“Covid has presented some novel contract issues that people now need to contemplate,” she said. “Contracts moving forward in 2021 need to have some new provisions.”
Ms. Hulse advises that the force majeure clause, which essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event takes place, be updated to include “pandemic,” “epidemic,” or “Covid-19” explicitly. Ms. Hulse said couples need to look for language that discusses what happens in the event of a rescheduling, cancellation, termination, or incapacitation. A safe working environment clause may also be included to allow vendors to adequately replace themselves if they no longer feel comfortable providing the service.
“If your contract is a couple pages long that a wedding professional is sending to you, do not balk at that,” Ms. Hulse said, “A long contract, especially if it’s from an upstanding professional within the industry, is something that is going to protect both parties. But there’s just a lot of terms that need to be discussed.”
Hire a Professional
Days after Ryan Kelly, 27, a center for the Indianapolis Colts, proposed to Emma Zieverink, 30, a design consultant for California Closets, this spring, the couple who live in Indianapolis, quickly settled on a May 1 wedding in Cleveland for next year. After watching friends cancel weddings, their intention to hire a wedding planner was reaffirmed. They wanted to feel secure that should they need to reschedule, their planner could handle the chaos on their behalf. “Hiring the wedding planners has taken an insane burden off our shoulders,” Mr. Kelly said.
Ms. Hulse urges recently engaged couples to reach out to the wedding professionals they might like to hire now. “They’ve been through the war a bit and now they know how to handle it in the future,” she said.
Moving forward, Mr. Kahn says he is only recommending vendors to his clients who will operate with complete flexibility. “I’ve been very direct with vendors,” he said, “and I would have those conversations in advance before I would present them to a client.”