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14 wedding nightmares and how to deal with them

Common wedding problems and what you can do about them

With all of the planning that goes into your wedding day it should run smoothly, with every perfectly organised detail going to plan.

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Unfortunately, there are occasionally unavoidable bumps in the road. We spoke to Sarah Garner, a solicitor at DAS Law, about how to handle any wedding planning issues you might come across. 

From your wedding venue cancelling, to your wedding dress not turning up on time, here’s how to handle dreaded wedding nightmares. 

Problems with your wedding venue

What to do if your wedding venue cancels

If the wedding venue has failed to provide the service that you contracted and have paid for, you would be able to argue that they have breached the contract.

Remedies for breach of contract include a full or partial refund. The aim is to put you back in the position you were in prior the breach. Therefore it can be possible to pursue the venue for any additional costs associated in transferring the wedding to a similar standard venue.

The appearance of the venue has changed since my viewing and I don’t like it anymore. Can I cancel my reservation and get my deposit back?

In order to cancel the reservation and obtain a refund, you would have to argue that there has been a breach of contract, and that the breach is sufficiently serious to bring the contract to an end. The change in appearance of the venue would have to be quite significant in order to argue that the contract is brought to an end.

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Image | Getty

Problems with your wedding dress

I bought my wedding dress and had it professionally altered at the store but it doesn’t fit me properly and they are refusing to do any complimentary alterations. Do I have to pay for alterations or are they obligated to provide this as part of the service?

If the store has failed to provide the service that you have agreed with them or failed to provide the service with reasonable care and skill, you would be able to argue that they have breached the contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The store would be required to provide the service that you have paid for at no additional cost. This would not be the case, however, if the store has made the alterations as agreed, and the bride had changed her mind about those alterations.

The wedding dress I ordered didn’t arrive in time and the shop has a no refund policy. How can I get my money back?

If you place an order for an item to arrive by a certain date, and delivery within the initial time frame is essential, then if that item does not arrive this could be argued to constitute a breach of contract. Due to the nature of the event, the timescale is likely to form an essential part of the contract. If the trader fails to meet the initial delivery period you may treat the contract as being at an end. The fact that the shop has a no refund policy will not override a claim for breach of contract where the shop has failed to provide the goods you have paid for.

The wedding dress I received from the dress maker was not what I ordered. What legal action can I take?

If the dressmaker has failed to provide the goods that you have requested, you would be able to argue that they have breached the contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Remedies for breach of contract include full refund, partial refund or to be provided with the original dress that was ordered.

Problems with your wedding photographer

The photographer/videographer did not produce good quality photos or videos of my wedding and is refusing to give back what we paid. What legal action can I take?

If the photographer has failed to provide the goods/service that you have requested or failed to provide the service with reasonable care and skill, you would be able to argue that they have breached the contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Remedies for breach of contract in this instance would include full or partial refund.

The photographer turned up late and missed the ceremony, I have already paid for their services, can I request a refund or partial refund?

If the photographer has failed to provide the service that you have paid for, you would be able to argue that they have breached the contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Remedies for breach of contract include full or partial refund.

The photographer has added some extra fees to our bill and is holding our wedding photos hostage until we pay. What legal action can I take to get my photos?

If you were provided with a fixed price by the photographer and they did not make you aware of any additional fees prior to the contract being entered into, then they are unable to withhold your photos. If they fail to provide them you would have to obtain an order from the county court for them to be given to you. This is a form of injunction known as a ‘Delivery up order’.

I don’t want the photographer to use my wedding photographs for promotional purposes or put them on social media. Who owns my wedding photographs and videos?

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, legally the creator of the image holds the copyright. In order to be able to reproduce images from your wedding you should ensure that you obtain a licence of use from the photographer. It is possible to purchase the copyright from your photographer and this should be negotiated and confirmed in writing as part of the contract. If the photographer holds the copyright to your wedding photos, they may be free to use those images for promotional purposes or on social media. If you do not wish this to happen then you should ensure that this is outlined in the contract before the wedding takes place.

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Image | Getty

Problems with your wedding caterer

If the food at my wedding was not of the same quality at the tasting, can I insist on my money back?

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods supplied should be of a satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and matching a sample. If the food was not of the same standard it may be possible to argue that there has been a breach of contract. It is unlikely that you would be entitled to a full refund as the food provided would have been consumed, however you may be entitled to pursue a claim for a reduction in the price due to the poor quality of food that was served.

A guest requested a specific meal as they have allergies but they were given the wrong dish by the staff and had an allergic reaction. Can I be sued?

If the venue was made aware of specific meal requirements due to a guest having an allergy and they provided the wrong food, the guest could potentially have a legal claim for personal injury against the venue. Therefore, if you had passed on the information about the allergy to the venue, you would not be liable for their mistake.

The food wasn’t cooked properly and some of the wedding guests got food poisoning.

In the event that guests suffer food poisoning through the negligence of the caterers not cooking the food properly, the guests may have a claim for personal injury against the catering staff or the wedding venue. You would not be responsible for the poor standard of the caterers.

The catering staff didn’t prepare enough food even though they were given exact guest numbers. What can I do?

If the caterer has failed to provide the service that you have paid for, you would be able to argue that they have breached the contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Remedies for breach of contract include full or partial refund. You could therefore pursue a refund for the number of guests not catered for.

Problems with your wedding hair-stylist or make-up artist

I booked a hairstylist/makeup artist for my wedding but they did an awful job and it ruined my big day. What legal action can I take against them?

If the hairstylist/makeup artist has failed to provide the service that you have requested, you would be able to argue that they have breached the contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Remedies for breach of contract include full, partial refund or specific performance where they should provide the service again at no additional cost.

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READ MORE: Rain on your wedding day: How to stop bad weather ruining your big day