M
Beginner June 2018

Planning to sue wedding venue. Do we have a case?

Matthew, on July 6, 2018 at 7:26 AM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 49
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Hello everyone. I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible if I can. My wife and I got married a couple weeks ago on June 24th. We rented a wedding venue from an older retired couple. We were to get married outside on their big gazebo and then have our reception inside a big reception hall building. We paid for two days. The day before the wedding and the day of. We spent the day before the wedding setting up most of everything inside the reception hall. For example, tables, chairs, silverware, plates, signs, decorations, etc. I would say we got about 75% of everything setup that day and still had some finishing touches left for the day of wedding. Since it didn’t start until 5:30 pm, we had plenty of time.

The day of the wedding we head over to the venue around 6:30 am. We text the owners to let them know and they inform us that they lost power due to a storm the night before. Obviously we’re freaking out because we have no idea if we can have enough time to set the rest of our decorations up and hopefully still have power in time for the wedding. Well, through all the hoping and praying, the power never came back on for our wedding day. The entire morning, day and night, we had no power. We were trying to set things up in the dark the best we could. Obviously it was uncomfortable because there was no A/C and no lights while trying to setup. The owners offered no help whatsoever and in fact, because the storm had blown through the night before, they made US clean off their gazebo from
the flowers and dirt and water that made its way on there. Even though we didn’t cause the mess ourselves, they said since we paid for this time, it was our responsibility.

I was trying to keep my soon to be bride as calm as possible so me and a couple buddies went ahead and cleaned their gazebo in the event that we could even still get married outside. My bride was not able to get ready on site inside the bridal suite because once again, no lights or A/C. Our cake was all but ruined because the fridge stopped working. We had to spend hundreds of dollars on more candles to try our best and light up the reception hall. Overall, it was a very uncomfortable experience for our friends and family.

We ended up getting married inside the reception hall because it was still raining outside and even though the reception hall had no power, it was obviously the better option of the two. Not many people stayed for the reception due to the conditions. There was no dancing, speeches or really anything other than people trying their best to eat in a very dark reception hall. After it was all over, we spent most of the night cleaning in the dark so we could get back our $250 cleaning deposit. We got most of it done that night and came back the next morning to finish up the rest. We did. We cleaned everything spotless in that place. Luckily we got our deposit back in cash that day.

fter we sent them an email stating that we wanted half of the money back that we paid for a venue that was not delivered as promised, they said they would only give us $300 back and that the cleaning deposit would also count as an additional $250 because they stated we should have never gotten it back. They said that because one guest smoked outside in a non designated smoking area (even though they have zero no smoking signs up) and because they also found an empty beer can outside in the parking lot, they should have never given us the money back. Ok, well then why did you give it back in the first place??? When they handed me the money back, that to me was them agreeing we did everything we were supposed to.

Sorry for the rambling but we are planning on taking them to small claims and wanted to get opinions from different people. So far our family and friends all say we should and would win in court but of course they’re biased. We would like to get unbiased opinions on this. Also, nowhere in the contract does it state anything about acts of god or anything about them not being liable if the venue loses power. The contract just states things about what we are promised to get in our wedding package and about the cleaning deposit.

Thanks for your time if you read this. Ask any questions if you have any.

49 Comments

  • The Nuptials
    VIP July 2018
    The Nuptials ·
    You can surely try. Did the rest of the area have power?

    I would plan a small party local to you to really celebrate as well.
  • Mrs.Sanok
    VIP September 2018
    Mrs.Sanok ·

    Like Nuptials says you can try. I just think it wouldn't really go in your favor. The venue could not control the weather. Also if the rest of the area was out of power also it is not like there was much that they could do. Also if in the contract it does not say anything about if there is no power they have to supply a generator or anything. It is just my opinion. But I could be wrong.


    I know I looked at a venue and the only thing they did was flowers. She was not a coordinator or anything. She had a florist business also. When we looked she told us she was not responsible for anything but the flowers. So that kind of tell me that she does not have to supply anything to fix a no power issue.

  • OG Gretchen
    Super June 2018
    OG Gretchen ·

    The cause of all of your complaints was a natural disaster that the venue could not control. I believe you would need to prove negligence to win a case. Does your contract say that they will supply backup generators in case of power outage or that they would clean anything prior to the wedding? If not, it does suck, but they didn't fail to deliver anything and they gave you some money back. I'm sure it was hot an uncomfortable, but it wasn't like they didn't pay the electric bill and that's why you had no power.

  • M
    Beginner June 2018
    Matthew ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Some parts of the area had power and some parts didn’t. Nothing was ever stated either way when we spoke to them originally and when we looked at the contract. There’s nothing that says they are liable and nothing that says they aren’t. Because we lost power for the entire morning, day and night, even the simplest of things such as my wife getting ready on site wasn’t able to happen. Just seems unfair in a sense that they don’t want to take any responsibility for not providing us what we paid for.
  • Sarah
    Master June 2016
    Sarah ·
    View Quoted Comment
    It’s not their fault though so why would they take responsibility? They didn’t cause the storm or the power outage and they weren’t the only place affected in the area.
  • C
    Just Said Yes June 2019
    Chassie ·
    Absolutely take them to small claims! I do wonder though if there was anything in the contract about wedding insurance? I have to say that it is not your property and since the disasters causing you and your bride a wedding experience that neither of you deserved, it should've been covered by the owners' property insurance. Take every kind of photo, witness, copy of contract, and even the proof of what you paid them and what they paid back with you to court. Good luck and I would totally go with the small party or even a dinner somewhere to celebrate with everyone smiling!
  • FutureMrs.L
    Master September 2018
    FutureMrs.L ·

    You’d probably spend more,on court fees, than you did for the venue. It was a natural disaster, they refunded some money. I don’t think there’s a case here, especially since you received money back. You accepted the partial refund, So why now sue them? What more do you want? You got what you asked for from them, the judge is going to ask this too. There’s really no case here. However we’re not lawyers...🤷‍♀️

  • M
    Beginner June 2018
    Matthew ·
    View Quoted Comment

    Take responsibility in the sense that it wasn't our fault either. Why should we pay full price for something when we didn't get the full promise of what was in the contract. We're not wanting an entire refund for the venue because we still used it and got married. But you can't book a hotel, go to stay at the hotel, and when you arrive they tell you that they don't have power but you still have to pay full price. I think people are getting stuck on the fact that it wasn't their fault and out of their control. We're not disputing that at all. It wasn't their fault and it wasn't ours. Either way, you shouldn't have to pay full price for something when you didn't get what you paid for regardless of the reason.

  • M
    Beginner June 2018
    Matthew ·
    View Quoted Comment

    Sorry for the confusion. They offered us $300 back and we didn't accept. The only money we accepted was the $250 cleaning deposit because we absolutely should have gotten that back and they offered it back. I didn't even have to ask. Once I threw the last bag of trash away, they handed me the cash. We emailed and have been trying to work out a refund with them. They only offered $300 and said that the $250 they did give us should not have been given because we didn't keep up our end of the bargain on the cleaning deposit. As it stands, we were willing to accept $500 and call it a day. We started at $700. They said $300. We said we'll meet in the middle at $500 and they stopped responding. Completely ignored us ever since.

  • WED18
    July 1993
    WED18 ·

    While I agree that they should have cleaned off the gazebo, the loss of power was not in their control and I highly doubt they would be found liable. The only way to recoupe some of your costs is if you purchased event insurance. I'm surprised the owners didn't have back up generators and actually allowed you to use the facilities without power (how did that even work with your caterers?) I would accept the $300 if the offer is still on the table. Of course if you could always do an initial consult with an attorney just to be sure. Sorry this happened OP.

  • OG Kathryn
    Champion May 2016
    OG Kathryn ·

    Unfortunately, I think you are SOL on this. I am so sorry this happened to you, I have no idea what I would do.

  • Yoomie
    VIP October 2018
    Yoomie ·
    View Quoted Comment
    First of all, a wedding venue and a hotel offer different services and therefore have different cancellation policies. A venue has a unrefundable deposit when you sign and a cancellation with partial refund the closer you get to your date because they lose potential business for keeping your date for they only have one venue to rent out per day. In contrast, a hotel as many rooms to rent out BUT they do have a non-refundable one-night charge cancellation policy for no-shows and cancellations less than 24hrs from the reserved date. I'm sorry your wedding day didn't go according to plan but the reason was because of a natural disaster. If wedding venues that we're destroyed by hurricanes last year we're sued because they couldn't honor their contracted commitment, the Defendants in those cases would have no legal ground because the cause was a natural disaster. You choose to go head and have your wedding take place that day knowing that there was no power. The Defendants would argue that you had a choice and you made it.
  • C
    VIP January 2019
    Cassidy ·
    Power outage due to a storm is in no way their fault. You still used their facility for the wedding. You technically got what you paid for.
    Would I be extremely upset? Yes
    should they have helped clean up Mess from the storm? Yes it would have been nice.
    I think you need to accept the $300 and move on. They say rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck. Years from now this will be a story to laugh about, how you got married in the dark!
  • M
    Beginner June 2018
    Matthew ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Thank you for you take on this. We definitely see it differently but there’s nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree. As far as choosing to have the wedding that day, we had no choice. We already set 75% of our decorations up, had a good order in place and had guests travel from out of town they were leaving the next day. There was no other choice when learning the day of our wedding that the venue lost power. And to go back to it wasn’t their fault, I agree. I’ve agreed with everyone so far who’s stated it wasn’t their fault. But it wasn’t ours either. It was no ones fault. We didn’t get what we paid for and we feel like we deserve some kind of compensation for it. They are a business and did not provide what they promised to provide. Doesn’t matter the reason. We are being very reasonable on what we’re asking for. Especially after the extra cost for candles which was well over $200 and the ruined wedding cake.
  • M
    Beginner June 2018
    Matthew ·
    *Food order not good order.
  • Sarah
    Master June 2016
    Sarah ·
    View Quoted Comment
    In order to be compensated for those things though you’re going to have to prove that negligence caused them. You can’t just say “well a storm knocked the power out” and get your money back. The venue isn’t liable for a storm knocking the power out. They can’t help that. There’s nothing they could have done differently to make that not happen. Should they have generators? Sure. If that wasn’t addressed in your contract though it doesn’t fall in your favor.
  • Sarah
    Master June 2016
    Sarah ·
    Also, the reason DOES matter. If, as someone above mentioned, they hadn’t paid the electric bill, you’d 100% be entitled to compensation. The weather is not in anyone’s control though.
  • OG Kathryn
    Champion May 2016
    OG Kathryn ·

    Well unfortunately you will find in court, the reason DOES matter. A storm is out of anyone control, its not that their power just went out.


    I'd take the $300 they offered and call it a day.

  • FutureMrs.L
    Master September 2018
    FutureMrs.L ·
    View Quoted Comment

    “ I’ve agreed with everyone so far who’s stated it wasn’t their fault. But it wasn’t ours either. It was no ones fault. ”—— Yet you’re suing them.... They gave you the $250, offfered another three hundred.

    In your earlier comment you stated: “As it stand we were willing to accept $500 and call it a day.”; Yet you’re not willing to accept that. They gave you $250, offered another $300, thus the total coming to $550. You’ve refused the $300, so you’re obviously not willing to accept the $500 that you stated above.


    You’ve stated it’s not your fault, it’s not their fault, yet you want to hold them financially responsible and at fault. These are contradicting statements. You can’t hold someone liable for something they have zero control over, such as a natural disaster. It was raining outside, there should have been a plan B, there should always be a Plan B when it comes to outside weddings.

    Couples lost entire venues last year due to hurricanes. One couple on here married just before Irma hit the west coast of Florida. One couple married locally after Irma with zero power, they didn’t sue the venue. Some couples had to completely reschedule their wedding due to damage and flooding.


    While I’m sorry you’re upset about your day and they didn’t help to clean up, you got married to your wife. You’re focusing on the negative, refusing to accept their offer, which coincides with what you said you’d accept. You married your love, you’re starting your marriage. Either accept their offer, and let this go, or spend more money in small claims court to lose this case. Personally, I’d accept the offer and let it go, with focusing on my marriage.

  • OG Kathryn
    Champion May 2016
    OG Kathryn ·

    What is the name of this venue?

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