(Side note: there is a reason they always say ‘get it in writing’. With less money in our savings accounts and more credit-card debt, we are anxious to get back to regular work come spring. With the disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many people are checking their contracts to see if they include a force majeure provision and wondering whether it covers performance issues caused by the coronavirus health crisis. Many contracts contain “force majeure” clauses that may permit businesses to excuse or defer performance under a contract based on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. And even then, with estimates of extended social distancing and guests likely hesitant to travel, weddings that do happen after the outbreak are likely to look and feel very different. If you are getting married within the next eight weeks, make a plan now. “If you have to reschedule and change your plans it is ok to not be ok. A wedding is an expenditure of energy, time and money. This is a good time to remember that you picked your vendors for a reason; so be understanding as they navigate this uncharted and uncertain time for small business owners. When a contract does contain a force majeure clause, the main issue will be identifying the events enumerated in the clause and determining whether COVID-19 classifies as a triggering event. It’s likely wedding contracts have never gotten so much close reading—by so many people—as they have in the last week. (There is a 100% guarantee that shoved down feelings will function like a horrible jack-in-the-box, jumping up when you least expect them or want them.) She’s also written hugely viral wedding articles for Buzzfeed. Force majeure clauses are contractual clauses which alter parties' obligations and/or liabilities under a contract when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond their control prevents one or all of them from fulfilling those obligations. Eve Sturges (who canceled a wedding under very different circumstances) notes, “Also remember that stress can make us forget things; have your invitation list available so you can keep track of who needs to know.” And remember, when it comes to getting the word out, “short and to the point is what is important. Look to see if your contract has Force Majeure clause—some people call it an ‘act of god clause.’ You can read more about Force Majeure and COVID-19 here. Contact your vendors to get any available dates they have to rebook—and make sure you quote their own contract language when reaching out. Also, be aware that some of your vendors may be immunocompromised, or live with a vulnerable individual, and it might simply not be safe for them to shoot/ set-up/ cater your wedding. We’re about to lay out steps for dealing with a coronavirus wedding cancellation, but if you only walk away remembering one thing, it should be this: communicate openly with your partner and your vendors. It’s ok for you to feel devastated. These contractual safeguards are rarely tested, and included just in case those rare tragedies occur. 1. Stimulus checks are rolling out quickly — but only after months of negotiations — and here’s why it matters when the money hits your account, My mother gave me a substantial financial gift. It is totally normal to mourn that.”. These types of events are often referred to as “acts of God.” For example, a party who claims force majeure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but who would not have performed the contract anyway because of the substantial drop in the oil price, is unlikely to be able to claim force majeure. This Is What You Need To Know, As of March 16, 2020 the CDC has recommended that all events over the size of 50 be rescheduled or cancelled, the government has guidelines in place for no gatherings over 10 in one place, our best advice about wedding contracts here, who canceled a wedding under very different circumstances, What To Include In A Wedding Website To Make It Actually Useful, Meg’s Guide To Professional Survival in 2020, How The Pandemic Is Changing My Professional Life (And What I’m Doing To Survive), Look to see if your contract has Force Majeure clause—some people call it an ‘act of god clause.’ You can read more about, Know what is happening in your state and municipality, and realized that this is a very fluid situation. Anna Singer, co-owner of The Otherside Creatives, was able to move an April couple who needed to deal with a coronavirus wedding cancellation to a new date, and keep their entire vendor team. If you need 1:1 high-quality wedding planning support, the APW team has launched, And remember: if you need 1:1 help from a wedding planner helping you figure out a coronavirus wedding cancellation… or any other problems, you can, This Is The Easiest Way to Get—And Gift—Your Wedding Album, Get Wedding Deals, Support Wedding Vendors. And this is advice that extends to every couple, not just folks getting married in the next few months. In the United States, all contract law matters are governed by state law. In life—and in weddings—the nicer you are, the more likely people are to go out of their way to help you. Download PDF, Note! The league has told the MLS Players Association that it will trigger a "force majeure" clause in the agreement signed in January because the COVID-19 … 8 Unexpected Things I Learned Working A Wedding During COVID. Before March of 2020, that might have sounded like overkill, but now… well… you get why. Communicate open and honestly with your vendors—and understand this is putting vendors in a tight spot financially. COVID-19 as a force majeure. (Things are changing lighting fast, so do your research. First up, keep in mind: there is no simple step by step plan for canceling your #pandemicwedding. Div. ‘I called my father’s bank, and I was told that his sister was listed as an authorized person on his bank account.’. Force Majeure clauses come in many shapes and sizes and often depend on the proximity to a similar event. If you need 1:1 high-quality wedding planning support, the APW team has launched Hotline Ring, which offers 30-minute calls with the planners we trust the most in this world, to help you cancel or reschedule your wedding… or deal with any other kind of wedding-related problem. This is important as many force majeure … And by the time you’re reading this, likely all the above information is out of date. Clear communication isn’t a magic wand that will make this all go away, but it will help. But once you know your priorities. But three weeks into a stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, my job had me weeping for a whole new reason: I received an email from clients demanding their deposit back. Yes, that is exponentially sadder than a postponed wedding. While having a Force Majeure clause in your contract is no guarantee, if you have one, it’s a good place to start discussions with vendors or venues. I had no idea if the career I had spent a decade building would be useless in the post-COVID-19 world. I was prepared for another postponement, cancellation or “What do we do? If you do move forward, keep in mind that the situation will continue to change (and you might still have to cancel). I am usually very secure in my business operations. ”. These clauses, which may excuse contract performance in the event of an "act of God," likely are the easiest to determine your responsibilities, now that COVID-19 has ruined your event. You put your heart and soul (and wallet) into planning one of the biggest emotional events of your life, and now it’s suddenly not happening, and you have no control over this situation. Thanks for submitting. This notice requirement is complicated by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis and response. Although we’re still in this plague of uncertainty and financial instability, I am comforted by a hopeful refrain being used by my wedding-industry colleagues: Love is not canceled. From your venue, to the caterer, to your friend who agreed to help do the flowers as a gift, every single person involved in your celebration needs a written agreement. American colleges are facing a $130 billion dollar crisis. It is time to jump into action. Everyone on the planet is going through the same difficult time together right now. "Force majeure is a common element of contract law that deals with events that are unforeseen, things that you can't predict at the time of the signing of … And remember: if you need 1:1 help from a wedding planner helping you figure out a coronavirus wedding cancellation… or any other problems, you can book a call at Hotline Ring, and speak to the very planners quoted in this article. Huge parts of Northern California are under shelter-in-place orders, New York City appears to be next. A force majeure clause is a contractual provision which excuses one or both parties’ performance obligations when circumstances arise which are beyond the parties’ control and make performance of the contract impractical or impossible. 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