After you have found the entertainment that meets your wedding-day expectations, you then need to make sure a written contract is prepared. For your protection, the contract must cover all of the pertinent aspects of the event, leaving no room for assumptions or misunderstandings. Listed below are the items that may be included in the contract, some of which are required and some of which are optional. Your specific needs and the details of your event should be dictated in the contract so that both parties know exactly what is expected from the entertainer.
1. Specify the name of the band or disc jockey that you have selected to be a part of your special day. It is important to identify the actual entertainers that you viewed on a video or a live performance. Make sure there is a clause covering a replacement of a comparable performer(s), should circumstances occur whereby the contracted entertainment becomes unavailable.
2. Carefully review the payment schedule. The payment schedule should include the deposit amount and the terms of payment of the balance. It is not uncommon for the entertainment to require the payment of the balance due several days prior to the wedding date. Provisions for overtime rates should also be made a part of the contract. Most entertainment contracts have a cancellation clause, which may cause you to forfeit your deposit, if the event is canceled. The entertainment provider generally retains the deposit to compensate for the lost booking.
3. Review your event timeline with the entertainment and plan accordingly for their needs. For example, should the event overlap a lunch or dinner hour, the entertainers may require a meal. This may also be necessary if they have traveled a long distance to the venue and require set up of equipment prior to the guests arriving. Also, entertainers traveling to a location outside of their local area may require additional travel fees and lodging. Lodging may be an issue when an event ends late in the evening and the entertainers are unable to travel due to distance and the unreasonable hour. These issues must be addressed in the contract to avoid surprises on the day of your wedding.
If the event requires live musicians, they will normally get a break after each forty-five minutes of performance, unless continuous music is stipulated, which is usually an additional charge. Make sure the contract indicates the break time, generally fifteen to twenty minutes. During the break time, request that background music be provided via CD or other recorded source.
3. Anticipate the challenges, if any, presented by the wedding’s location. Events that are held outside may require that entertainers and their equipment be protected from sun, rain or evening moisture. If the event is at a hotel, the venue can normally provide a canopy or umbrella to shield the entertainers but make sure this is taken care of ahead of time. If special electrical equipment is needed, such as a generator or an additional power source, make sure you carefully review these requirements since these costs can be expensive.
4. Work with your venue to confirm details of the entertainment area. This includes a specific stage size that may be required for the entertainers, and should be specified in the contract. If necessary, provide the different locations for the ceremony, cocktails and reception and the start times of each. Also provide loading instructions for your site, as well as the designated parking area. Parking is usually validated for all entertainers. Make sure you know the fees associated with the venue of choice because parking validations for several entertainers can add up to an expensive proposition when you receive your bill.
5. Don’t forget to include a due date. A specific date by which the wedding-planner forms need to be returned to the entertainment provider should be included in writing. This gives you the comfort of knowing that the schedule of events can be properly prepared well in advance and any changes can be discussed prior to the wedding date.