Event Planning Training: Managing Liability
As an event planner, you’re responsible for the most important day(s) of people’s lives. Whether it’s planning the perfect wedding, birthday party or other milestone event, it’s your job to make sure things go off without a hitch!
But what happens when something goes wrong? Are you responsible for the fallout? What if it’s something out of your control? That’s where the question of liability comes into the picture. Often, clients will look to you as the event planner to be responsible for every little detail of the event. While that’s a good thing, you don’t want to become liable for event planning disasters that are out of you control!
In your event planner training, you’ll learn how to manage your liability as the event planner. Let’s take a look at a few key points today.
The number one element that will protect you from liability will be your event planner insurance. Your insurance will likely include a liability clause which will protect you from negligence or other situations where you’re actually responsible for disasters that arise from your event planning process. Of course, your event planning training will also protect you from those situations (in fact, it’ll ensure most situations never arise).
Your Event Planner Contract
Your Event Planner Contract will likely have several clauses in it that will also protect you from liability from doing your job. These will include an indemnification clause, protecting you against unruly or inebriated guests taking advantage of the open bar, guests tripping over wires leading to the DJ booth, or other issues that are completely our of your hands. With luck and good planning, the vendor will be equally immune from frivolous lawsuits driven by irresponsible guests. This includes:
- Unforeseen weather events including thunderstorms, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, etc.
- Venue issues including electrical/plumbing problems, etc.
- Vendor problems including no-shows, issues with products and services, etc.
- and more
Beyond your insurance and contract, there are steps you can take to limit your liability in most cases.
Vetting your vendors
Insurance or not, clients will typically blame you if you connect them with a less-than-reputable vendor. For that reason, friendships stop where your professional reputation starts. As a reputable event planner, you shouldn’t recommend any vendor to clients unless they’ve been properly tested and vetted by other planners/venues/clients.
- Visit vendors in person (or virtually) whenever you can and make sure you ask them about past jobs and how they deal with typical event mishaps
- Make sure vendors have up-to-date insurance of their own that include liability clauses that don’t depend on yours
- Carefully review a vendor’s reviews and if possible, interview past clients directly to make sure they are trustworthy
By taking these steps, you can ensure any vendor you recommend to clients is more likely to be a reputable one who won’t become a disaster on the big day.
In the end, it’s the client’s choice!
Your job as the event planner is to facilitate the client’s choices by coordinating different vendors. But at the end of the day, you have to let the client make the final call about whether or not to hire a specific vendor. This comes complete with having independent contracts with each vendor. This might be annoying at first. It means you can’t be in control of every little detail! But it also means that you’re not responsible for messes created by different vendors since they all have individual contracts with the client.
The caterer that gave all the guests food poisoning? Not your fault. The photographer who forgot to charge the video camera? Take it up with them. The florist who didn’t anticipate frost the night before the wedding? #SorryNotSorry. Now of course, as a competent event planner you’ve already put in place contingency plans for most of these events, but you’re not legally responsible for the financial fallout of any of these disasters!
Keeping the client engaged in every part of the decision process – and making your opinions crystal clear every step of the way – is actually your best defense against liability claims.