Broke-Ass Author: The Broke-Ass Bride

2/23

8 DIY Steps to Handling a Conflict with Your Wedding Vendor

One thing I see over and over again are couples who have issues with a vendor’s performance, and don’t quite know how to proceed. For instance, I just heard about a wedding photographer who has not delivered prints for a wedding that happened two years ago. Can you imagine?

Here are the steps I suggest you take when you have a conflict with your vendor, and you are not yet ready to hire a wedding lawyer. Please note that these are general steps. Every case is different.

1) Gather all of your supporting documents. Hopefully you have a contract with your vendor. This will likely be the most important document. Whether you have a contract or not, gather all of your emails, text messages and voicemails. You really want to organize whatever correspondence you have with your vendor. If you have a relevant voicemail on your phone, note that you may need to have that message officially recorded so that a court may listen to it. At the very least, be sure to transcribe it for now.

2) Review the documents. Try to find the place where the vendor agreed to do whatever s/he did not do, or did negligently. For instance, with the wedding photographer example, you would try to find the place in the documents where the photographer agreed to deliver the photos by date “x.”

3) Draft up a demand letter. Draft a letter, and attach all relevant documentation. Keep the letter professional, and leave your emotions out of it. Even when there is conflict, you will still catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Be polite, but firm. Be sure you clearly spell out all relevant facts in chronological order. In your concluding paragraph, specify what you want. For instance, using the above example, if you want your photographs, then specifically ask for those. If you want your money back, then ask for that.

4) Include a response time. Give the vendor a reasonable deadline to respond to your letter. I personally, generally, like 2 weeks. Make it clear to the vendor that if the conflict is not appropriately handled, then you will proceed with contacting an attorney or filing a lawsuit.

5) Send the letter. Send the letter via fax (yes, fax machines still exist!), or email and send a hard copy. You might also consider sending it via certified mail. You want some kind of verification that your letter was received.

6) Be patient. Wait for a response. Hopefully you will get one, by your deadline. This can be a frustrating time. Also, demand letters are the first step, and not always productive. Try not to think about the wait too much. During the wait, catch up on your blog reading.

7) Follow up. If you don’t get a response by the deadline, follow up. You can follow up by sending a concise letter or email and attaching the initial demand letter. Simply stating something to the effect of

“Dear Vendor: I have not received a response to my letter of December 28. I remain prepared to file a lawsuit. Kindly let me know if you have any response.”

You know your vendor, so apply the follow up principle according to his or her personality and what you think will be the most effective language. Don’t forget to be polite, though!

8) Consider your next steps. If you still don’t receive a response, or the response isn’t what you wanted, considering filing a lawsuit or consulting with an attorney. Contact your local small claims office to determine if the amount of damages fits into the jurisdictional cap, which varies by state. In California, for instance, the cap is $10,000, with some exceptions. Other states have caps of $5,000. The information will likely be set forth on the court website.

If your claim is more than the jurisdictional amount, then it would be advisable to consult with counsel. Although small claims cases are generally informal, and friendly to non-lawyers, non- small claims cases are much more complex.

You should not hesitate to move forward if you feel you’ve been wronged. There are finite time limitations on causes of action. So, don’t delay in proceeding with whatever course of action you

As always, you can consult with an attorney. Your case may be too complex for small claims court. And, if you do go to small claims court, the key to winning is having an organized and succinct argument with supporting evidence. A wedding lawyer can help coach you to success.

Happy weddings!

Christie Asselin

Christie Asselin is a sixth year, California licensed, litigation attorney with a background in personal injury and business disputes. In 2012, she began to explore legal issues related to weddings including vendor negotiation, and contract review.  She loves all things weddings and has a personal and deep love of Gwen Stefani’s wedding gown. She also adores Oceana roses, and cathedral-length wedding veils. You may visit her website at: yourweddinglawyer.com.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information stated above is general legal information, and not legal advice. Please also note that the author is admitted only to the California State Bar, and to no other state. Attorney Advertising. This communication may be considered attorney advertising. Previous results are not a guarantee of future outcome. No Attorney Client Relationship. The use of any content provided in this article and your provision or submission of any information while using this site will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Ms. Asselin. Please be aware that any information that you provide by reason of your use of this article is not privileged or confidential. The content of this article is provided solely for informational purposes: it is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax, career and/or other professional
  • 3/17

    ariane

    I married the most unlikely man almost 15 years ago. I say unlikely because we both bet our friends a six pack of beer that we would never, ever get married. Best bet I ever lost.

    We were so different, that it took a while to get engaged. By the time he proposed, I wanted to simply tie the knot the next day. No way, said he. “We will have the biggest party on the smallest budget possible.”

    So, he set to planning a huge bash, while I set about learning how to DIY everything. Our priorities in this party were booze and bar band. We would DIY everything else.

    Seriously, 15 years later friends still tell us that our wedding was the best party they ever attended. Not just wedding. Party. Was it the Jack Daniels? Was it the bar band? Hard to say, but I wish I had all these moments on video.

    1. The DIY Dress

    Only a fool would make her wedding dress when she does not know how to sew. I am that fool. I wish I had video of me cutting nineteen, yes — nineteen yards of tulle. Or especially video of me twirling around in the dress the very first time. Right after sewing that last stitch.

    2. The DIY Cake

    Ah, but a bigger fool would make her own wedding cake! (Points finger at self) I had been a cake decorator professionally, so I figured that naturally I would be able to make my own cake. Never mind the carpal tunnel that set in the week of the wedding. Never mind that it’s crazy to try to decorate a cake two days before your wedding. Especially when you have to talk your bridesmaid through doing it for you.

    But everything is better with alcohol. So, you get your bridesmaid drunk and then have her do it. And then proceed to have a food fight with the middle bits of the cake. It’s all good. And would have been grrrrrreat on video!

    3. The Steam Iron

    I made my own dress, but shame on my mother, I never really learned how to iron. So, I show up at the church in my dress, and my friend points out that it’s all wrinkly and going to look funny in the photos. Yes, I was that oblivious.

    It was now about 5 minutes til the wedding was supposed to start and someone ran out to get a steam iron. There’s my man standing at the front of church, waiting. And there’s his best friend, running through the church with a steam iron. Literally, running. With the priest behind him promising NOT to marry us if I was late. Priceless.

    4. The Piggyback Ride

    We swore it never happened, but my husband’s buddy’s girlfriend swore it did. The piggyback ride. Me and my bustle were seen careening across the dance floor on the back of her boyfriend and she was not pleased. I would pay good money for that video now.

    5. Table Dancing

    I do have a photo. But who wouldn’t want to see video of themselves dancing on a table at the end of the night with a centerpiece on their head?

    Our wedding journey took us from DIY near-disasters all the way to face-planting on a black diamond slope in Oregon. Proposal all the way through the honeymoon, there were soooo many crazy moments I wish I could relive with my man. Sometimes photos just aren’t enough.

    Ariane Fisher is the Co-founder of Storymix Media. Their app WeddingMix is a fun way to crowdsource photos & videos from your friends into an edited wedding video. Her great loves are bourbon, chocolate, and hockey. She is mom to 6, yes, 6 kids. It’s loud.
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    1/15

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    1/8

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