But they do happen and I just had one happen recently. I never like to get that message, but it happens at least once a year. That’s why I wanted to post a reminder to couples to read your contracts carefully and make sure you understand what your signing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Most wedding vendors will have retainer amounts in their contracts. This is an amount that the vendor will retain if the contract is canceled by the couple. On my contract, the 1/3 paid at the time of the contract signing is a retainer that is nonrefundable. I also have all payments made within 30 days of the event are nonrefundable as well.
You might be wondering why. From the time we sign a contract together, I will turn everyone else away when they contact me about the date, potential income I’m turning down. I can only afford to do this if I know I’m absolutely going to get paid on the date I’m holding. Re-booking the date with a new couple is nearly impossible because the couples I turn down have booked with other photographers. So that’s why we have to have a retainer policy in the contract.
You’ll want to think about who is signing the contract, too. For instance, I had a situation where the soon to be mother in law paid for the photography, but the bride signed the contract, making the bride my client, not the mother in law to be. Any credits or refunds that might be due will go to the bride because she is the one I have a signed agreement with and only her.
Anyway, I always hope to not have cancellations in the first place. I’d rather be working and doing what I love. Read your contracts, keep copies of them, and make sure the appropriate person signs the contract.