HM Insights

For better, for worse: what is the legal position when your wedding is affected by the lockdown?

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has undone many of the best laid plans. Spring weddings in Scotland have been cancelled, postponed or pared back to an absolute minimum and summer weddings are now also in jeopardy as the uncertainty of how and when current restrictions will be lifted has begun to affect wedding dates far into the 2020 wedding season and beyond.

So where does that leave brides, grooms, suppliers and venues whose contracts cannot be fulfilled as anticipated?

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Contract terms

Every venue and wedding service supplier should have a set of terms and conditions which will govern how such things as deposits, cancellations, rescheduling and refunds will be dealt with in the event of unforeseen circumstances affecting wedding plans.

How these provisions are to be interpreted in the current circumstances will turn on the wording of the contract and whether the cancellation is a decision taken by the couple, a decision taken by the venue or arises as a result of frustration of the contract (when performance of the contractual obligations is made impossible).

Wedding insurance

Couples may have wedding insurance policies in place but the majority of these will contain an exclusion for claims caused by government regulation or acts. This means that weddings cancelled because of the government imposed prohibition on gatherings will not usually be covered. Some wedding insurance policies will pay out if the venue or supplier cancels the contract but venues and suppliers should take care not to assume responsibility for cancellations which are not their fault because this may lead to the insurer making a claim against them if the insurer has to pay out.

Contact us – we're here to help

We understand that it will be extremely disappointing for couples to see the time, effort and money invested in planning their perfect wedding placed in jeopardy and, equally, for suppliers and venues, who have built up reputations for service and desirability over longer periods of time, to see their livelihood at risk in the event of wedding cancellations this season.

Our specialist advisers can help with the legal issues arising so please get in touch for advice and assistance on your particular contract terms and factual circumstances.

Fiona Pask | [email protected] |0131 247 2517

Scott Kerr | [email protected] |0131 247 3336