I had a customer that was not to happy with my payment schedule and it got me thinking. I require a 25% non refundable retainer when the contract is signed to hold the date. I then require payment in full 30 days prior to the event (this is spelled out in my contract which is available on my website). Now this is the first potential client that has ever complained (she is a photographer, has shot a dozen weddings, but admits to never being paid for any of them). I was helping her out in a bind (2 weeks before her wedding) for half of my base package because I really wanted to shoot the venue she was using. I gave her a link to my website and agreed to meet her the next day to sign my contract. I showed up at her house (she was moving and things were chaotic to say the least) she and her boyfriend signed the contract after he skimmed over it. I agreed she could call me that evening to wrap things up in regards to the payment. 2 days passed and I sent her a message, that's when she went off on me about how unprofessional it was to require payment before the event, and she advises all her brides not to pay until they see the images. Her go to response for everything I said was "what if I am not happy with the images".
We stuck to our contract and apologized but decided not to continue as the photographer.
That leads me to this question. Are we way out of line in requiring payment. I currently have 6 other weddings on the books this season and not one of them has even batted an eye at the payment terms. I see myself as any other event vendor.