to provide, and specific items you are to provide.
    9. The name and cell phone number of an emergency contact person in case something goes wrong the day of, including the vendor getting lost or not showing up.
    10. The last date to make any changes to services, such as new songs, more time or costume amendments.

    Most reputable wedding entertainment vendors will already have a prewritten contract as a starting point for negotiations and will allow for additions or reasonable deletions. Never work with a vendor who does not want to use a contract. Without that formal, legal agreement you have absolutely no protection if something goes wrong with this important part of your special day. Never pay any money, including a deposit, until a contract is signed - even to hold a date. Don’t take a chance on such an important occasion

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