In France, a company can set their own payment terms and conditions. Usually, the first payment instalment is due upon the signature of the estimate or quote (estimate / quote = ‘devis’ in French). One example of a common payment schedule detailed in the company’s terms and conditions would be 40% upon signature of the ‘devis’, 30% 60 days before the wedding and 30% 30 days before the wedding. Another example might be 30% upon signature of the ‘devis’, 50% 60 days before the wedding and the final 20% within 30 days after the wedding. You should be aware that after a certain point in the payment schedule, instalments may be non-refundable. This is more often than not the case for the first installment.
It is of course advisable to read the small print in any company’s terms and conditions in detail before signing anything, however if they are provided in French, do not hesitate to ask for an English translation. Even if you are supplied with an English version of the company’s terms and conditions, you should be aware that only a signature on the French version will be legally binding. If a company or venue is unable to provide you with a copy of the terms & conditions in English, you could use the services of a professional translator. I very good friend of mine who has her own translation company in Nice, Serena Diiorio, is a French to English translator. Don’t hesitate to contact Serena by email or give her a call on +33 (0)6 31 54 20 93.
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You may not have thought about it but making sure that you are covered for any wedding mishaps may be a very good idea. Wedding insurance policies vary depending on the provider but the majority cover the following:
- Cancellation or rescheduling of wedding
- Bride and groom attire including rings
- Wedding gifts
- Wedding transport & the wedding car
- Deposits lost in case of cancellation of suppliers or the venue
- Personal and public liability
- The theft or damage of any equipment used by suppliers or the venue
- Honeymoon travel insurance
If you are using a wedding planner, make sure that they have public liability insurance (‘assurance responsabilié civil’ in French). Your wedding planner should in turn ensure that all suppliers are also insured. Marquee companies should be particularly attentive as any structural problems could be a health and safety issue as should any entertainment companies who book potentially dangerous performances for your wedding celebrations such as fire eating, stilt waking or snake charming.
If you are wondering about where to find wedding insurance, ask your housing insurance supplier or search online for a company specialising in wedding insurance. A few of the British wedding magazines I read recommend E and I Insurance. Bride’s magazine had a link to this price comparison website in their last issue: http://www.compareweddinginsurance.org.uk/. Wedding Plan, Protect My Wedding and Wed Safe also all seem to be a good insurance companies.
I have recently read on another blog called TheFizzCoUK that wedding insurance might not cover venues in countries other than the country in which you have taken out the insurance policy, so make sure that you check with your insurance provider before you sign up to anything.
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In France, you will be asked by venues, suppliers and wedding planners to sign an estimate / quote or ‘devis’ in French to confirm any bookings. A service is only confirmed and thus legally binding when the ‘devis’ is signed by both the client and the company providing the service. The ‘devis’ should detail each service or product provided with the amounts before (HT) and after (TTC) the addition of French VAT. The VAT rate should be detailed for each service.
The ‘devis’ should also detail the terms and conditions of payment and sometimes include the general terms and conditions which by signing the document you are agreeing to. The terms and conditions are usually only provided in French, however some companies may include an English translation (they will however only accept a signature on the French version for legal purposes).
Each estimate has a number which will figure on the invoice (‘facture’ in French) you will receive from the supplier or venue after the service has been carried out. The‘facture’ will detail any payment instalments already paid and any remaining payments that need to be settled. In the case that you order any extras that were not allowed for on the estimate, you should be billed with an extras invoice most likely apart from the final invoice.
The French are extremely strict about the signing of estimates; they will very rarely accept a verbal confirmation. In my option this is a good thing for the client too so that once a price has been agreed, you will be less likely to find yourself with any nasty surprises in the final invoice.
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