To avoid the spread of coronavirus the UK Government have once again banned wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, unless under exceptional circumstances. It is estimated that the wedding industry lost almost 5.3 billion pounds in 2020, with over 132,000 couples postponing weddings.
Many couples have transferred their wedding date from 2020 to this year. But with so much uncertainty still hanging over weddings, what happens when your wedding gets cancelled due to Covid-19? And what legal rights do couples have? We explore the answers below.
I’m thinking of cancelling my wedding, what should I do?
The current situation with weddings is overwhelming and changing all the time. If you are concerned about the impact Covid-19 will have on your wedding, your first port of call is to speak to the venue and suppliers. Try and negotiate a way forward, this may be postponing until a later date or cancelling all together.
Will I be insured if I cancel my wedding?
Check with your wedding insurance provider. If you have insurance, it is likely the policy will cover cancellations due to reasons such as your venue going bust or illness within the wedding party. However, it isn’t sensible to rely on insurance to cover cancellation due to Covid-19 as the virus wasn’t a notifiable disease until 5th March 2020, meaning it may have been missed out of many policies.
Insurance providers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. You may wish to contact them directly to seek advice regarding your wedding insurance policy.
What happens if my venue or suppliers cancel?
If your venue or supplier cancel your wedding due to covid-19, you will be entitled to get the money paid back for what has been cancelled.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer wedding rights. They state, if your wedding can’t go ahead without breaching local or national lockdown rules, the contract is likely to have been “frustrated” (section 1(2) of the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943), meaning you are entitled to a refund and will not liable for future payments. This includes rules limiting the number of guests, telling people to stay at home or requiring venues to close.
If my wedding is cancelled due to Covid-19, can the venue or supplier keep my deposit?
The CMA state, that the venues and suppliers must refund ”non-refundable” deposits, although they do have a right to subtract ”limited” costs for services it has already provided, such as a wedding meal tasting. A venue can also withhold money it has spent on your day that it cannot recover, such as on staff planning the wedding.
If you cancel your wedding, the venue is usually allowed to keep an amount of money that will cover its losses. For example, if you cancel two days before your wedding day, it will be unlikely that the venue will be able to cover all of its costs so will not be able to refund you all of your money.
If your venue or supplier requests to keep part of your deposit, they must supply a cost breakdown. If you are still in disagreement with your venue or supplier, this is the stage in which you should seek legal advice.
Can the venue charge a cancellation fee?
In the CMA’s view, the wedding venue or supplier cannot charge the consumer an administration or other fee to cover the costs of making a refund required because the wedding could not go ahead.
If you choose to cancel the wedding yourself then this is different and in some cases the venue may choose to charge a cancellation fee. If they do so, this should be outlined in your contract.
What happens if my wedding venue goes bust?
If your wedding venue goes into administration, you’ll need to register your claim for a refund with the administrator. There is no guarantee you will get your entire venue fee back. You may also be able to make a claim with your wedding insurance provider. Check your policy to ensure it covers this.
Jefferies Law are here for you.
At Jefferies we understand that cancelling your wedding day can be very upsetting and stressful. If you need quick and professional legal advice regarding your wedding, then contact our team today. Call 01702 332 311, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out a contact form here.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.