Wedding Plans Funeral Plans

No one plans life like this.

A couple of years ago I met a young couple with a very young child.   They were planning their wedding when I met them and it was still a year or so away.  They were already paying for the wedding.  They worked very hard to have the wedding they wanted and to make their special  day perfect.  And it didn’t come cheap.

Seven days before their wedding the groom to be unexpectedly passed away due to an unknown health condition.  Leaving his wife-to-be and very young child shaken and grieving.

Family and friends shocked and grieving.

In the process of planning a funeral the bride-to-be had to un-plan her wedding.   The day after what would have been her wedding she stood by her husband’s casket.

In the weeks that followed she had to go through the process of un-doing all that she and her husband-to-be had done.

The tuxedo rentals were refunded.

The flowers were refunded.

The photographer has spent these past couple of years taking photographs of her and her child and is compiling an on going and growing book of her and her child for the monies paid.

Refunds and compromises were offered and given to the family whenever possible.

The dress was not returnable, understandably, it was made specifically for her.

The venue for the wedding reception had a contract that stated any cancellations had to be made ten days prior to the date of the arranged event.  The groom died seven days before, and the venue was notified on the day of his death.   There was still some monies owed to them.  But the bulk of the thousands owed was paid.  The contract stated that due to events such as tornadoes and blizzards -down payments and monies paid would not be refunded.  No where in the contract did it mention death.

The amount paid to the venue for the reception was in the tens of thousands.   Only a small percent was left owed.   She had asked if she would receive any of the money back.  They told her no.  She would  not.  She has tried to get money back.  She retained an attorney.  She is not suing.  She does not want to sue.  She felt like she did not break the contract.  The circumstances were obviously beyond her control.   They retained an attorney.   Even their attorney suggested they return a portion of the money.  They refused.

Considering the circumstances her support system, family and friends, feel she is being unfairly treated by the venue.  Some suggested she contact local news agencies.   Local news agencies said because she is  not suing it would not be news worthy.

I can’t help but think this is bad business sense on the part of the venue.  If this were to be made public knowledge I think it would leave a sour taste in at least some people’s opinion.   I know it is not a place I would want to do business with.  I think others would feel the same.

Ethically do they owe the woman any portion of that money?  If the contract said “ten days” and he passed seven days prior to the scheduled event,  that is technically covered by the contract.  I guess.  Technically.  But ethically?  Morally?    Though it wasn’t “canceled”.  A man died.  And the contract covers natural disasters pertaining to weather, but not natural disasters pertaining to a man’s death.

Does this business feel it is right to pocket all of the monies paid for a service that was not provided, at all?  They did not do any set up.  They did not do any flowers or other arranging.   If they did any foods that far in advance it would have had to of been frozen and could have been used for another  party.  Or  if they were to argue they had it made, they could have/should have offered it  to them in some manner, maybe even for the funeral.  No such offers were made.  For that matter, no offers of condolences were ever made.

It is understood that on such short notice the venue may not have been able to be rented out.  And the woman who is not suing is not asking for all monies to be refunded.  She is only asking for a portion.  And they have refused at every request.

Is it just me, or does this seem like a poor business decision?

Does it seem ethically or morally wrong to keep all of the money in this situation?

Is it ethically, morally, or even business wise to keep the money just because business is business and there is nothing wrong with them keeping the money?  After all, it’s not their fault this man died.

My personal opinion…there’s nothing gained by showing no compassion whatsoever.  I wouldn’t want to do business, personally or professionally, with anyone who had no regards for the heart break in this story.