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Contract knowledge crucial when planning wedding during pandemic

Posted at 4:30 AM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 10:51:08-05

TULSA, Okla. — As coronavirus cases continue to rise, the predictability of planning a major life event remains low.

Wedding experts said it’s important to make sure you're protected financially before handing over deposits for that dream wedding. It all comes down to your venue or vendor contract.

For bride-to-be, Megan Beard, planning a wedding during a pandemic became rather difficult.

"No matter what happens, we're still getting married,” she said through tears. “And then COVID happens."

It’s an obstacle no person or future bride could have predicted. The coronavirus wreaked havoc on an industry that typically relies on months of planning.

"We paid $1,000 in cash, and then everything was good. So we went ahead and got the florist, the caterer, the hairstylist and got all the dresses for everybody,” Beard said.

Beard and her fiancé planned to tie the knot in October at the View at Hillside Barn in Sapulpa. However, the ongoing pandemic posed a risk to guests.

"We thought we would just push it to make it safer for everyone,” she said. “So, we did."

The couple decided to push back their wedding exactly one year from their original date, hoping to keep deposits in place, but their signed contract only allowed for a 6-month extension or a loss of their deposit.

"That's a lot of money for us,” Beard said. “We were just starting out and everything, so that was really hard, but they just weren't willing to work with us at all."

Sharon Holm, a Tulsa wedding planner and owner of Tulsa Weddings and Design, said knowing the details of your contract is crucial.

“Communication is essential whenever you're planning a wedding, but 1000 percent during COVID,” she said.

Holm adds couples need to make sure they have everything in writing when it comes to planning their big day, and the same goes for wedding venues or vendors. What's written in the contract is typically set in stone.

"You need to make sure that you're abiding by the contract rules and how to cancel a postponement on your wedding date,” Holm stated.

She said with the uncertainty of the pandemic, some venues are willing to work with clients. However, deposits are also keeping these businesses afloat during a difficult time, which is why contracts are binding.

"We are all in that same situation to where it's revenue,” Holm said. “So again, I feel like they're being as compassionate as possible. They understand that it's out of the bride and groom’s control, too, as far as the rising cases."

2 Works for You reached out to the View at Hillside Barn, who sent this statement:

“The past year has been a challenging one for all of us in the wedding and event industry, as it has been for everyone. We are a small, family owned business experiencing many of the same difficulties faced by all families in these times. Our goal throughout this crisis has been to accommodate our valued customers who have been impacted by this crisis. We want to ensure that every couple has the perfect wedding day that they have been planning and dreaming of. Throughout this process ensuring our own ability to stay in business, while continuing to serve the customers who have booked events with us. Needless to say, accomplishing this goal has not always been easy.

Should a wedding need to be postponed, our policy necessitates couples have up to 6 months to reschedule from the original booked wedding date. The deposit is 100% transferable for this new date. Furthermore, any couple wishing to reschedule their event outside of that 6 month window, or cancel their event altogether, is free to do so without any cancellation fees.

However, in the case of reschedules outside of 6 months or cancellations, the deposits are non-refundable. Deposits are non-refundable in those instances because, generally, the cancelled date cannot be rebooked to another customer.

We encourage all couples to remain in communication with their venue. They/we will do everything in their/our power to accommodate concerns raised by the covid-19 crisis. None of us can foresee when this crisis will end and life return to normal. We would advise any person considering booking an event during these unprecedented times to consider the challenges. Each event should be joyfully anticipated, enjoyed by all in attendance and reflected upon with fond memories. We know these times are not easy and our hearts go out to those who have made the difficult decision to reschedule or cancel their event. For our part, we will continue to do our best to make every couples' wedding as seamless and memorable as possible.”

Overall, Holm said it's important for couples to remember why they’re getting married.

“Why are you doing this and why are you spending this money,” she said.

She adds couples should plan a wedding they’re comfortable with based on the health of everyone. If you're on edge about the risk, look at postponing your wedding before signing a contract.

Holm also said couples can try to negotiate a contract that gives you flexibility financially, such as adding an addendum that refunds your deposit or extends your wedding date in a specific time frame. Do this before placing your signature on that dotted line.

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