Katie Robinson and Eric Colvin were due to get married last August on a Saturday with a reception at Liberty House in Jersey City.
But when the wedding had to be postponed due to COVID shutdowns, the couple got into an argument with the venue. After failing to agree on new dates – they were offered weekdays, for example – the couple asked for a refund of their $ 20,000 deposit.
The venue declined.
The couple are among dozens of brides and grooms who reached out to NJ Advance Media during the pandemic, saying their venues would not return deposits, sometimes worth tens of thousands of dollars, if parties had to be canceled because of the virus. Dates have been postponed, postponed, and rescheduled again, but indoor gathering boundaries have thwarted many of the plans. Many filed lawsuits to try to get their money back.
A new bill would help couples who couldn’t have their large and expensive wedding receptions.
The bill, S2896, requires the venues to reimburse all payments for an event that was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not limited to weddings but also includes bar and bat mitzvahs, sweet 16s, and other large parties. The accompanying invoice A4658 is in the meeting.
Emergency restrictions caused by the spread of the deadly coronavirus created chaos and confusion and toppled the best plans of many New Jersey people. These restrictions resulted in weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays and many other celebrations or activities being canceled, “Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth), one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement. “It is only fair that people who have paid fees or made deposits and were then forced to cancel plans through no fault of their own can request a refund due to exceptional circumstances.”
He said the bill would require vendors and companies to “act honestly, responsibly, and do the right thing for customers in an impossible position and in situations beyond their control.”
“While it is still difficult to see times economically, it is the best way for all of us to build goodwill and show good faith in order to rebuild our economy and keep it going over time,” he said.
Robinson, who married Colvin in a ceremony elsewhere last summer, said the bill helped her. In the end, Liberty House kept 15% of her deposit.
“At the time, we were happy to get at least $ 17,000 back from our deposit, but as the bride and groom who have had the agony of battling a heartless wedding venue for money they couldn’t keep, we are thrilled. that laws are being considered to protect other couples from this hardship, “said Robinson. “It’s disappointing and stressful enough when your wedding hopes and dreams fall to pieces and an uncooperative or unscrupulous wedding venue takes your bail hostage – while preventing you from funding an alternative solution – is a heartbreak no one should experience . ”
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Karin Price Mueller can be reached at [email protected]