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Wedding canceled? How to get a refund

Posted at 11:03 AM, Jun 02, 2020

CLEVELAND — While large weddings are now allowed again in Ohio, the lifting of restrictions does not help would-be brides and grooms who had events canceled during the height of the pandemic, and some are now having trouble getting money back from vendors and venues.

For Kristina Finley, her dream wedding was supposed to be held on May 30 until COVID-19 happened and the governor said no to large gatherings. But despite a state shutdown, her mother Becky said her daughter can’t get her money back.

"She asked for a refund, and they said actually my daughter owed them the second half of the payment," Becky said.

The wedding venue still has their $2,500 deposit, half of the total cost. It offered new dates next year, but her daughter doesn’t want to wait.

"My daughter picked May 30, 2020, all the invitations, pre-engagement, everything had that date on it. And she said I'm not going to reschedule," Becky said.

When it comes to weddings and other events, every event center has different rules. Some venues will give brides and grooms a refund if there is no other option.

Venue owner Drew Hester said unlike many other halls, he has given full refunds to brides and took the financial hit.

"The emotional loss has been awful, you work with these brides for a year, and now they are devastated. And on top off that I am not going to say you lost $1,500, sorry," said Hester.

What you can do

Forbes Magazine said many brides and grooms are facing thousands of dollars in losses this year due to canceled weddings. It suggests people:

  • Request a refund as soon as possible; do not wait for the date to approach.
  • Ask if you can get a discount for a smaller gathering, if they are still open.
  • If they refuse a refund or discount, dispute the charge through your credit card if you paid the deposit that way.
  • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
  • If all else fails, contact a lawyer, who for a few hundred dollars can examine the contract and send a letter to the center explaining that since this is an "act of god," the contract should be null and void.

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