Breaking up is hard to do-- especially when there is a contract involved. In the era of Coronavirus this is becoming increasingly more common. Before we started wedding planning we couldn't imagine a situation in which we'd have to break a contract- at least from our end. Like everyone else, we signed all of our contracts with very little time spent reviewing the change fees or cancellation clauses. Our mindset was that were getting married and wanted to work with all of our vendors, so what did it matter?
Flash forward a few months and we're hit with a global pandemic that not only postponed our wedding once, but twice. All of our vendors were fantastic with our first date change. Not only were we not given a single date change fee, but 100% of our vendors were available for our backup date. When we had to postpone a second time, that's when things got a little more tricky. We'd signed a few new addendums that included fees for an additional change, but at that point we were committed to our vendors and didn't really see much of a choice. We'd also developed positive relationships with all of our vendors and wanted to stay committed to them. Cancelling our wedding a second time was pretty heartbreaking. This time we didn't have a backup date for our big celebration and there were so many unknowns to consider. We chose not to select a date right away- and still haven't- because we don't know what the future holds and want to avoid having to postpone our big celebration a third time. When one of our vendors shared that there were contingencies for postponing our date we made the difficult decision to part ways. Although we understood where they were coming from as a business, we just weren't in a position to commit to what they were asking of us. Our approach was to be respectful and understanding that both parties have been significantly impacted by the events of the world, but to stand strong for what we believed was the best decision for us as a couple.
I would have thought that cancelling a contract because of a global pandemic would be way easier than cancelling due to quality of services, but it still didn't feel good. It was really difficult for me to emotionally balance trying to maintain an amicable "break up" while also advocating for what we needed.
Today on the blog I'm sharing a few tips for trying to maintain an amicable "break up" with a vendor.
Be transparent: Honesty is always the best policy. Be up front about why you're needing to cancel the contract. If finances are a factor and you're comfortable sharing this, it's absolutely appropriate to do so. This will help your vendor have a clear picture of why you are making this decision and hopefully understand where you're coming from. At the end of the day, these are unprecedented times and if your vendor genuinely cared about the relationship you formed, they will be able to understand the difficult position you're in and respect your decision without taking it personally.
Consult an attorney: I highly recommend consulting an attorney to get a better understanding of your contract and rights. Ultimately the ideal outcome is to work with an attorney behind the scenes, but sort out the details of your contract directly with your vendor. You definitely do not want to go into a contract negotiation with guns blazing. The moment an attorney is brought up, the tone of the conversation will change. Only share that you're working with an attorney if you've been unsuccessful with negotiating directly or if the vendor shares that they have been working with an attorney too.
Don't make it personal: Make sure that the vendor knows this decision is solely based on world circumstances and not a result of their services. If you had concerns about their service that you haven't yet shared, now is not the time. However, if you're breaking a contract because of the service you received, this article isn't necessarily for you and you may want to consult additional resources.
Compromise: Be prepared to compromise, especially if work was already put in. Make sure you honor any work done, and be ready to accept a partial refund as a sign of good faith.
Stay professional. Regardless of the amount of time you've spent with a vendor, you want to maintain a professional relationship. Make sure you acknowledge the time they have put into your wedding day and maintain professional communication at all times.
Write a positive review: If you left the relationship with the vendor on a positive note, leave a positive review! Even if you didn't end up using the vendor for your wedding day, sharing your experience and how they handled a difficult situation professionally is great feedback for future couples. Your vendor will appreciate the positive shout out, too!
Keep in touch: If you've formed a positive relationship with this vendor, continue to keep in touch! Stay connected over social media or send a follow up email after some time has passed to let them know you appreciate all they did for you and keep them updated on your wedding progress.
Reconnect: Times are uncertain and who knows where the world will be in the next few months. If you want to work with them again, leave the door open to reconnect down the road if your circumstances change.
Have you had to break up with a wedding vendor? Share about your experience in the comments!