Coronavirus: weddings and other personal events

7th April 2020

With the coronavirus pandemic throwing uncertainty upon a variety of factors including guest attendance, catering and venues, aside from the disappointment and emotional impact, it is important to review your legal and financial position should the big day be postponed or cancelled.

Can my wedding/event go ahead?

In light of Boris Johnson’s announcement on 23 March 2020, no weddings or events can go ahead during the lockdown. It is important to keep up to date with the duration of the lockdown rules for guidance as to whether your date falls subject to this.

The government’s response is evolving on a daily basis in line with developments, and it’s uncertain at this stage how long the lockdown will continue for, or how shortly after that large gatherings will be permitted again.

If my wedding cannot go ahead because of the lockdown, what is my position?

1. Contact the venue and any suppliers directly to check their position.

You are often financially better off if it’s not your choice to cancel. You may also be able to recover any deposits that you’ve already paid. Alternatively they may agree to a postponement, the costs of which will depend upon the supplier.

If offered a choice of a refund or rearranging, think carefully. There is a risk that certain suppliers and venues may cease trading as a result of the downturn in business during the pandemic.

2. Review your wedding insurance policy.

As a policyholder you may be covered under the “Cancellation” or “Rearrangement” sections of the policy, for example if someone defined as a “close relative” within the policy is unable to attend the wedding due to contracting coronavirus, or the venue itself is forced to close in line with government recommendations.

We recommend that you read your insurance policy thoroughly, as the cover will vary. It is also important to discuss any potential cancellations with your insurer, so they are able to clarify your position. Also check whether liability is expressly excluded in the event of a change in law e.g. if large gatherings are banned during the time of your wedding.

Unfortunately most insurance companies have announced they will not be accepting any new policies for the time being, therefore it is unlikely you will be able to obtain insurance if you have not done so already.

If you require any legal advice on this matter, please contact us.

Please note that this article is valid at the time of publishing. This article has been co-written by Olivia Shenton-Taylor and Abbie Coleman.

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