Wedding Season is in full swing. Before you say “I do” to a wedding rental, make sure you know what to expect.
You’ve got to love the sweetness and romance of an intimate ceremony, but we all know the reception is where the fun happens! Things can get loud, exciting, and sometimes a bit wild. As a Yard Card business owner, you may want to have a few extra conditions in your contract (a pre-nuptial agreement, if you will) to protect your inventory, as well as wedding guests.
Let me tell you a first-hand story to help you understand why it’s important to have special contract conditions in place for large events, such as weddings.
Covid had taken a toll on gatherings in 2020, especially weddings. In August of that year restrictions had loosened somewhat to allow for small events. Steven and Jamie were finally going to get to become Mr. & Mrs. The wedding ceremony and reception were to take place in a quiet country setting at a private residence. Little did we know as newer Yard Card business owners what possible issues could arise when we accepted this rental request.
Even though we are typically night-time installers, we didn’t want any funny business to take place with our signs before the ceremony, so we arrived early the morning of to set up at the entrance of the property. The customers, who were an absolute joy, were on site as we installed the display. They approved everything and were in love with the final result. We took photos to document our work and called this job a success. That was until we came back that evening to remove it.
It was 11:00pm when we arrived to the location, and the party was still jumping. Music blared through the evening sky, and laughter rang in from a distance. As our headlights reached the Yard Card, we could immediately see that at some point the party had made it’s way down the driveway to our display. Beer bottles, a champagne bottle, and cigarettes littered the ground around our sign. The smell of alcohol was strong as we exited our vehicle. The letters were knocked crooked, and some had been moved around. As we started removing the signs we noticed quite a few were sticky to the touch. Alcohol had been spilled over several pieces, and in one section of signs you could tell a cup of some type of beverage had been thrown, whether at the sign on purpose or perhaps at someone standing behind it we’ll never know, but regardless our signs were a mess. We photographed the full display again, as well as the area littered with trash, and took close-up pictures of each sign that had spills on it to document the damage. We wiped off the signs to ensure the alcohol didn’t soak into the floor of our vehicle, and headed home to figure out how to clean our items. Thankfully, we were able to wash all of the alcohol off of and out of the coro with a dunk in soapy water and a cold water rinse. So maybe this job didn’t end up being a total success, but we learned a lot, and can now pass that wisdom on.
Make sure you ask what events will take place at the location of installation (i.e., Wedding Party Photographs, ceremony, and/or reception). If your sign will be in a setting that it may be gathered around, update your contract to include specific wording that warns of cleaning and damage fees for should food or beverages be used around the display.
Consider having a waver signed as well, releasing you of liability should injuries occur if congregated around. Alcohol and dancing can sometimes lead to trips and falls. You don’t want to be held accountable should that happen and a sign or stake causes an injury.
Make sure your contract notes that signs may not be touched, and that customers will be charged for damaged caused to signs if they are moved or removed. Some wedding parties have been documented taking signs off of stakes to use in photos, and damaging them when trying to re-stake them.
What things can you do to limit damage to your signs or protect your investment should something happen:
- Make sure your rental contract covers situations that are highly possible with large events, or have a separate contract signed that is aimed specifically towards large events.
- Tape signs together or connect them in some way. Signs that are not easy to remove will hinder excessive funny business.
- Have the customer’s credit card on file in case of damage, or take a damage deposit that will be refunded after removal is done and no damage is found.
- Drop off extra signs that you allow to be used as photo props in, but make sure these items are also covered in your contract should damage happen, and that you have a specific point of contact that is responsible for those items.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leah Meschke, who owns and operates Whidbey Yard Cards with her husband Aaron, is a mother of four, Navy spouse, and music lover. Leah is a stand card installer and YCS glitter lover.