Couples whose weddings are booked for Summer 2020 and are looking to postpone and reschedule for weekend 2021 – you’re late. You are likely looking at a weekday rather than a weekend for your new wedding date in 2020 or 2021. But being informed and late to the negotiating table is still better than cancelling your wedding venue outright.

Key Takeaways

  • Reach out to vendors quickly: couples and vendors alike are in this pandemic together.
  • Venue deposit: couples are likely to lose their deposits whether they postpone or cancel.
  • Force majeure: some clauses clearly express a pandemic excusing performance of both parties.

Unfortunately, you will likely lose the deposits and retainers whether you are seeking to postpone or cancel your event. But here’s why. Deposits and retainers are how wedding vendors maintain cash flow and keep their businesses running. Vendors require deposits to protect them from last-minute cancellations. Deposit is the vendor’s opportunity cost of providing that date to another couple.

Venue Contract And Force Majeure Clauses

“Force majeure” is a contract term by which one or both parties are excused from performing their contractual obligations upon an extenuating event happening beyond their control. Also, the party relying on the force majeure clause must demonstrate that performance has been rendered physically or legally impossible, and that performance is not merely delayed, difficult, or unprofitable.

The problem with the typical force majeure clause is that it usually leaves the parties arguing what specific events fall under force majeure. Some force Majeure clauses clearly express a pandemic excusing performance of both parties. Some force Majeure clauses list specific extenuating circumstances under which the non-performing parties will be relieved of their liability. Nevertheless, once you understand how a force Majeure clause operates, you are better positioned to evaluate whether to postpone or cancel your venue.

Duty To Give Notice And Mitigate

In any contractual relationship where there is a foreseeable loss, parties should give notice and mitigate their losses. The basis of the rules about giving notice and mitigation is the injustice of requiring a party to pay for losses which could have avoided by both parties acting reasonably. Couples and vendors are encouraged to come to the negotiating table willing to collaborate and reciprocate flexibility even if resorting to a force majeure clause.

Venue Contracts are often drafted using standard boilerplate provisions without much thought given to the extent of their use. If you have any questions regarding this blog or need legal advice, MEHDI AU LLP is a full-service firm that serves clients across the GTA and Ontario.

Disclaimer: Use of this site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor/client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for non-profit, educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly. MEHDI AU LLP has lawyers on staff who can guide you in these situations, contact us directly.

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Use of the site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor / client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for nonprofit educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. The use of this website does not create a solicitor-client (attorney-client) relationship. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly.

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