Can wedding venues cancel contracts due to renovations? 3 Answers as of March 17, 2014

My fiance and I signed a contract for a wedding venue for next summer and put down a non-refundable deposit. A couple of months after signing the contract, the director reached out to me via email saying the owners want to renovate next year and have decided to hold 2015 bookings until further notice. She attached a cancellation agreement for me and my fiance to sign, saying our first contract is null and void and we will get our deposit back. But we don't want to cancel the contract, we already booked a photographer and have meetings with caterers! My fiance said not to sign the cancellation agreement. Is what they're doing legal? I've read the contract it doesn't say anything about them being able to cancel the contract due to renovations. We're abiding by all the rules of the contract so they can't cancel it, right?

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Lawyer for Independent Media
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
Usually a contract can be cancelled because of impossibility. If they are renovating the place, they cannot hold weddings. To avoid any legal complications, they have asked you to sign the cancellation and they will send your refund. You have plenty of time to find a different venue. Places like wedding halls have to perform renovations every now and then to keep the place looking nice and also to keep up with building code and fire safety requirements. You might think you want your wedding to take place in a construction site, but that is not very pleasant. Take my word for it, I have stayed at hotels and eaten at restaurants and such where renovations were being done. It is a very bad experience. Do you want the sound of hammers and electric drills during your reception? I stayed at a hotel and convention center where the hammers started at 6:30 in the morning. Do you want your guests to have to walk far to a bathroom? Do you want areas blocked off with plastic sheeting? What on earth are you thinking? There are hundreds of other places to hold a wedding on that very same day. Being successfully married requires being an adult, including being flexible, understanding the normal disappointments of life and being able to change plans. If this wedding hall cancellation is too difficult for you to handle, take it as a sign that you are not prepared for marriage.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/17/2014
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Yes, they can cancel the contract because they can no longer provide you with the venue you've contracted for. They've given you well over a year's notice plus a complete refund of your nonrefundable deposit. You haven't been harmed because you have plenty of time to find another location for the wedding. Frankly, if the place is in such bad shape that they're holding off on all bookings until they get it remodeled, I wouldn't want to have my wedding there.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 3/17/2014
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