Help! My wedding venue has gone into administration!

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Help! My wedding venue has gone into administration!

Like many wedding couples, you may currently feel like you are part of a circus juggling act. With each successive lockdown announcement, you feverishly consult your calendar, highlight potential new dates for your big day then contact all of your suppliers to find out if they are available. With multiple suppliers as part of the equation, getting all of them onboard for a rescheduled date can be a difficult task, especially as other wedding couples will be in the exact same position and trying to source other quality wedding service professionals.

Being proactive, you may have found “second call” florists, table dressers, caterers and even wedding band entertainment – service providers who are on standby just in case your preferred option isn’t available should you need to look at another date for your wedding reception. And while it’s certainly not ideal to have to compromise when it comes to your big day, if you have managed to do this, it’s preferable to having a great big hole where there should be someone providing you with a specific service. It also means that you can congratulate yourself on being farsighted, logical and organised.

However, when it comes to your choice of wedding venue, the normal rules do not apply. As you know, the perfect venue to host your wedding reception was probably your first port of call after you announced your engagement. You probably spent a long time working on this, hopefully with your partner assisting with the planning process (or at least making approving noises while trying not look overwhelmed or confused), and it goes without saying that a paying for a venue likely to be the  single largest financial outlay of your wedding budget.

From boom to bust

Coronavirus has of course invited itself to the party. Since March 2020 it has made its’ presence known like the most unwelcome guest you could ever imagine. The wedding industry has been deeply affected by lockdowns and what can only be described by a long running series of mixed and confusing signals from the powers that be. While from the perspective of brides and grooms, questions have been asked such as “can we get married? How many guests can we have, 15, 30 or none at all? Is anyone allowed to breathe out?”, you only have to visit social media to see the frustration, confusion and fear expressed from the wedding industry. Many suppliers started 2020 with well-respected, flourishing businesses run by confident, dedicated and hardworking individuals and ended the year with no bookings, no income, furloughed staff and no viable business.

The larger the financial risk and more outgoings, the more likely the business is to go into liquidation, and this is the stark reality that many wedding and conference venues find themselves in. Every month since the last quarter of 2020 we have received emails and contact from brides and grooms who tell us that their wedding is on hold while they source an alternative venue. For the lucky, those who were only required by the venue to pay a nominal deposit may find it financially viable to hire another venue. For the unlucky, wedding couples who have already committed substantial funds and have are unable to recover them either because their venue has gone into administration or their wedding insurance will not pay out, they are faced with the sad prospect of either postponing for quite a while (one bride who lost thousands of pounds when her venue went bust told us that she is determined to reschedule and will call us in five years’ time!) or simply abandoning the idea of getting married altogether.

Take legal advice

Unfortunately, while there is supposedly a roadmap out of the Covid-19 lockdown, for brides, grooms, wedding reception and the wedding industry, there is still no real light at the end of the tunnel.  And while it’s tempting to seek solace in Facebook communities devoted to wedding couples who have lost their venues, we would strongly suggest taking any advice you receive there with a MASSIVE grain of salt, as some of the suggestions we have seen have been ridiculous – there’s no point bombarding a venue with angry posts on social media if that venue has already gone into administration; it will achieve nothing. Of course, you may be unaware that your venue has folded. It’s not like the owner is going to call you with the bad news, is it. There’s also no national database of wedding and conference venues which have gone into liquidation, but if you don’t see any information online, taking a look at wedding venues for sale may furnish you with more information:

https://uk.businessesforsale.com/uk/search/wedding-venues-for-sale

So if you do find yourself in the unenviable position of discovering that your wedding venue has gone into administration, our advice is to speak with all relevant parties – the venue administrators, your wedding insurance company, legal experts such as Citizens Advice and / or solicitors, and make sure you start the process of sourcing an alternative venue and other service providers as quickly as possible.

 

Wedding venues aren’t the only type of service which has been affected by the pandemic – many wedding bands and entertainment agencies have also folded. So if you have hired a band, call them to make sure that they are still able to provide you with the service you hired them for. If they can’t, call HARD TO HANDLE. We are still here; waiting patiently for the resumption of wedding receptions, business events and parties. We may be free to perform for you. And chances are, we are going to be more cost effective than the band that cancelled their booking with you. Get in touch; we’d love to hear from you!

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