The Dos and Don'ts of Breaking Up with a Vendor

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Sure, you'll likely enter each vendor relationship eager and excited about your newfound planning partnership, but sometimes things just don't go as planned... Maybe you have to change your wedding date and the vendor is already booked that weekend. Maybe you're not happy with his or her work thus far. Maybe you just don't mesh and you decide it's time to make the switch. Whatever the reason, breaking up with a vendor can be tricky business. Here are some helpful do's and don'ts to help you gracefully navigate what's undoubtedly an awkward situation.

Do read your contract, carefully

Before saying anything, be sure that you have read and understand the clause(s) regarding breaking contract. This section of your contract will give you key information about your deposit, what your rights are, what your vendor's rights are, and (most likely) how to proceed with the termination.

Don't ask for your nonrefundable deposit back if you've simply changed your mind

If you've had to change your date, or plan to switch your venue to a location out of town (and your vendor doesn't, or can't, travel), realize that you are not entitled to your deposit. In this case, you've chosen to switch the plan and your vendor doesn't owe you those funds back. Asking is, honestly, a bit rude since your vendor may have had to turn down other business to work your wedding.

Do submit your request to break contract in writing

Even if your contract doesn't say so, it's important to get all communication about terminating your contract in writing—meaning email, not text messages. In case things go south or any back-and-forth ensues, you'll have a concrete record about what was said and when. This comes in handy if, for instance, your contract stipulates that you can cancel within 30 days without having to owe payment—if you just call and leave a message, there is no proof that you notified your vendor within the allotted time frame.

Don't get personal

Attacking your vendor in the heat of the moment about what he or she did to deserve the breaking of the contract won't be very constructive. Playing the blame game will only escalate the situation—and create bad wedding juju. Be as straightforward and respectful as you can.

Do give feedback

If you think a specific aspect of your vendor's work was lacking, give constructive criticism by explaining your expectations and how these were not met in a neutral manner. This will make you feel like you've gotten something off your chest and hopefully help the vendor learn what he or she can do better for other couples in the future.
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