Should you pay travel expenses or accommodation fees for your wedding suppliers? If they want the job, surely it’s down to them to make their own arrangements for travel and overnight stays? Yet you’ve spotted another cost on your invoice that you had no idea was your responsibility.
What do you do? Do you pay?
Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to wedding supplier expenses and who pays what.
Don’t use an agency
Generally speaking, an agency will match up your requirements with the ‘right’ business or supplier, regardless of location. It will be a tick box search and more often than not, it is based on budget. However, if finding a ‘budget’ supplier is in your best interest, choosing one that will then charge you another £100 to get them there, kind of defeats the object.
Do your suppliers need overnight accommodation?
You can not expect your photographer (who has been there for every hour of the day) to then drive 3 hours home once the wedding is over. It will likely be the early hours of the morning and they will be exhausted after a long day. To you they may just be ‘a photographer’ who has been hired to provide a service, but to someone else they are a mum/dad/son/daughter. Accidents will, and have happened after weddings when suppliers drive home. This is not something that you want to tarnish an otherwise perfect wedding day. Get your suppliers home safe. Understand their intentions early on, if your supplier is local or accommodation was already built into the cost, then you have nothing to worry about. If they’ve tried to keep the costs down in order to secure the booking and plan to travel home for hours after the wedding, a conversation needs to be had to decide if this is the right job for them and if an over-night stay may be a better option.
Should you pay for your photographer (or other all-day suppliers) to have a meal?
A photographer could spend 10-14 hours with you on your wedding day. Taking enough food for 3 meals would be incredibly difficult, as well as the extra complications of trying to keep food at a safe temperature to prevent food poisoning. This task becomes pretty much impossible during warmer months. Yet, the majority of brides and grooms will completely overlook their photographer when planning wedding day meals. Share the love, offer your photographer a meal at your wedding. You may find that your venue offer a ‘supplier meal’. This meal will be a cheaper than the guest options and will be plenty to keep your ‘tog well-fed and happy in order to keep snapping away those precious memories.
How important is this one wedding supplier?
If you’re wanting Gary Barlow to sing at your wedding, then of course there is only one of him. You will have to make all provisions to ensure he is there including travel/expenses/accommodation. If it is not built into the price given, it would be highly likely that these fees will be added on top. (Though if you’re looking to hire Gary Barlow, I wouldn’t imagine that budget is a huge concern). The same applies on a smaller scale. If you’ve hand-chosen that must-have photographer/DJ/entertainment or any other supplier, then be prepared to cover the costs to ensure they get there and back safely.
Can you avoid paying wedding supplier expenses?
An obvious solution to avoid paying out for travel and accommodation fees for your wedding suppliers is to search locally. If you’re just looking for a band to fill a couple of hours but don’t really have a preference on who they are or what they do, then hire a local band who can happily play the gig and are happy to drive the short distance home afterwards. Not only will this save you those extra fees, but there are also huge benefits to the environment – win win!
Can you refuse to pay wedding supplier expenses?
Absolutely (whilst discussing the job, not after signing a contract with travel expenses and accommodation written in). Though be prepared that you might find yourself looking for another supplier. Your wedding supplier/business might be negotiable with expenses and you could come to some sort of arrangement where you both pay halves or you contribute a portion. Just be sure that all agreements are written into the final contract. That way, there are no nasty surprises later on. Also, consider how much you are paying that supplier and how moral it is to allow them to cover their own expenses.
Always check your contract
It goes without saying really, but always read your contract before signing it. Whether you’re paying your wedding suppliers’ travel expenses and accommodation, or not; it needs to be included in the contract. Read it and understand it. An experienced supplier will probably have already answered any questions regarding their expectations from you and what they offer in return. Also keep any communications – text messages or emails to back up your agreements in case of disputes later on.
Keep it on good Terms
Just a final note to say: however you leave it with you supplier and regardless of who is paying for their meals/expenses, keep it on good terms. Wedding suppliers are only human. It’s likely that they will offer a much better service/product to clients that they have a good relationship with. Whilst the responsibility may not rest on your shoulders (subject to contract), an over-tired and hungry supplier won’t be giving you their very best. Understand your contractual obligations, ask any unanswered questions and be friendly. That way, your supplier will enjoy offering you the very best of their abilities whilst you go and have the best day of your life.
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