Wedding Cancellations and Postponements – What are you entitled to amidst covide19?

If you are one of the many couples who have had to cancel or postpone your wedding due to this pesky virus called “Covid19”, my heart breaks for you. I understand the frustration, the annoyance and the desire to have something so bad.

Making the decision to cancel or postpone your wedding date is one thing. But what refunds or reimbursement are you entitled to if one of your suppliers is not available, or you change your mind about something or someone that was to be involved in your day?

But there will be some situations where this won’t be possible:

1. You have postponed your wedding date, but a supplier cannot make this date:

If your supplier has spent time working on your event OR they have outlaid money for products that cannot be returned / reused, it is reasonable to expect that you will have to pay the supplier for these costs. It is likely that you will not get back your deposit if this was stated as “non-refundable” in your terms and conditions.

2. You have postponed your wedding date, but changed your mind about a supplier you had previously engaged:

Unfortunately, by law, if you change your mind you are not entitled to any money back. A refund comes when your product “fails to meet a consumer guarantee” – which means the expectation that the product or service will perform in the manner that you expected it to / it is claimed to.

3. Your wedding venue or supplier cancels on you and doesn’t offer an alternate option or solution:

If this was due to recent government restrictions (specifically to do with Covid19) then you are eligible for reimbursement or compensation. Under the terms and conditions of your booking, I recommend contacting the supplier directly to discuss the issue, possible options or your reimbursement.

4. You have decided to continue with your wedding abiding by the current restrictions (ie. decrease in guest numbers) but this means you need to cancel some suppliers (eg live band, car hire, security, etc):

Again, I suggest speaking with those suppliers this will impact. Every business and individual needs to deal with these circumstances with understanding, compassion and kindness so hopefully, this issue can be resolved fairly. However, whether you are entitled to a refund will depend on the terms and conditions of your booking contract.

Here’s my guide to assist you through these unchartered waters, based on the advice from the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission):

FIRST STEP

The best advice I can give you is to TALK to each of your suppliers. Dealing with a pandemic like this is a completely foreign thing for each of us which needs to be navigated with kindness and consideration from all parties. In most instances, all issues should be able to be negotiated in this manner.

In a nutshell, if your contract with a wedding supplier has been impacted by the new guidelines issued by the government in light of Covid19, you should have the right to postpone or receive a refund of some sort. However, should you simply change your mind, then this does not make you eligible for a refund. Similarly, if your supplier has invested time or bought products towards your day, you must be prepared that you will not some / any of your money back. The amount will depend on the T&Cs of your booking contract and the time of your cancellation.

Not only is this a difficult time for couples, but businesses are suffering too. I always believe discussing this (not via email, but actually face to face or over the phone) is the best way forward. Make sure you have read and understood the T&Cs of the contracts you have signed AND you have an understanding of your rights as a consumer. This will allow everyone to discuss a solution to the problem in an informed manner that can be approached with kindness and compassion from both sides.

Take care,

Nat x​

Images credits:

Wedding Planning I Iconic Weddings

Photography I Shoshana Kruger Photography

Florals I Green Vase Flowers

Celebrant I WA Wedding Celebrant

Hire I Hire Society