A natural disaster on or near your wedding day has the potential to blow your carefully laid plans to dust or rain or snow. A weather event may require you or the wedding venue to cancel your wedding reception or significantly reduce your guest list. It leaves you beholden to your wedding venue for a refund. It is necessary to take steps to protect yourself in case of a hurricane, tornado, or Day After Tomorrow type scenario:
- Confirm that your contract has an “Act of God” clause that void the contract in case of a natural disaster and entitle you to a refund. Expect the venue to push back on what the refund might include, especially if food preparation is involved and the venue will lose money.
Bonus Tip: If a disaster happens before your wedding, and the venue does not make repairs to reopen in time, this is not an “Act of God” and you can void your contract.
- Add a rescheduling clause which allows you to use your deposit toward a new available date in the next six or twelve months. This is an easy out for both parties if the natural disaster is forecasted ahead or happens immediately before your wedding will likely still prevent travel.
- Make the bulk of your contract payable a few days prior to the wedding. This way you can hold payment for the unpaid balance and litigate over the remaining funds already paid
If the venue refuses to issue a refund in the event of a disaster, you should:
- Draft a letter to wedding venue and send a copy to the Better Business Bureau.
- Use judgment in leaving a review on their website or any other site. Whatever you post can be used against you later on in litigation.
If you hear no response, sue the wedding venue in New York Supreme Court if the damages exceed $25,000. The filing of a lawsuit will show that you are serious and the venue will be forced to address the issue and respond or be found in default.