Contracts. I remember this being one of the hardest things to nail down once Ty and I started running the business together. Like, what do you actually put in one? Where should you look for a reputable lawyer that isn’t going to nickel and dime you in every way – but, also understands the niche that you’re working in and knows exactly what needs to be in the document? Or even, how do you know if you’re missing something?

We felt like we had so many questions and so few answers and that was overwhelming!

That is until we found a law office that worked within the niche of the creative world and has partnered alongside us for over three years now in all our “lawyering” needs! 

How did I find this diamond in the rough? I asked around our local creative community in a Facebook group! A great resource to you may be the Rising Tide Society’s Tuesdays Together group in your area. Once you join, you can simply ask, “does anyone know of a lawyer in our area that specializes in contracts in the creative field?” Done + done!

*First things first – we are not lawyers. We are simply speaking from experience and what we’ve learned over the past five wedding seasons in running this business together. What we’re sharing here are simply our ideas and conclusions that have been directly influenced by a practicing lawyer. We can not recommend enough the absolute necessity of having a lawyer on your business’ team. If you live in the state of Virginia, I would be more than happy to direct you to our lawyer, just send me an email!

Over the years I’ve found that sometimes the “little things” are often times the very things that we overlook. But it’s those very things that can actually turn out to be a really big deal! So, our heart in sharing this is so you won’t end up in a situation where you have to “learn from your not so good experience.” Instead, you can make the changes now with this little bit of forewarning! 

Ty and I hopped on Facebook Live last night to talk all about these three things (and a little extra!) in depth if you’d like to take a listen!

These three things may seem simple or silly, but you’ll be kicking yourself one day if you accidentally overbook a date because your client management software auto-populated the wrong date that you client actually typed into the inquiry form and you don’t realize it until the week of the wedding. Or, you get a nasty email from a guest at a wedding who is upset that their “face is being shown around the internet.” Or, you have a disgruntled bride or groom because they feel like they’ve been left out of everything because they weren’t looped in on a contract. 

Obviously, these examples are a little extreme, but, you truly just never know! So, here we go, three things to add to your contracts ASAP!

Client Initials

This may seem like the silliest thing you’ve ever heard. BUT, it won’t feel so silly where your realize that you actually double booked a wedding weekend because of an oversight on a mistakenly entered date on your client’s inquiry. I mean who hasn’t accidentally messed up 08/09/18 vs. 09/08/18?!

So, the way to combat this is to have your client initial right beside each of these:

  • Venue location (we have them specify the address)
  • Date (we ALWAYS have it written out in word form (date, month, year)
  • Ceremony + Reception Start Times

Model Release (+ Initials)

This is another important piece that’s easy to overlook. I mean, you probably think to yourself, well they are hiring me to document their wedding day so naturally they won’t mind who shows up in the film. And they definitely won’t mind if I post it on my Website, or Facebook, or Instagram, right? Why do we think this way? Because we don’t have any reason to think any different! That is until we get a not so nice email from someone who is unhappy about seeing themselves being “used” to market your business online. So, a model release is a MUST in all of your wedding contracts. And, because we ALL know we don’t read contracts, add an initial section by this as well, just to ensure that out of anything they read this section! 

Both Partners Sign the Contract

We always want to ensure that both the bride and the groom are totally aware and on board with all the requirements, timelines, and expectations related to their wedding day! Unlike photographers, who often have an engagement session with the couple before their wedding – we usually only have one or two face-to-face meetings with each of our couples. And 9 times out of 10, those are happening over a computer because we shoot all over the place and the majority of our couples don’t live in Virginia. No matter what though, we want them both to be on board and feel equally included in the process as possible! And having both of them on the contract helps keep us all in check!

Next week we’ll be back on Facebook Live at 7PM EST on Tuesday, February 13th. We’ll be talking all about questionnaires and how we’ve implemented them into our business to enhance our storytelling! We hope you join us live!

One of the best ways we’ve found that has helped us keep up with all of our bookings is by utilizing a client management software. This allows us to keep a template of our contract right in the system and we just have to fill in the blanks for each couple.

We love Honeybook and have found it to be the most useful and seamless way to keep up with all of our clients and provide them the best service as possible!

We recommend anyone doing more than five weddings a year to have some type of client management system! If you’re interested in checking out Honeybook, just click right here to start your free trial and get 50% off if you decide it’s the right fit for you! For more questions about Honeybook, check out this blog post all about why we love it!

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Meet Ashley

A true sweetheart from Southwestern VA, Ash spent many Sundays after church sitting around the table with her grandparents, listening to stories about the “good ‘ole days”. A talented visionary with a true heart for people, she’s likely to be found reading, writing, and planning away.

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