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Cancelation of wedding contract

Sera M. , Oct 11, 2010; 04:49 p.m.

I had a wedding scheduled for this coming weekend. The contract had both the bride & groom's names on it, only the bride signed.
I emailed the bride to confirm everything last week (I have everything in contract, we just hadn't talked in a few months). I received a reply email 2 days ago saying the wedding had been canceled, from the groom.
What type of cancellation letter do I need to send to the bride? I need to do everything quickly, since the wedding was scheduled for this coming weekend.
Thank you!


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Dan Ferrel , Oct 11, 2010; 05:01 p.m.

You need to get it in writing that the wedding is canceled and that any fees owed you are paid as per your contract. You do have a contract don't you? If yes, then what does it say for this type of thing? If it says nothing then you're up in the air and need to contact a lawyer ASAP.

Sera M. , Oct 11, 2010; 05:19 p.m.

Thanks, Dan!
So does something like:"(my name) hereby release (the clients names) of wedding contract from (wedding date/location) contract signed (date it was signed)."
Or do I need it to read: "Clients names hereby release (my name) of wedding contract from (wedding date/location) contract signed (date it was signed)."
I do have a contract and it says that I keep the deposit. I just am not sure how to word my releasing them of their contract.

Ted Suss , Oct 11, 2010; 06:04 p.m.

Hi Sera,
I'm not a lawyer, but if the bride signed the contract, then the bride is the one who needs to cancel it. It's more important that she releases you at this point then you release her.
Unfortunately, you really don't know for sure that she wants to cancel this contract, so at this point, you are obligated to photograph this wedding and if she doesn't cancel it in writing, she's obligated to pay you too.
I'm sure you can easily resolve this, but act quickly.....-TED :-)

William W , Oct 11, 2010; 06:14 p.m.

I received a reply email 2 days ago saying the wedding had been cancelled, from the groom.

What type of cancellation letter do I need to send to the bride?

From the information provided, where I work, the Bride has not yet cancelled the contract.

Firstly an email is not a document which can cancel a contract (here).
Secondly the signatory of the contract must be the signatory of the cancellation of that original contract (except for very unusual circumstances) - the Bride signed the original she must cancel same.

I am not giving legal advice nor suggesting I know details of Contracts Law in your jurisdiction, but I do suggest you get expert advice BEFORE you send any document or form to either the Bride or the Groom.
Under Comon Law where I work, from what you have outlined, if I were in your shoes, I would still be under the obligatoion to arrive to shoot the Wedding . . . but as I mentioend I don't know the law, where you work.

I would be contacting the Bride and in person, but before that meeting, I would seek professional advice and know what the legal position was and I would have the apporopriate paperwork ready to be signed, should that be the Bride's desire.


Sera M. , Oct 11, 2010; 06:27 p.m.

Thanks Ted, you are right, I'm not sure she actually cancelled it.
& WW, I will look more into this before sending the bride anything. I am still preparred to be at the wedding location at the contracted date & time.

William W , Oct 11, 2010; 06:40 p.m.

good work.

Nish Nishant , Oct 11, 2010; 07:21 p.m.

If she does not cancel it, won't she then be liable to pay you in full for a wedding that didn't take place?

David Haas , Oct 11, 2010; 07:55 p.m.

Sera -

If you are in the US - you need to get (from the person that signed the contract) a release - stating that you are released from all liability, responsibilities and commitments to them regarding the wedding and any services. Furthermore it needs to state that you are keeping without further obligation any and all sums paid. Send two copies - one for her and one for her to return to you. Also include a signature line for a witness.

Problem is that time is not on your side - even if you send a letter certified she will not get it prior to Wednesday at the earliest - worst case it may be Thursday - then she has to sign it and get it back to you.

My advice would be to call the bride and find out what is going on. Under no circumstances at this point do you not show up at the venue - unless / until you confirm with her that the wedding is off and you get the cancellation signed.

Nish - depending on the location and laws of the locality, and the terms of the contract, the bride may be liable for a) retainer paid, b) full amount or c) none of the above. Some jurisdictions have ruled that "Deposits" or retainers are fully refundable others only in cases where the vendor was not able to secure a comparable event to replace the original.

Good luck -

Sera M. , Oct 11, 2010; 07:56 p.m.

Nish, I suppose that technically she would. I don't want to make her pay for a wedding that didn't happen. I just don't want to "not show up" & have the wedding be going on. I've read horror stories online of a photographer being sued for just that. However, I don't think the groom would say it was canceled if it wasn't.
I'm going to do more research & go from there. I will contact the bride & get everything sorted out before this weekend. I do have it in my contract that the clients may cancel prior to the Wedding Day (with deposits forfeited & with written notice).

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