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Wedding Ruined by Coronavirus? Here’s What You Need to Know

William Wilde 1st Apr 2020 No Comments

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Has coronavirus ruined your wedding plans? Hundreds of thousands of people tie the knot in the UK every year, and the vast majority plan them well in advance. This usually makes sense – it’s a big event after all!

Unfortunately, no one last year could see the coronavirus pandemic coming, and if your wedding was planned for 2020, you might be wondering what to do.

Read on and find out about coronavirus and your wedding, and how likely it is you can claim money back. If your wedding is planned for later in 2020, you’ll want to keep an eye on the news. Read on to find out what you can do.


What coronavirus means for your wedding in 2020

wedding plans and coronavirus

The UK government banned weddings as of 23rd March 2020. As the country is in lockdown and practicing social distancing, big gatherings like a wedding during the coronavirus pandemic are totally off the cards for now. It looks like weddings of up to 30 people will be allowed from 4th July 2020 – but your ceremony and reception could still be cancelled for various reasons.

Venues may now stay shut even with lockdown easing. If the venue chooses not to open for your ceremony, you have a right to a cancellation refund (if the venue cancels, not you), or a postponed date.

if your wedding is booked for April, May, or June

cancellations advice

Is your venue playing hardball and pushing for your wedding to continue in April, May, or June? If so, they’re going against the government guidelines. If they’re insisting, you should suggest you’ll report them to the public health authority. That should make them realise the seriousness of the situation.

It’s vital you get in touch with your venue and other services you’ve already booked as soon as possible. Communication is key, so be polite but direct! Many venues and other services like photographers, DJs, and caterers will have their own business interruption insurance policies.

Generally speaking, many venues and service suppliers will be understanding and allow you to reschedule the date. They shouldn’t charge you more for doing so. If they do try to charge you more, be firm and tell them that this isn’t the standard according to other venues.

So, while coronavirus may not be covered specifically, a widespread infectious disease that requires a quarantine is usually enough for insurance companies to pay out. It’s always worth asking what the situation is in any case.


If you have wedding insurance

coronavirus wedding cancellations

If you already took out your own wedding insurance policy, of course you should already be contacting the provider. They might not cover coronavirus specifically, but it really depends on the company. So, do get in touch with them as soon as possible and ask if you’re covered.

Unfortunately, some policies have specific clauses and won’t cover you as a result of unforeseen circumstances arising from government action (like a lockdown). So, you may not be covered in this case, but it’s absolutely worth checking to be sure.

It’s a complicated and evolving matter. The insurance industry is trying to strike the balance of protecting their customers and stopping the insurers from going bust. This would be a bad thing for everyone!

Speak to them and let them know how much effort you’ve put into trying to reschedule things. If your or your partner is vulnerable, let the insurer know. This will help them understand how dangerous it would be for your wedding to go ahead right now. Even if not, you can still emphasise the serious risks involved with gatherings like weddings at the moment.

If you show you’ve made a real effort to reschedule with the venue, you may find there’s some leniency.

So in summary, it may be easier to speak to the venue and other people you’ve already paid in the first instance. See what they can do and go from there. If they’re willing to give a refund or you’re happy with a postponement, it may not be necessary to claim on insurance.

Of course, this is still a new and developing situation. It may be necessary to stay in contact with the various parties to figure out what can be done.


How to talk to insurers and service providers

wedding insurance

Remember, try not to get angry with the insurers or the venue and suppliers. Everyone is in a difficult situation right now, and understandably they’ll also worry about lost income.

Perhaps prepare a few bullet points before you call each of them, and remember to stay level headed. It may be a difficult negotiation, but you’ll get the best outcome if you’re calm and logical about it.

In terms of the smaller suppliers such as the caterers, if you already have a contract signed with them, look over it to see if there’s anything about cancellations. If it’s more of a casual arrangement and you’ve already paid a deposit, it may take some negotiation to get your money back.

Of course, you could make an arrangement with the supplier. Due to coronavirus, cancellations are happening up and down the country, so they may be keen to keep your business for a later date.

Perhaps agree that they keep your deposit and simply provide the service when you are able to marry later. As long as you don’t urgently need the money right now, that could be a good arrangement. It would be wise to get that agreement in writing. This will help ensure they fulfill their end of the bargain later on.

If the supplier says they can’t make a later date, they should refund you. However, they don’t necessarily have to. So, you’ll need to explain your plight to help ensure they do pay out. Explain the difficulty of the situation and the fact that because they couldn’t fulfill their services due to the circumstances, it would only be fair to get a refund.

Again, if you have wedding insurance, this may cover it. Check your agreement and ask your insurance provider about this. If all else fails, it may make life easier if you’re able to claim on that rather than arguing with the photographer and other people to get your money back.


What if your wedding is later in 2020?

cancellation advice

If your wedding is coming up later in the year but not in the next few months, you may be lucky and things may go ahead as planned.

It looks like weddings of up to 30 people will be permitted from July 2020. So, if your wedding date is any time from 4th July 2020, you are unlikely to be able to cancel without losing some money. That is, of course, unless you or your prospective spouse is too ill for the ceremony to go ahead (in which case, wedding insurance will cover lost costs in most cases).

Many guests won’t be able – or willing – to travel to an event for several months after July, however. If you’re finding lots of cancellations, consider alternatives to share your day with those still shielding or in vulnerable groups.

One idea is to look at options like streaming the service. Lots of people are now adapting to remote working and socialising over apps in everyday life. So, streamed weddings may become the next big thing!

Worried about coronavirus and how it’s affecting your finances? Read more below.

Ask a question on our messageboard

Got more questions about getting a refund for your wedding? Perhaps you’re not sure your furlough pay will cover supplier invoices for a wedding later this year – or maybe you want to know how to save money without having a wedding that looks budget!

Whatever your question is, hop onto our new messageboard to ask. It’s a great place to meet other Magpies and learn more about money saving tips and tricks. Take a look at the new forum here.

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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