COVID-19 changes wedding plans for local couples

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — This is the time of year when wedding bells should be ringing across the Triad.

Instead, couples are being forced to cancel plans, push them back and even cut their guest list.

Doing that can come at a great cost with venues reserved, caterers booked and florists planning elaborate bouquets.  

It all comes down to the contracts signed because each vendor and venue has it’s own set of rules for refunds.

“I don’t want to push my wedding back a year. I’m ready to get married now,” Miyah Torain said.

Torain and her fiancee have postponed their wedding day indefinitely.

“You don’t go into something two years ago thinking, ‘oh, the world’s going to close, and you’re not going to be able to have your wedding,” she said. 

They saved up for their special day, which was supposed to be May 2 at the Meridian Convention Center in Greesnboro.

Their contract allows them a full year to reschedule, but Torain is worried that won’t be enough time for COVID-19 to run its course.

“I’ve heard so many different rumors about us getting a new strand of COVID-19 at the end of the year,” she said. “What if it extends past May of next year? What if I still can’t get a wedding?”

Torain does have the option to cancel, but it will cost her.

“I wish I would have taken more initiative to look into a cancellation policy, but I didn’t think something like this would happen,” she said. 

Torain’s contract states, in part: 

“In the event the client cancels at any time prior to the even, all payments made to that date is forfeited.” 

Wedding planner Britni Botts says contracts are crucial, and couples need to read everything.

“We strongly have urged our clients to be mindful and aware of what the contracts with each of their vendors state, especially around cancellation and postponement,” Botts said. 

Many contracts say if a couple gives the vendor or venue less than 30 days notice of canceling, there will be no refund issued.

Botts co-owns A Touch of Southern Events and has been reviewing plenty of these contracts, while helping brides reschedule their weddings. 

She says clients should make sure there’s a specific clause in their contract before signing on the dotted line.

“A statement or clause that says if something happens, that’s an act of God or a natural disaster or something along those lines that could not be helped,” Botts said. 

She hopes couples understand that the businesses that help create a special wedding day do depend on these events as their source of income.

“We understand this is a trying time for you, and you’re really thinking through things,” she said. ”But remember you are contracting a small business. That’s food on our tables, and that’s our only way of life and living.”

Botts also says that clients should try and negotiate cancellation policies prior to making the final payment.

She also says she’s seeing some venues and vendors charge an additional fee when postponing events to help them recoup some of their losses.

Botts explains these businesses are missing out on two years worth of events as event slides are preventing them from booking new clients. 

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