Unfortunately, as the summer wedding season is supposed to begin, many couples have had to cancel their dream day. The impact COVID-19 has had on the hospitality industry has been devastating. People have been unable to get married after years of planning and businesses have been pushed to the brink. This is a reason some wedding venues have refused to return to deposits of up to thousands of pounds.
Here at BP Collins, we’ve spoken to our client’s Dr Perry Green, a cardiologist, and their fiancée Dr Seema Alaee, a respiratory specialist. The couple were due to marry earlier this year in Gloucestershire. This was until they were forced to cancel the wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic; Dr Green contracted the virus around the same time and has now recovered, thankfully.
BP Collins has worked with them to help them recoup their deposit. Here are the facts of the case:
Initially, the venue proposed moving the wedding to a date later in the year, September 2020, with an additional payment of £2500. But due to the couple being key workers, hospital doctors, and the disruption COVID-19 has caused, the alternate date was not possible.
After some discussions, the venue eventually made an offer to reschedule their wedding for 2021 without any extra costs. However, this was not possible for the couple either. They both also had their hearts set on marrying this year. They requested a full refund as the contract had been frustrated due to the circumstances of COVID-19.
In April, the couple were still waiting on a response, not only a refund. Eventually, their venue responded. They informed the couple that its offer to the reschedule their wedding was withdrawn. The venue went on to suggest, wrongly, that the couple had voided the contract. This meant that the venue refused to refund any deposit.
Alongside this situation, the couple had contacted their wedding insurance company. They were told that as their wedding was cancelled due to government regulations, the couple was not entitled to claim under their insurance policy. Under these stressful circumstances, the couple sought legal advice.
What They Said
Dr Perry Green
“Like many couples, we felt upset and frustrated. We’d been planning our wedding since July 2019, and we’d done a lot of the preparation ourselves including designing personalised decorations for the marquis and creating our own bespoke menu for guests.”
Dr Seema Alaee
“We’d put in extra shifts at the hospitals, working every weekend from November 2019, and whatever little free time we had was spent planning our wedding. I was also upset that my dad wasn’t going to be able to walk me up the aisle.”
BP Collins sent the venue a letter demanding the return of the monies. Under the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943, the couple were legally entitled to the return of their deposit. This led to an agreement being reached between the two parties.
The venue agreed to a settlement where they refunded £4,264.62. This was the deposit the couple put down, minus costs that were impossible for the venue to recoup. Settling the case quickly was a best-case scenario for everyone involved. It saved time, money, and removed the stress of having to attend a smalls claims court.
Perry and Seema still hope to be able to marry this year in front of their family and friends.
Dispute Resolution Solicitors
During any dispute, the most important question to ask yourself is: could a lawyer save you money in the long-term?
Many couples are being refused payments because of coronavirus-related wedding cancellations by their insurance company. Perry and Seema are a good example of how seeking advice can result in a fair outcome for couples.
Often, in similar circumstances, you may look at government guidance. But a lot varies on when the government issued the advice. A lot is also dependent on what is in writing within the contract between the couple and the venue. What is important to understand is if the contract has been ‘frustrated’, the venue should return your deposit. This will be a sum minus any costs incurred that are impossible for the venue to recoup.
Of course, booking a venue is one part of organising a wedding. Due to wedding cancellations, there are a lot of moving parts to discuss. These include caterers, photographers, or entertainment. The contracts may be more flexible than venue contracts. Always check the fine print. The most important thing is to always have a written contract.
If you have any questions please do contact us on 01753 889 995 or alternatively head over to our contact page to fill in our online enquiry form.