Wedding Cancelled because of Covid-19? Your Legal Rights

Author:
Robert Godfrey
Partner, Head of Professional Negligence and Dispute Resolution
Date:
24/06/2020

It can take years to plan a wedding but this year thousands of couples have had their big day cancelled because of Coronavirus.

If you’ve been affected, it’s important to know your legal rights when it comes to cancellations. Rob Godfrey, Partner and Dispute Resolution Solicitor looks at some of the key issues you may face if you were due to get married in 2020.

These rights will depend on whether you cancel or postpone your wedding or if your wedding venue and supplier do.

  1. Your Venue Cancels – with venues closed because of Coronavirus restrictions, your venue simply can’t give you what you’ve booked and paid for. First of all, check your contract. This will outline what will happen if they’ve cancelled your venue. You should be entitled to a full refund of the money you’ve paid. But you’ll probably still want to get married at your chosen venue once lockdown is over and the restrictions have been lifted, so you may want to rebook a new date with them.
  1. You Cancel Your Venue – before making the decision to cancel or postpone your wedding, you and your partner should carefully check the contract with your venue. They may have a cancellation fee in place in your contract which will outline what you will have to pay if you cancel. This will normally be a larger fee depending on how close to the wedding date you actually cancel. But, to be fair, any cancellation fee should reflect the loss that the venue would actually make.
  1. Your Venue Has Gone Bust – this may happen more regularly after lockdown and as a result of the prolonged closure of businesses because of Coronavirus. If this happens to you, you’ll have to ask for your money back through the administrators. This can be time consuming and you may not get it all back. You have two other options – the first is to try to get your money back through your wedding insurance but this will depend if bankruptcy is included in your cover. Your second option is only available if you paid by credit card. You could make a Section 75 (of the Consumer Credit Act) claim if the amount was more than £100 and less than £30,000.
  1. Other Wedding Suppliers Cancel – check your contract to see what it says, but you should be entitled to get any money back that you’ve already paid.
  1. Check Your Wedding Insurance – you may be covered for cancellations that happened because of Coronavirus, but you should check your policy or call your insurer to be sure. Some of the larger wedding insurers actually exclude any governmental restrictions such as those put in place across the UK. You should also check your wedding insurance policy to see if they cover bankruptcy by your suppliers, as many wedding suppliers will have been negatively affected by Coronavirus.

 

The legal term ‘frustration of contract’ is used when a contract can’t be fulfilled because it’s not physically or commercially possible to fulfil the terms that were agreed. This would apply to the situation you’re in because of Coronavirus and some of your Wedding suppliers. But you should consider carefully whether this applies to all of your suppliers.

Your venue is not allowed to open, so therefore your contract with them is frustrated, but your florist can still deliver your flowers to you, so that contract may not be frustrated.

You can see it’s possibly more complicated than it looks, but it’s important to remember that you have rights even if you’ve had your wedding cancelled or postponed because of Coronavirus.

If you need help and advice on getting your money back, please contact us.  

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