Wedding Venue Contracts and Covid-19 Can I Cancel The Contract?

Wedding Venue Contracts and Covid-19 Can I Cancel The Contract?  This seems to be a common question I am asked. 

Covid-19 Wedding

Force Majeure

Sometimes contracts contain a force majeure clause that allows for the cancellation of a contract.   Even absent a force majeure clause there are other  legal doctrines that may allow parties to cancel a contract.

Frustration of purpose.

Frustration of purpose deals with “the problem that arises when a change in circumstances makes one party’s performance virtually worthless to the other . . . .”   This legal doctrine first arose in 1903, when an owner of a London apartment advertised it for rent to observe the King’s coronation parade.  Responding to the advertisement, the renter paid a deposit and agreed to rent the apartment for two days. When the government postponed the coronation parade,  the renter refused to pay the balance of the rent. The court held that the contract to rent the apartment was premised on the occurrence of the King’s coronation parade.  No coronation parade, no obligation to pay the remaining rent.

With a wedding venue contract the question to ask is whether there are any government restrictions on public gatherings or government closures of non-essential businesses.    Assuming there is a government closure or executive order that order that would make event illegal could be legal grounds to undue the contract.

Then there is Impracticability

Impracticability of performance is a legal doctrine that when certain events occur after parties enter into a contract that  constitute an impediment to performance by either party.  Traditionally, Courts apply the doctrine to three categories of supervening events.  These events are death or incapacity of a person necessary for performance, destruction of a specific thing necessary for performance, and prohibition or prevention by law.

While you maybe able to cancel your wedding contract, you likely would still have to forfeit your deposit.  If the contract provides the deposit is non-refundable, despite Covid-19 you are likely going to lose the deposit.  The best idea is to contact an attorney to review your contract prior to making any decision.

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