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Understanding Wedding Contracts: The Right of First Refusal

Contagious Planning, Wedding Contracts Leave a Comment

Wedding contracts are there for your protection, as well as your vendor’s. There is one fine detail that you must be on the lookout for though, as well as fully understand, and that is the right of first refusal.

Planning your big day is an exciting and thrilling time. You and your partner are working together to make your dream wedding come true. With every amazing service that vendors provide, such as delicious cake, mouthwatering cuisine, and wedding entertainment that will keep your guests on the dance floor, there will be fine print associated with it.

In order to stay on top of wedding planning, you need to be fully aware of all the fine details, especially your contractual agreements. To help, we’ve put together some thoughts on this popular wedding contract clause.

What is the right of first refusal, and what do I need to know about it when planning my wedding?


Understanding the right of first refusal:
There are a few ways in which the right of first refusal can be applied to your wedding planning process. One very important, and contractually-obligating way is with your vendors. For example, if you are in search of the perfect bakery for your cake, you will certainly want to meet the bakers and taste their products. You will be taking part in many consultations, as you will have more than one option. If you become smitten with a certain baker, you can ask them for the first right of refusal. This allows you to hold that baker’s service for your wedding date, as you meet with other options to ensure that you have found the right one. When another customer wants to book them for your wedding date, your baker must first call you. They can’t agree to provide services for another customer on your agreed upon timeframe until they first call you. Your wedding date won’t be snatched from beneath you without a phone call. However, here’s the twist, when they call, you must decide in that exact moment whether you will book with them, or move on to another vendor. Create a beautiful photo display.

The Right of First Refusal is a Double-Edged Sword:
It can seem appealing to keep a vendor on hold until you decide that there is nothing better available. However, imagine you find a wonderful caterer, and you request the right of first refusal. To determine promptly, you schedule meetings with the remaining vendor choices over the next week. You are almost done meeting with your vendors when you stumble upon a caterer that is just as good as the first. Also, the caterer you are meeting with the next day is rumored to be best in town, but you have only just been able to schedule a meeting with them. You and your partner are trying to determine whether this caterer has what it takes to outdo the previous caterers and if they can be better than the next vendor you are meeting with the next day. Suddenly, your phone rings, and it is your first caterer, asking you to decide on the spot whether you are reserving their services or not. Best case scenario, you tell them no and the caterers you meet with the next day are as wonderful as your loved ones proclaimed and they provide a lovely wedding meal. Worst case, you tell your caterer you won’t be booking with them. Then, the other vendors you are meeting with have no open availability on your wedding day or are poor quality. Now you are out a caterer. These are all aspects that you should keep in mind. Sometimes, the right of first refusal adds pressure to an already stressful task.

You should have a right of first refusal policy with your partner.
This is the second way that the right of first refusal can be used within your wedding planning process. When planning a wedding, either you or your partner may fall into the stereotypical role of being the “yes man or woman,” meaning that you just simply agree with decisions. Remember though, that this is your wedding day too, and you should help make decisions. If you are fearful of upsetting your fiancé with answers that may not be to their liking, you can practice the first right of refusal within your planning process. If your partner suggests an idea that sounds awful, you can refuse it. However, if you do so, you must be ready to explain, in detail, why, as well as provide alternatives. This exercise will help you maintain a meaningful role in the wedding planning, as well as keep the peace with your fiancé.

Planning a wedding is no easy feat. When it comes to your contracts or your process, be sure to read the fine print. Is the first right of refusal an ideal that you want to practice with your partner, or place within a contract? Here, at Contagious Events, we believe that every couple should work together when planning their wedding, as well as have the best wedding planning process experience. If you are ready to plan your big day with a Boston, Massachusetts wedding planner, be sure to contact us today.


Photo Credit: Rocker in Love Wedding Photography

Disclaimer: We’re wedding planners, not attorneys. The insight shared here is solely from a non-legal, wedding planner perspective. This blog does not provide legal advice and should not be used for legal basis. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

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