It is a tough time for the entire world right now and many couples are afraid, not only about their health and future, but also about what will happen to their wedding... I am sure many of you find yourself in this unreal situation: You've planned your dream wedding in Italy months ago, and now the Coronavirus emergency is putting your and your guests' health, as well as your wedding, at risk. Plus, you don't know how the Italian law works in this case.
In late February Coronavirus started spreading in Italy and the Italian government had to take strong measures to prevent it from spreading even more. This is why the Prime Minister imposed a lockdown of the entire country, by closing schools and all non-essential activities or events, such as weddings.
What can you do if your wedding was scheduled in Italy for this spring or summer?
March and April weddings in Italy are currently suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, if your wedding was scheduled for any of these months, the force majeure rule applies, even though your contract doesn't include a force majeure clause. According to the Italian law, this means that you can't sue your venue or any other vendor if they decide to respect the government restrictions and don't perform your wedding.
In this case, you have two options:
To postpone the wedding
My suggestion to you is to always consider to reschedule your wedding. Discuss these two options with your wedding planner and, if you don't have a planner, with your venue first. Many Italian vendors are extremely flexible right now and are willing to postpone their spring weddings to this upcoming fall or even to their 2021 available dates. If your desire is still to get married in Italy, sooner or later, and you would be open to postpone your wedding, make sure all of your vendors will be available on the date you are rescheduling it for.
2. To cancel the wedding
In the unlucky event that the date the venue is offering you doesn't meet your availability or doesn't suits your needs, you can now cancel your March or April wedding under the force majeure circumstance. If canceling is your only solution, the force majeure rule applies and, according to the Italian law your vendors have to return you the money you've already paid, only if they haven't performed the service yet. Please, be kind to them, they are receiving many cancellation requests, and, as many other businesses, they have made investments in the past year to offer you the best service ever. So please, be patient and don't pretend to get your money back immediately.
What does "if they haven't performed the service yet" mean?
If you have already had your hairstyle or make-up trial and these services were included in your wedding hairstyle and make-up package, the vendor is entitled to retain the deposit you've already paid if that matches the price of the trial.
If you have already purchased your gown, you can't ask your bridal salon to return you the money because you are canceling the wedding.
What about 2020 summer weddings?
If your wedding is scheduled for June, July or August, this is a different scenario.
Because so far, the Italian restrictions only apply until April. This means that there is no force majeure for a summer wedding at the moment, unless you live in a country where the government's limitations taken will last for sure until this summer.
I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING:
How can I make sure that my wedding can take place this summer?
How can my guests book a flight and make plans with such uncertainty?
Unfortunately, there is no answer right now. The best thing you can do is to prevent and anticipate what will happen.
The Coronavirus is not only limited to Italy anymore. Sadly, it is instead a worldwide emergency. Therefore, the restrictions applied in Italy in early March are now starting to take place in several countries around the globe. My suggestion to you is to monitor not only the Italian situation, but also flight banns, quarantine in case of travels, as well as "stay at home" orders imposed by your own country or mayor. Each state or even city is applying different rules, so even if Italy will be out of the pandemic (hopefully) sooner than other countries, we still have to monitor the situation in the rest of the world and especially in our own state.
If for the Italian law the force majeure doesn't apply to your wedding scheduled for June or July yet, it might apply in the future if your or the Italian government imposes or extends some restrictive measures such as a lockdown or a flight ban.
The best thing to do right now is to be patient and wisely analyze the situation in your country as well Italy, to be ready to act soon in the unlucky event the pandemic worsen in your own country and you are forced to postpone or cancel the wedding due to force majeure. You can also try to ask your vendors if they are willing to postpone a summer wedding, but it is really up to them.
What if I cancel my summer wedding now?
If you are afraid to travel in the future, if you risk to lose your job or for any other reason related to the Coronavirus you decide to cancel your summer wedding now, it is an absolute understandable choice. Unfortunately, unless your vendors decide to act differently, they will likely apply their cancellation policies outlined in your contract.
Each scenario is different and each wedding is at a different planning stage. For this reason, if you need help to define the best options for you and your guests, please, schedule a 30 minutes free session to discuss your specific situation, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I truly hope you can have the wedding of your dreams in Italy, and, if not in Italy, I am sure it will be wonderful anyway!!!
~Silvia La Perla
Italian Wedding Planner Our Italian Fairytale