You find your dream wedding venue abroad. It is perfect in every way.
It suits your style. It’s available on your dream date. It’s accessible. All the things!
And then the venue sends you the bill for their deposit and you cringe.
In these oh-so-trying times, it can be difficult to commit to working with a wedding venue.
What’s going to happen to that deposit if your wedding is postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus or any other reason?
What are your consumer rights? Would you lose that money completely and is there a way of avoiding that?
We’re going to break it all down today in this article.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I am not a wedding venue owner. I am just a wedding planner that works very closely with a wide range of wedding venues. It is important to check with your wedding venue directly as to how they are dealing with the pandemic and their own postponement and cancellation policies. The following article is based on my personal experience of working with wedding venues and having postponed or cancelled around 15 weddings and events over 2020 and 2021. Venues have every right to create postponement and cancellation policies that work for them.
Wedding Venue Postponement Policies
Overall I have seen quite a bit of variety in terms of postponement policies. I have seen three main approaches:
1. Amending the fee structure
Some venues are keeping the rates and prices the same, but may change the payment structure to enable them to have more money up front. For example, say you are getting married in July 2021, and you decide to postpone to June 2022. The venue may request that you pay an installment before your original date, and then pay the remainder before your postponed date.
2. Charging a postponement fee
Some venues will charge you a postponement fee for moving your wedding. This can be a % of your overall budget or a fixed postponement fee for all weddings. Postponement fees range from small amounts to thousands and thousands of dollars. It totally depends on the venue.
3. Movements without penalties
This is a bit of a unicorn, particularly if your wedding has been moved more than once. There are venues that are allowing weddings to move without any penalties or uplift in fees. Usually, this has a time limit. For example, a venue can quite happily move your wedding within the current financial year or place a 12month limit for postponements. Some venues may also waive fees for low season or weekday dates.
Wedding Venue Cancellation Policies
Here are the most common cancellation policies we have seen
1. Loss of deposit
This is the most common way that venues have been dealing with cancellations during the pandemic. If you cancel your wedding, you are likely to lose your deposit in total or in part. Sometimes the venue will do a full or partial refund but this completely depends on the circumstances.
2. Cancellation fees
This is one of the rarer policies to see but it can happen. If you cancel your wedding within a certain period of time e.g within 60 days of the wedding, you may have to pay a portion of your full balance or a cancellation fee. Be sure to check over your contracts to understand cancellation policies.