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Contracts for destination weddings depend on who's paying

Q: I am planning a destination wedding for a nice young couple and their families, bridesmaids, groomsmen and other friends. I have obtained a good group rate at a Caribbean resort for 20 rooms, and I will handle airline reservations and ground transfers, rolling them into per-person price. Do I contract with just the bride and groom, or do I need a contract with each traveler? What should the contracts provide for?

A: Destination weddings have become very popular in the last decade. Unfortunately, they have also become the source of many lawsuits because the agencies' contracts do not make each party's rights and obligations clear.

Mark Pestronk
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Which party or parties you should contract with depends on whom you can expect to pay for the packages you are putting together. For example, you can have a contract that places the entire financial burden on the father of the bride, as in a traditional, local wedding reception. Or the contract can be with the wedding couple, making them responsible for full payment for all the participants.

Most likely, however, the guests will be expected to pay for themselves. In that case, you need a contract with each guest, just as you would with any tour participant. These contracts can be called "participant's agreements" or just "terms and conditions," and they would spell out deposit, final payment and cancellation requirements.

You should have another contract with the bride and groom that, in effect, guarantees against nonpayment by a guest and also clearly spells out the details and costs of the wedding ceremony and reception.

The guests should pay you, not the bride and groom, in order to protect against embezzlement, which will leave your agency on the hook to suppliers and guests demanding refunds. When each guest pays you, you could credit the bride and groom's account, leaving them responsible only for unpaid rooms.

Aside from the details, one of the biggest problems of destination weddings is a price increase due to lower participation than the minimum required or due to cost increases imposed by suppliers. You need to make clear that price increases are possible.

If air transportation is a mandatory part of your package, you need to obey the U.S. Department of Transportation rule that requires you obtain the client's written (or recorded oral) consent (at sign-up) to any price increase after a deposit is taken. After final payment, you cannot increase the price unless it is for taxes.

Another big, potential source of litigation is cancellation: If the wedding is cancelled, what happens to the guests' payments? Unfortunately, many guests will expect a refund, so you need to specify that there will be no refunds for cancellations for any reason within a fixed number of days before the trip.

If you deal with a wholesaler, the wholesaler might require each guest to agree to the wholesaler's own terms and conditions. Remember that such terms do not protect you, and they might make it more likely that you will be sued because the wholesaler is protected by its terms and conditions.

Your participant's agreement should be signed by each participant 18 and older, if they are paying for their own travel. Otherwise, you can send the terms in an emailed itinerary.

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04:51 Publié dans wedding | Tags : weddings | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Same-Sex Couple Together For 72 Years Finally Get Married

A lesbian couple who have been together for 72 years recently tied the knot at First Christian Church in Davenport on Saturday.

Vivian Boyack married her partner of 72 years, Alice "Nonie" Dubes, in intimatewedding ceremony attended by the couple's closest friends and family members. Duringthe event, Rev. Linda Hunsaker described the wedding as a "celebration of something that should have happened a very long time ago".

Lesbian Wedding
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Boyack, 91, and Dubes, 90, were introduced to each other in Yale, Iowa, the place where the couple grew up.

The two then moved from their hometown to Davenport in 1947, where Boyack served as a longtime teacher at Lincoln and Grant elementary schools. In describing her chosen profession during the Saturday ceremony, Boyack shared that she has always wanted to be a teacher. "My plan at an early age was to teach in the school where I was then going, and my teacher would move on to another school," the 91-year-old shared.

On the other hand, Dubes took charge of the payroll department at the Times and Democrat for 13 years. In sharing her experience at the news business, Dubbes said that she was assigned to sign the paychecks for everybody, even that of Bill Wundram. The 90-year-old then left the news business to work for Alter Corporation, where she stayed for 25 years.

In giving the guests a glimpse of their relationship Boyack and Dubes said that they have visited all 50 states and all provinces of Canada. They also traveled to England twice. "We've had a good time," Dubes described their adventures. In addition, Boyack shared that their 72-year relationship is a product of lots of love and hard work.

One of the couple's guests, Jerry Yeast, has been friends with the newlyweds since he worked as an 18-year-old landscaper in their yard. "I've known these two women all my life, and I can tell you, they are special," the 73-year-old said. "This is a very special day for all of us," the couple's good friend added.

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04:31 Publié dans wedding | Tags : married | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Wedding costs: Creativity + Flexibility = Gorgeous Wedding Minus Debt

When Stephanie Childs and Chris Atwell were reunited after 35 years thanks to the modern-day matchmaker Facebook, their friendship evolved into romance, love and finally a commitment to join their lives in marriage.

In addition to a history tracing back to the late '70s, their budget did as well.

"Our budget was around $5,000 for everything, and we pared down the guest list to 75 people," says Childs, an international flight attendant.

So in July of last year, with a lot of creative out-of-the-box thinking, the couple joined their lives at a waterfront venue infused with fresh flowers followed by a sit-down dinner with wine.

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"We wanted to have a Hawaiian-themed wedding," Childs says. "Logistics dictated that a beach venue would be too difficult as two of our wedding party are disabled. Both of our mothers are advanced in years, and we sort of saw this as an opportunity to have a family reunion, probably the last time my mother would be able to make a trip."

As the couple discussed their venue options while dining at Nick's Boathouse overlooking Pensacola Bay, the thought struck them that they were already sitting in the perfect locale for their special day.

Childs couldn't be happier with the outcome, which included a tiered buttercream cake baked by Chris' friend and topped with fresh flowers ordered from the grocery store; photographs by a friend; tropical flowers from Hawaii and arranged by a local florist; table decorations from local and online sites, which teamed with orchids from Hawaii; music for both wedding and reception by Pensacola's KreyZ-8 DJ/Karaoke Services; and a sit-down dinner with wine by Nick's.

Stephanie and Chris aren't the first to realize that keeping the price of the wedding down can mean more peace in the days, months and years that follow.

"Weddings are a very emotional thing, and for many people, the numbers don't add up," Mike Sullivan, director of education at the credit counseling organization Take Charge America, told

"Most women think of this as the special day in their lives, a day where they will be the focus of attention. They want a storybook wedding — and that can be very hard to resist."

But Sullivan warns that just like all dreams, when the dreamer wakes up, reality sets in. And sometimes decisions made for the wedding day can actually damage the marriage.

"If the money isn't quite there to realize that dream, couples may make decisions that cast a shadow over their future," he says.

"I've seen couples who couldn't buy a house for a period of time because they had to pay off the wedding," Sullivan says. "People have to be rational and realize that if they spend $20,000 or $30,000, unless they're very wealthy, it's just not a responsible thing to do. It is just one day."

Childs couldn't agree more.

"I think sometimes people get caught up in planning their 'ideal fairytale' wedding that they don't consider how difficult dealing with debt is in the first year of marriage — and possibly longer, if its very expensive,'' Childs says.

"Chris and I feel so blessed to have found each other that we wanted to be able to share our happiness with our friends and family. It was more a celebration of all of our loved ones being all together, so it wasn't so important that we have designer elements at designer prices."

And that decision has made their first day of marriage plus 364 after it much more lighthearted, notes Childs.

"It was a fun experience because we didn't have the added stress of facing a large cost after the wedding. It sure made our first year of marriage so much easier.''

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04:19 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)