Due to the restrictions currently on weddings and the uncertainty surrounding events in the future, many couples are sadly looking to postpone or cancel their weddings in 2020. While this is not only a distressing time for the couple who have invested significant time and money into the event, it has also had a major impact on venues and providers – meaning that arranging new dates and refunds isn’t always plain sailing.
We take a look at the five steps you should take when rearranging your wedding due to COVID-19:
1) Consider your options
While it may not be exactly as expected, is there a way your wedding can go ahead? Consider the size of your wedding party and whether it would be safe for your family members to attend. Talk to your other half, your family and others involved to weigh up the risks, the associated costs and what would make you both happy in the long run. This will, of course, all be dependent on what the guidelines are on your big day which are difficult to predict in advance.
2) Speak to the venue
If your wedding cannot go ahead on your planned date, your first port of call should be to speak to your wedding venue and ask about rearranging the wedding date or a potential refund. In many cases, the venue will be flexible due to the current circumstances and will likely try to get your wedding rebooked the following year. However, this may not be possible in some circumstances, in which case they may say that unless you cancel and accept the resulting fees, the wedding will have to go ahead as planned in accordance with the Government guidelines in place at the time.
Some venues have been known to cancel weddings without providing alternative options. If this happens, you are entitled to a full refund, providing you did not instigate the cancellation of the wedding yourself. If the venue does try to charge a cancellation fee in these circumstances, this could be deemed an unfair contract term and condition under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
To get your money back, make sure to keep an audit trail of all your communications with the venue – try to conduct these over email and letters to ensure this is possible – and if they refuse to comply you may need to raise your dispute to the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority.)
3) Contact any service providers
If you manage to reschedule your wedding, ensure to get in touch with your service providers including catering, photographers and florists to check they’re happy to accommodate the new date. Remember that this is likely to be a difficult time for them as well so whether you need to reschedule, cancel or reassess the level of service you need, work with them to come to a compromise that works for you both. There is no standard solution in these unprecedented times.
4) Getting your money back
If you don’t have Wedding Insurance or your claim is refused, try contacting your bank or credit card company. You may be eligible for a refund for at least some of the costs after explaining the situation. This is often easier if you’ve paid by credit card but it’s still possible for debit transactions. Your credit card is covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which means your credit card provider is jointly responsible for any breach of contract you’re subject to. For debit cards, you may be able to reverse a transaction through ‘chargeback’ – although this is typically useful for payments under £100.
5) Check your Wedding Insurance
If you have Wedding Insurance in place, it’s worth checking this with your insurer or broker to see what you can and cannot claim back on. If you’ve rescheduled the wedding, you may be able to move the insurance to the new date but this isn’t always possible. If you have any questions about this or something else, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Prospero on 0800 689 1370.