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Wedding Costs Contracts

by Wes Cowell, updated 30 September 2016 -- suggest a correction


When a wedding is called off, who pays for what?   Can a bride-to-be recover damages for the cost of the wedding dress, the hall rental, the  Illinois' "breach of promise to marry" law was abolished in 2016.   To protect your investment, let us prepare for you a Wedding Costs Contract.  Need Help?  Callleave your info., or scheduleschedule a consult.


Each year U.S. families celebrate over two million weddings.  The average 2014 wedding hosted roughly 135 guests and cost around $30,000.  Most of that money must be paid well in advance.  So what happens if the wedding is called off . . . AFTER you've bought the dress, rented the hall, paid for the catering, and everything else?  How do you get your money back?  


No Contract -- Step 1:  The first thing you have to do is stop the bleeding.  Call the vendors and suppliers and notify them that the wedding is off and you need to cancel the contract.  Get whatever refund or credit you can.


No Contract -- Step 2:  The next thing to do is try to spread the responsibility to the other party.  Without a "wedding costs contract," that will be difficult.  Without a wedding costs contract, you must prove that there was an oral contract.  Absent convincing parole evidence, proving an oral contract devolves to a he said / she said case; in other words:  a loser.


The Old Law:  Illinois had a "breach of promise to marry" law.  It didn't allow recovery of damages for mental anguish, loss to reputation, injury to health, nor loss of expected financial or social position.  It did, however, allow a jilted finace/ee to recover money spent for a wedding that didn't make it down the aisle.  Illinois, however, repealed the law and abolished breach of promise to marry actions, in 2016.


Now, if you're finace/ee calls off the wedding, you may sue but without a wedding costs contract, you'll face an uphill battle.  Your case must be proved entirely with parole evidence and common law theories of promissory estoppel and detrimental reliance.


Wedding Costs Contract:  The solution is a simple, written agreement that spells out who pays for what if the wedding is cancelled.  It may sound distasteful to bring up when everyone is happy and excited about the engagement, but when you're planning a $30,000+ celebration with 130+ guests, it's just common sense to give a little thought to Plan B.


Wedding costs contracts eliminate parole evidence and avoid the he-said / she-said about who-was-supposed-to-pay-for-what arguments.  Wedding costs contracts realign between the betrothed the out-of-pocket expenditures of a failed wedding.  Wedding costs contracts achieve fairness.  They can even allocate the costs to the one who calls off the wedding.


If you're planning a wedding, call my office to talk about the security afforded by a wedding costs contract.



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