A few weeks ago I answered a question from someone who wanted to know how to get out of a contract with a wedding photographer.
This week, I received a similar question from the owner of a banquet facility.
Dear Wedding Maven,
I own a banquet facility and my contract clearly states that the deposit is not refundable upon cancellation. Unfortunately one of my brides is cancelling her event and is demanding her deposit back because she did not sign the contract. It was an oversight, but the bride did give a check back in December and it was cashed into our business account. My question is…does the cancelled check serve as an agreement to the terms of the contract therefore not needing the contract to be signed?
I am not a lawyer, so I can’t answer the legal portion of your question. You really should have a lawyer you can go to with questions like this.
That being said, I still have advice for you (hey, what kind of advice columnist would I be if I didn’t have advice?)
The wedding business is built on personal relationships and reputations. If this bride has cancelled her wedding, she’s not a happy person. She’s either having money issues, or she’s been dumped. Either way, she may be looking for a place to put her anger, and you’d rather it wasn’t you. With services like YELP, and sites like OneWed offering couples the chance to write reviews of venues and vendors, an unhappy bride can do a lot of damage to your reputation pretty quickly.
If you think you have time to rebook your facility, then give the woman her money back. If not, it’s still in your best interests to try and work something out. If money is the issue for her, can you reduce the overall price of renting your place? Can you throw something in for free?
This situation certainly isn’t fair to you, but think about the larger picture, your reputation is definitely more valuable than the cost of one deposit.
For everyone out there, this is an important reminder to take any contract you sign seriously. This could have just as easily backfired on the bride if she found herself without a venue for her wedding.
Do you have a question about wedding manners, traditions or relationships? Write the Wedding Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org