What can we do to not have to pay 50% and what can we do to get our deposit back? 4 Answers as of March 21, 2014

We signed a wedding contract with a venue but our vision has changed and we need to go with an alternate venue. The contract called for an initial deposit and a 50% of the anticipated food spend, if cancelled within 180 days of the event. We are 175 days away from the event.

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McAlpine PLLC
McAlpine PLLC | Alonzo M. Alston, Esq.
Contractually, this is a tough one because you've waited too late. You may need to see what the other portion of funds retained will be after missing the deadline, because they don't have a contractual obligation to you. From a practical standpoint you can threaten to sue, but you'll likely not get very far after the business consults with its attorney. Most times, you'll spend more money trying to get out of it than you would foregoing it. The key is to call and reason with them. Talk to the manager and explain your situation, why you're late, and ask if there are any other remedies. Don't verbally or orally concede any wrongdoing, but probe as much as possible about possible workarounds or options. A suggestion is to make is clear that you're active consumers and that you know how to use Yelp, the BBB, and etc. Therefore, you'll exercise your truthful reviews to deter future venue reservations. You, of course, should not make any untrue statements.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 3/21/2014
Hugan Law | Christopher Hugan
I cannot give a definitive answer without reviewing the contract. Based on what you have written, you may be out of luck. But, check with a lawyer in your jurisdiction.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 3/21/2014
Lawyer for Indie Media
Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
You can contact the venue and let them know you are canceling and see if they will give you the deposit back and not pay the food cost. If the venue is able to book the space with a different similar sized party, they might give you your money back. If not, you may be out the money. This is how wedding venues are able to operate. You are free to change venues, but it may cost you quite a bit. You asked the venue to hold the room for you, and they did. The venue has a duty to mitigate their damages. That means they are required to try to book the venue for your date so that their losses are less. However, the damages have been spelled out in the contract. If the venue has the ability and kindness to return your deposit, they will. Otherwise, you will be out that money for booking and then canceling.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 3/21/2014
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Assuming that you are an adult, you signed the contact and now you are bound by it. Talk to the other party and see if they are willing to return more of your deposit. If they can find another couple to rent the facility and the services on the date(s) you contracted for, they may be willing to return more of the deposit. However, they are entitled to keep whatever the contract calls for.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 3/21/2014
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