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Planning a Wedding on a Handshake

Question: For our daughter’s wedding, we are working with a wedding planner who is also a family friend. The financial arrangement was made with a handshake. Have we set ourselves up for a problem? Answer:  A good rule of thumb is never hire anyone who works without a contract. Without it, you have no legal recourse if something goes wrong. By far, the biggest problem with weddings seems to be with banquet halls, where the salesperson made a verbal promise that does not appear on the event order form. You should also insist on a contract from the wedding photographer, any musicians and other professionals providing services. Never pay everything upfront, and pay only with a credit card so you can reverse the charges if the contractor fails to deliver.         For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to   Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit