Q: My fiancée and I booked a wedding venue after getting engaged, but then I found out he was having an affair with my brother and I called the wedding off. The venue is now refusing to return the large deposit I paid and my fiancée is refusing to give me with his half of the cost of the cancelled hire. Firstly, how can the venue charge me for the cancellation and secondly why hasn’t my ex-fiancée suffered any loss given that it is his fault the wedding has been called off?
A: People are often surprised to learn of the hefty charges that can be applied to special events cancellations but, from a legal point of view, all arrangements for a wedding, including venue hire, flower displays and catering, are subject to the law of contracts.
Given the large demand for wedding venues, particularly in the summer months, it is not at all surprising to hear you have lost your deposit in this way. By providing a deposit and reserving a date you will have entered into a contract with the venue, causing you to be bound by various terms. It is normal for such a contract to contain a cancellation term, which in this case the venue has clearly exercised. Whilst it may be frustrating, the reason for the cancellation of your wedding is clearly of no interest to the venue. The reason you have lost the deposit monies and your ex-fiancée has not, is likely to be due to the fact that the contract was made between you and the venue, and your ex-fiancée signed nothing.
There may be a possibility of recovering the deposit and recovering monies from your ex. To this end you should make an appointment with a Solicitor as soon as possible to move things forward.