Wedding Venue Refuses Refund For Canceled Ceremony, Even Though It Books Replacement Event

Cancelling wedding plans can be a huge financial nightmare, especially if you’re already locked into big-ticket, non-refundable purchases. But if one of your non-refundable buys — the venue, for example — is able to fill the spot your cancellation leaves vacant, could you make an argument that you deserve some of your cash back?

That’s the question a former bride-to-be in California is asking after she cancelled her wedding only a week after signing the contract — and paying $5,750 — for her wedding venue.

The woman feels that she should get at least a partial refund, given that she cancelled her wedding a full ten months before she was supposed to walk down the aisle and the venue had already booked another wedding in the space she’d reserved.

But the venue’s owner refused, citing a strict non-refundable policy.

Under California law, one attorney explains to CBS News, if a vendor re-books the space and recoups its money, the woman should get her money back.

“The law would say that he was unjustly enriched to be paid twice for the same thing,” says the lawyer.

However, the owner says that while he did book another wedding in the space, it was only at half the price of the cancelled event.

The woman says she has asked if some of her $5,750 could be put toward a smaller event, like a birthday party, at the venue, but the owner says no.

She’s now mulling over small claims court, but the legal expert advises that they could have a hard time of it if the venue’s owner can prove he has not recouped the full cost.

While a wedding planner suggests to CBS that people look into wedding insurance, we think there are more creative ways to get one’s deposit back.

For example, back in 2010 we told you about a woman in Brooklyn who, rather than lose the $3,500 non-refundable payment she had paid to the reception hall, turned the event into a fundraiser for a local soup kitchen.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.