hi friends. need advice/guidance/gut check. my wedding was scheduled in CA during SIP almost a year ago for next month, then we decided to cancel/ postpone indefinitely and elope. questions about contract/ deposit.
my now husband and I booked a venue last may for may 2021 wedding, then decided last july to just elope with all the uncertainty in the world. we let the venue know in july and they said they'd happily refund our deposit as long as they would be able to book another wedding on our date. in july of 2020, that seemed like a pretty reasonable expectation.
fast forward to now. the clause in our contract says "In the unlikely event that *venue* must cancel the event, the full deposit will be refunded to lessee. Lessee will be notified of cancellation in writing no less than 90 days prior to the event." we understood that as if our wedding was not able to move forward for reasons that we are not cancelling on our end, we would get our deposit back. the venue said that they are not cancelling, the state is.
unfortunately with this being a very early pandemic contract, the clause we added "In the event that a pandemic or similar event occurs and *venue* is not legally permitted to host events during the scheduled date of the event, the client will have the option to have the deposit fully refunded or have it roll over to a future date." since there is no timeline included, this basically is saying we should continue moving forward with wedding plans/deposits and if on the wedding day, they are not legally permitted to hold events, then we would get a refund.
we had a frustrating phone call around the 90 days prior mark and gave in; if 3 weeks prior to our wedding date, we were still in SIP/ can't legally have wedding, we'd get our deposit back. unfortunately for us, the new CDC guidelines were released and effective two days prior to the 3 week deadline. the new guideline says that the max is 100 guests, unless everyone is vaccinated/negative then it is 300. our signed contract is for 120 people, however we have people on our guest list that are traveling internationally so need visas, flights etc. aside from the fact that vaccines are still very difficult to get in CA, and who knows about their countries. we are being expected to plan a wedding within 3 weeks, and have all of our guests vaccinated/negative, book flights, hotels etc. and move forward with the wedding. this is crazy!
all that being said, the 3 week mark is tomorrow and i'm dreading having to be the one to reach out and ask for another phone call (the lack of communication during this whole time is also disappointing). it was a large enough amount to continue pushing, and hindsight i can't believe i was willing to pay this much for a venue. we were also required to book a wedding planner, which is another deposit paid and lost (no contract clause for pandemic). even if we did push to another date, i have SUCH a bad taste in my mouth from their way of handling this, and poor business practices. while i understand this is a tough time for wedding venues/events etc, they have a related business that is in an industry that is still bringing in boatloads of cash. it feels like we are being taken advantage of, their holding our money hostage, and also worth mentioning that they just posted about a beautiful outdoor remodel that was recently finished.