Wedding ceremony/reception place closed for renovating; what happens if they can’t reopen by wedding date?

April 6th, 2010

In January 2008, we signed a contract with a venue for a ceremony/ reception site. They only offer exclusive catering options, so we also signed w/that. A few months later, we started noticing commercials & news clips about the venue closing for the summer due to renovations; we also heard rumors that the place may actually close due to loss of customers! Anyway, we keep trying to contact the wedding coordinator about it, but she keeps dodging the question or not returning our messages in full. The wedding isn’t until the early October, but current renovations are scheduled until late September; too close for comfort! Two couples who recently planned to wed there were told by the company that their weddings would have to be moved, one to two hours away and one to 45 minutes away in order for their funds to be directly applied. Nowhere in the contract does it state anything about THEM cancelling, only what happens if we do. Can they do this? What are our options?
First, if they tell us we must relocate, what can we request? We are not willing to pay anything extra and we don’t want our guests having to travel that much further! Also, invites are all printed with current info and ready to be mailed out within the next couple of weeks! Basically, we want to know what we can demand and if we should get a lawyer or the BBB involved. Any suggestions?
It’s sort of too late to pull out. At this point if WE cancel; with only 9 weeks until the wedding…we have to still pay about 75% of the total bill. If we wait for them to move the venue; or whatever they propose/suggest…at least that would be financially covered under them and we wouldn’t be out tons of money.

6 Responses to “Wedding ceremony/reception place closed for renovating; what happens if they can’t reopen by wedding date?”

  1. fizzygurrl1980 says:

    This sounds like a shady operation if the wedding coordinator won’t return your calls after you’ve already signed a contract and put down a deposit. Legally speaking, if they end up cancelling your wedding due to the renovations that they did not tell you about at the time you signed the contract, you could sue them for misrepresentation. If it did not state anywhere in your contract that they reserve the right to cancel without notice, you could walk away with quite a settlement. However, if there are rumors swirling about them closing permanently due to lack of business, there is a chance that the owners will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, under which they are protected from prosecution. It really sucks, and I’m so sorry for you guys. Maybe it will all work out and they’ll get their renovations done in time for your big day. However, I’d start looking for a Plan B option, just in case. You may have to take this one as a loss.

  2. pspoptart says:

    If you did not make sure to put a clause in the contract about what happens when the VENUE fails to follow through then you are pretty much at their mercy when it comes to them making it up to you. That’s why I always tell brides to make sure that everything is in writing! They absolutely can do it. Of course it’s not good business and kind of shady but unless you can prove they swindled you on purpose there’s not many options. And trust me honey, the amount of “legitimate” excuses a person can come up with to explain why the renovations took longer or why you weren’t informed in the first place are endless. Your chances of winning a “misrepresentation” lawsuit are slim and the legal fees alone will far outstrip the measley amount you’ll get from what seems to be a privately owned establishment. In either case you can’t file any kind of lawsuit until after your wedding date passes and they havn’t honored their bargain or made a good faith attempt to do so.

    I would tell you to find a new backup now but you will be out some money whether you get your original location or not since nobody will hold a spot for free. Perhaps you can talk with party rental companies and have a Plan B at a local park or something? Permits aren’t terribly expensive.

    Legally you will have two options:
    1. You can choose another date when the renovations will definately be done.
    2. Accept a refund and find another location. Keep in mind YOU will be responsible for any extra cost for the second locations…if you can find one. Plus, your caterer may not service the new venue so check with her before signing another contract because the venue backing out does not mean you can back out on her.

    Of course your legal options don’t mean that you can’t throw a huge hissy fit, blow up their phone lines, and threaten to bad mouth them to every bridal source known to man. Personally, I would take the new location (provided it was similar in quality) and demand a few freebies like 10% off the bill or a free shuttle from the orginal spot to the new one so guests don’t have to drive further. As far as invitations if there is a change necessary you can simply have small business cards or post cards mailed to let guests know of the change.

  3. elbow17green says:

    If you are using a wedding coordinator and they won’t step up threaten to file claim or court case after their errors and omissions. Also, contact the company to see a copy of the contract and if it is silent courts would be in your favor most likely for the additional cost if they haven’t re-opened. If they are shutting down, or even considering I would act now.

  4. njunprincess says:

    If your coordinator cannot give you an answer, then go straight to the source and contact them directly. Express your concerns and if they do tell you to relocate to one of their other facilities, tell them that was not part of your deal or your contract, then find out how to get your money.

    If you are unsuccessful in your contact, call one of your local TV stations that has your “trouble alert” newsman and seek help that way. They usually can always get to the bottom of a problem and get it resolved. I don’t see the place closing permanently since they are going to such an expense to update the place. Make some calls and get your answers as soon as possible. Hope this helps and good luck.

  5. JM says:

    Time to get a lawyer. They cannot change the venue – since the contract does not say that.

  6. "Shakes" says:

    I’d pull out, better late than never. Better that than having it all crash down around you last minute. The contract is legal and binding. I’d find out when they confirmed rennovations. If it was before you booked with them then I would have a MAJOR issue with it.

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