March 24th, 2021

Why Should An Attorney Review Your Wedding Contract?

Congratulations! You popped the question (or answered it) and now your wedding planning journey begins. As you build Pinterest boards and share the happy news with friends, you’re likely setting up venue visits as well. And with venue selection comes the singing of your wedding contract. While you’re excited to book your date, learn why you should have an attorney review your wedding contract.

Put the right to cancel in your own hands

As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, guidance and circumstances are ever changing. Social distancing and other restrictions may prevent you from having the type of gathering you’ve about since childhood. So how do you ensure your big day is pandemic-proof?

You don’t. Just like every day after saying “I do,” you can’t control how the coronavirus may impact your celebration. But, you can look out for these contract clauses to help protect your wishes and give you the option to cancel or postpone:

  1. Force Majeure – is a pandemic covered under a Force Majeure? An attorney can read the fine print to let you know! More venues are updating these terms to help protect themselves, but Force Majeure provisions may also protect you. If the venue is unable to host it the way you envisioned due to unforeseen circumstances, you want the ability to change plans, on your terms.
  2. Impracticability or Frustration of Purpose  – having to postpone or change wedding details can be frustrating! Moreso, when your expectations are unmet. If your wedding contract includes a frustration of purpose clause, it may mean that a breach of contract is allowed due to inability to “perform” or uphold an event as planned.
  3. Windfall – whether pandemic-related or not, you cannot be charged the full value of your wedding contract should you cancel or postpone. Additionally, a venue cannot arbitrarily charge you a penalty for cancelling your wedding just to deter you from cancelling. Have an attorney look over your contract to make sure a vendor isn’t taking advantage of you and your ability to cancel or postpone on your terms.

Keep your money in your pocket

“Non-refundable deposits” are a great example of terms found in an adhesion contract. If your wedding contract includes this or language that forbids you from negotiation, walk away and down the aisle elsewhere.

It’s reasonable for a venue to require money down to reserve a date; however, this doesn’t mean you can’t get it back. If that “non-refundable” deposit isn’t reasonably calculated to anticipate the vendor’s damages, it could be an unenforceable provision and you may be able to get it back.

When it comes to wedding contracts, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of legal jargon. A relatively small amount of money spent having an experienced contract attorney review your wedding contracts prior to signing could save you thousands on the back end. So if the “unthinkable” happens or plans just change, often the difference between getting back that “non-refundable” money and fending off unreasonable damages comes down to your understanding of the law.

Before you let a vendor/venue push you around, add a lawyer to your wedding party.

A member of the firm’s Litigation team, Attorney Nicholas Sandercock is well-versed in PA wedding law. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s advised countless couples dealing with postponed or cancelled events and contract challenges.