As per the Booking Package that our clients sign, clients retainer (50%) is non-refundable if the wedding is cancelled or wedding date changed for any reason. We are firm with this policy and wanted to write a quick blog post explaining why.
Eternal Reflections Photography is a wedding photography company, which shoots weddings full time. This is Kari & Radelle’s full time job. It is not a hobby on the side, it is what we do for a living. As such, the income derived from the success of the business is just as essential as some one else’s full time job. Without a non-refundable retainer policy, if a wedding is called off, cancelled or if the date is changed (to a date that we do not have available), Eternal Reflections Photography is out that booking & thus out that money. When we reserve a date for a wedding couple, we require the retainer & a signed contract. This ensures that the clients have committed to that date, and to either Kari or myself (we take separate bookings) as their photographer. Once those two items are in our office & have secured their date, we turn down any other inquiries for that date. Typically we refer this bookings/inquires to other photographers. So, by holding a certain date for a certain couple, we have turned away other potential business. There are some companies that will bump a couple (or cancel on a couple) if they get an inquiry for one of their highest packages. This is not something that we do. If you reserve our services and have chosen a $4500 collection (package) and the next day someone emails wishing to book our $9500 collection for the same date, the original couple gets to keep the date. We have committed that date to them. So, in fairness to us, our company, the company’s income and your contract, retainers are non-refundable.
Something else to consider. When you cancel your wedding with us, while it may be hard to part with that retainer money, it is also hard for us to only make 50% of what we “could have” made that day had you actually been married. By you canceling your wedding, we are instantly out the other 50% of income that we were anticipating (and that we would have had, had we booked another couple who didn’t cancel). So while it is disappointing for you to lose that money & receive nothing for it (in the way of photos), it is also disappointing for us to have a loss on our projected income.
One last thing, please note that a cancelled wedding & thus a forefitted retainer, does not mean that you have “credit” with our company. That money can not be used for a “family shoot, maternity shoot, newborn shoot, glamour shoot” or any such thing. Nor can it be applied to other future weddings, or passed over to friends. It is strictly forefitted monies.