Postponing or Canceling Your 2020 or 2021 Wedding – Refund of Booking Deposit

Postponing or Canceling Your 2020 or 2021 Wedding – Refund of Booking Deposit

If you are one of the many thousands of couples in the unfortunate situation of having to postpone or cancel your wedding for any reason arising from the changing pandemic restrictions, during 2020 or 2021 – thanks to the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019, you could be entitled to a full refund of your booking deposit and all monies paid in advance to a service provider for your original wedding date.

In everyday life, when a couple organises and books their wedding, the separate contracts with each service provider for the various aspects of their wedding ceremony and celebrations after are deemed (by the consumer law) to be a contract to provide a service at a certain place on a specific date.

Ordinarily (outside a government declared emergency such as a pandemic) if a couple wishes to postpone / cancel / change their wedding plans for any reason, and there are no compassionate circumstances, eligibility for a refund of booking deposits and monies paid in advance is determined by the contract agreed to with a supplier.

However – thanks to the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019, if there are compassionate grounds – it may be a different story. A couple who are postponing / cancelling / changing their wedding plans for any reason arising from the pandemic may very well be entitled to a full refund booking deposits and monies paid in advance.

There is more – a couple who are postponing / cancelling / changing their wedding date for any reason arising from the changing pandemic restrictions – are not under any obligation to re-book a supplier for a later date, if doing so is not in their best interests, for any reason including financial hardship.

The reason is that any consumer contract which puts the consumer at a disadvantage for reasons which were clearly beyond their control, is most often considered an unfair contract and cannot be enforced – even if the couple have already agreed to the contract in writing.

There are varying circumstances which make a contract an unfair contract, which couples in this situation would be very wise to investigate. But one thing is for sure – thanks to the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019, if a couple postpones / cancels / changes their wedding plans for any reason arising from the changing pandemic restrictions, they may in fact be due a full refund of booking deposits and all monies paid in advance.

There are exceptions to this rule for work already completed / items purchased in preparation for the wedding day which cannot be on-sold to another couple within a reasonable time frame (14 days). Such as:

  • Ceremony – design consultation & preparation of a custom-made ceremony
  • Flowers
  • Food & perishable items
  • Invitations & Stationery – already printed or special paper ordered
  • Jewellery – custom made or materials on special order
  • Purchase of clothing – custom made or on special order
  • Purchase of shoes on special order
  • Wedding cake
  • Any other special items ordered / made or work already completed in preparation for the wedding day which cannot be on-sold to another couple within 14 days.

In the case of a custom made item or an item on special order, a refund may not be possible where work has commenced and expenses already incurred. In some cases you may be required to pay for the item in full and take delivery of the item.

If you have postponed / cancelled your wedding from it’s original date and you are in dispute with a supplier regarding an amount of money to be with-held for work already done, for which receipts are not applicable or cannot be provided, you are advised to contact Consumer Protection Ireland for further advice, as you may have an unfair contract according to the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019.

Online purchases special note: If you have made first contact with a wedding supplier online, such as through their website or social media, ie. without ever meeting them in person (even if you have spoken on the phone) there are further contract obligations required by the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019 which your supplier may not have fulfilled (such as not advising you of the 14-day cooling off period) which could make your contract an unfair contract.

If you have postponed / cancelled / changed your wedding plans during the pandemic restrictions and a supplier is claiming that your booking deposit is non-refundable, and/or that you must book them for another date, you should read every detail of the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019 which you can find here:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/consumers/consumer-contract-law/unfair-contract-terms-directive_en

For advice regarding your rights to a refund for any reason – pandemic or no pandemic – please contact a lawyer with experience in Consumer Law who will provide you with 30 minutes free advice to assess your case. Your local Credit Union provides free legal advice. Advice from any other source may not be in your best interests.

How Many Wedding Guests Can I Have During Lockdown ?

How Many Wedding Guests Can I Have During Lockdown ?

 With pandemic restrictions now being extended in Ireland, anxious brides are now asking the dreaded question – how many wedding guests can we have now?  What are the maximum numbers allowed?  Does it include the photographer and our ceremony officiant?

There is so much misinformation about this subject online. In fact, just about everywhere this sugject is mentioned has got the answer completely wrong. Why? Because they don’t have a deep enough understanding of the marriage act or it’s interpretation.

I like to get my information direct from the most reliable source, so I contacted the GRO in Roscommon, and this is the advice that I received:

  • The act of marriage cannot ever be considered a social gathering.
  • Social gathering restrictions do not apply to a legal marriage ceremony itself, but they do apply to any non-legal wedding ceremony and any celebrations after a wedding or marriage ceremony.
  • Each wedding venue has the discretion to enforce their own health & safety policy regarding the maximum number of wedding guests.
  • All public health guidelines in force at the time must be followed.

This means that any limit on maximum numbers for a legal marriage ceremony is defined only by the health & safety policy of your chosen marriage venue.  I hope that helps make things a bit clearer for you.  If you have any questions at all please don’t hestitate to get in touch.

Your Special Day

If you believe your ceremony should be an important part of your special day, no matter how big or small your requirements may be,

Please don't hesitate to get in touch so I can answer any questions you might have - and to find out if I am available on your big day..

I would be honoured to work with you.

Inspiring Teacher, Musician, Ceremony Officiant,
Earth Spiritualist Interfaith Minister
Registered Solemniser of Marriages

Tel: 085 831 3437

The Celtic Handfasting Tradition

The Celtic Handfasting Tradition

Above: Aoife & Jimmy’s wedding
at Ballyvolane House
Photo by whitecatstudio.ie

Braided handfasting chord fully handmade by me
to the bride’s choice of colours

The wedding tradition of celtic handfasting has seen a resurgence since Prince Wiliam and Kate tied the knot as part of their lavish wedding ceremony in London in 2011.

Handfasting is a rural folkloric and neopagan ceremonial spiritual custom, gaining in popularity as modern couples seek to incorporate ancient traditions in their ceremony.  Iinitially found in Ireland, Scotland and western European countries, the handfasting is a ceremony in which a couple hold a commitment ceremony by tying the hands with woven or braided chord.

Above:  Aoife & Jimmy’s wedding
at Ballyvolane House
Photo by whitecatstudio.ie

 

The handfasting ceremony was believed by many to be firstly conducted as an engagement ceremony,  a temporary binding of one year and a day.   If after this time the couple wished to stay together, the handfasting was repeated a second time as a marriage ceremony, and the couple were married for seven years.

If the couple wished to stay together after this time, the handfasting was repeated for another seven years or as a permanent marriage, depending on the couple’s wishes.  Hence the term “seven year itch”.

In ancient times, the handfasting ceremony was conducted according to the local traditions.  In modern times, a handfasting ceremony is part of a traditional wedding ceremony, and is written to suit the requirements of the couple.

There are unlimited variations in the ceremony wording, from the short, modern format lasting about 3-4 minutes, to the longer traditation format lasting anything from 10 minutes or longer.

If I am conducting your ceremony and you would like to make your own handfasting chord, I can give you creative ideas and explain some simple methods of making various styles.

Pictured are two of the many braided handfasting chords I have personally handmade.  If you are unable to make or purchase your own handfasting chord I am happy to make you a handfasting chord in your choice of colors.

In the first example, each of the 5 strands of the braided chord are individually twisted to make the separate chords before being tied and braided together in a 5-part braided chord.  Each end of the chord is then wrapped to form a tassle at each end.  Each custom-made braided chord takes approx. 4 hours to make by hand.

Retail price of the 5-part braided handfasting chord as pictured above (top) is €69.50 (or approx. €20 materials only price if I am conducting your ceremony) which includes your very own choice of 5 colors, the symbolic meanings of your chosen colors for reciting in your ceremony, organza bag and postage anywhere within Ireland (if I am not conducting your ceremony).

In the second example, twisted chords of varying thickness are wrapped together and stitched in place, tassles made for the ends and sewn in for a very effective look.  This type of chord takes about 3 hours to make and costs around €15 in materials.

The Irish Wedding Coin Tradition

The Irish Wedding Coin Tradition

It is believed that the Irish tradition of the wedding coin has its roots in the Brehon law, when the groom would gift his new bride with a coin to represent that from this point forward, everything he owns would be equally shared.

There may be variants of this tradition depending on which family and region of Ireland, and availability of coins.  Some believe that once the wedding coin is gifted to the bride, it should be put into the bride’s shoe to ensure prosperity in the marriage.

The wedding coin can also be handed down from parents to eldest child, or first son, or so forth.  The great thing about wedding traditions is that you are free to make your own variation of the tradition in order to make it meaningful to you.

I have written some beautiful words for a wedding coin ceremony on a number of occasions, each ceremony unique and individual to the couple.  I will include the wedding coin ceremony wording here very soon!

What is an Interfaith Minister in Ireland ?

What is an Interfaith Minister in Ireland ?

The word “Interfaith” doesn’t always mean religious.  Interfaith describes an inclusive philosophy which welcomes people from all walks of life, regardless of their spiritual or religious beliefs (or none) without discrimination of any kind.

An interfaith Minister is a modern Spiritual teacher who also creates the most beautiful non-denominational tailor-made ceremonies to suit the requirements of the people.  An Interfaith Minister is able to create any style of ceremony from spiritual through to humanist style ceremonies, non-religious or mixed-faith ceremonies and everything else in between. With your choice of ceremony ideas and traditions included, to create your very own ceremony style. 

The modern interfaith Minister really is the Rolls Royce of ceremony officiants & celebrants due to their extensive experience and the diversity of the beautiful & meaningful personalised ceremonies they create & officiate, they really can offer you the most flexibility for your ceremony options.

There is no shortage of Interfaith Ministers in Ireland, although the biggest challenge is finding them as they don’t all have a website.  I am very fortunate that I was once a Software Engineer and Website Developer, so creating my own website comes naturally to me. 

The first thing is to do is find an Interfaith Minister who you really like (please pick me!) so you will need to interview them ether on the phone, or face to face, either in person or on Zoom.  That’s right, you need to interview them, they will be working for you!  Your ceremony is one of the most important parts of your special day, there is a huge difference between a good ceremony and a great ceremony.! 

I am a Spiritual Humanist, registered member of Enchanted Ceremonies and Earth Spiritualist Foundation.  With me as your ceremony officiant / celebrant I guarantee that you will have one of the greatest ceremonies you could wish for.  Every ceremony is my ceremony of the year.  I will work with you every step of the way to design the ceremony of your dreams, no matter how big or small, to ensure that your ceremony exceeds your expectations.  

You can read more about the legal requirements of getting married in Ireland right here in my article Legal Info

If you have any questions about getting married in Ireland please don’t hestitate to get in touch to find out if I am available on your chosen date.  I would be honoured to work with you.

Rev. Sharon Q.

Tel: 085 831 3437
Registered Solemniser of Marriages
Modern Spiritual Teacher, Musician,
Spiritual Humanist, Earth Spiritualist Interfaith Minister,
Visionary & creator of dreams