What happens if a wedding venue cancels?

If a venue abruptly cancels or goes out of business, you may lose your deposit and wedding location. Check your contract to find out if you're entitled to a refund or rescheduled date. If not, you can file a claim with your wedding cancellation insurance policy, if you have one.

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Can a wedding venue cancel?

Yes, your wedding venue can cancel your planned event. The typical "force majeure" clause in a wedding contract excuses signing parties from committed obligations due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond anyone's control. So, your wedding venue can usually cancel your event if a disaster or pandemic threatens their ability to host a large gathering.

Find out if your venue's contract specifies "no refund." Read the agreement thoroughly and ask questions about their cancellation practices. If you want protection in case the unexpected happens, wedding and event insurance with cancellation coverage can help.

Red flags when booking a wedding venue

Start looking at other venues if your top choice shows any of the following:

  • Consistently slow or nonexistent communication
  • Consistently bad reviews or no reviews
  • Lack of detail or clear language in contracts
  • Unreliable or inexperienced staff

What should I do if my venue breaches our contract?

If you experience a breach of contract from your wedding venue, reread your contract to find out if the reasoning they provided was one of the acceptable reasons stated. Depending on what's outlined in your agreement, you may be able to negotiate a new location at the venue, a different date, or the return of your deposit. However, if the venue breaches the signed contract and the force majeure clause doesn't apply, there's no guarantee the venue will allow you to reschedule your event. You might lose the money you've paid if you don't have cancellation insurance, and you'll need to find a new venue.

If you did purchase wedding cancellation insurance, start a claim with your insurer right away. If the policy provides coverage for your situation, you can use those funds to book a new venue. Learn more about how wedding insurance works.

Consider these tips before booking a wedding venue

  • Search online and on social media for venue reviews outside of the venue's website
  • Ask questions about the payment structure
  • Conduct follow-up verbal conversations via email for written confirmation
  • Read contracts carefully and understand any language about bankruptcy or cancellations
  • Find out if your deposit will be transferrable to another date
  • Pay with a credit card — that may help with disputed claims

Quote event insurance for your special occasion

Learn more about wedding and event insurance policies.

Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. Read our editorial standards for Answers content. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.