It was all smooth sailing until one of your worst wedding nightmares went down… The venue you loved and booked unexpectedly fell through. Gulp. Yes, you can totally give yourself permission to have a good cry sesh, but then you’re best off pulling it together and getting to work. This actually happens more often than you might expect and you will get through it (really!).
Venues cancel events for lots of reasons, such as unexpected financial troubles (maybe the company went bankrupt), a damaging disaster (like a fire or flood), or legal issues (like code violations or failing inspections). The bottom line is, it’s totally possible to find another venue you love, no matter how short the deadline. Here is how to deal when your wedding venue falls through:
Photo by Anna Pervertaylo Photography
1. Call all your vendors. At least the local ones, like your florist, cake baker, transportation provider and DJ (no need to loop in the ones who won’t be there on the big day, like the stationery designer or hairstylist if you’re going to a salon). Let them know your situation and ask them for help. These wedding pros have likely worked in tons of venues in your area, and they can use their connections to help find a location. A wedding planner definitely comes in handy here, but even if you don’t have one, other vendors might be willing to step up.
2. Get creative in your search. If you’re marrying in peak wedding season, you’ll likely have a tough time locking in popular venues like country clubs or hotels. So think outside the box (try one of these alternative venue ideas) and be realistic. Finding a space that looks like exactly like the historic mansion you’d picked won’t be easy (and may not be possible). Look into community centers, parks, or your own home or backyard.
3. Consider pushing the wedding back (or moving it up). Maybe you find another venue, but it’s not available on your original wedding date. Changing the day is possible, but it’s one more change to deal with. You’ll have to make sure your vendors are available that day, you may need to reprint (and even resend) invitations, and you might lose some guests in the process. However, if location is important to you, a new date could be your best bet.
4. Alert your guests. If you’ve already sent out your invitations, you need to let guests know the changes. Updating your wedding website is a good start, but it’s not enough. Once you’ve settled on your new venue, start making calls (or sending emails, if you are sure they’ll check it) to tell guests the new address. Don’t tackle it alone! Ask your wedding party to pitch in, and with each call, ask for your guests help, too—if you ask cousin Hannah to call cousin Alex, your job gets easier.
5. Hire extra help. Maybe your original country club or hotel venue included catering and rentals, but your new venue doesn’t. Perhaps your first venue was a garden didn’t need many decorations, but your new space needs some sprucing up. Start searching for additional vendors now. You also might need to book a new hotel block.
6. Exercise your wedding insurance. This is exactly the situation that wedding insurance was created for! Contact your insurance agent to find out what your plan will cover. Many times, it’ll help you cover the cost of the deposit on your original venue as well as deposits you may have paid for vendors who aren’t available on a new wedding date.
7. Review your contract. As a legal, binding document, what your contract says, goes. There might be a section about what happens if either party cancels the contract. That means you might be able to get your deposit (and any other payments) back. We know you can’t imagine adding a lawsuit and the cost of a lawyer to your plate right now, but you should consider taking legal action.
8. Contact your credit card company. If you put your deposit on credit, file a claim with the credit card company. While it might be too late for the claim to be valid (it usually has to be within 60 days of the charge), it’s still worth a shot.
The good news now? Things can only go uphill from here, and any other problems that might arise will feel like tiny speed bumps in light of this huge challenge. Don’t let it get you down!
— By Kristin Doherty
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