Post # 1
We booked a brand new beautiful modern loft venue in Chicago a year ago and at the time were verbally assured that we would be able to hang lanterns or chandeliers, move some of the existing furniture around and be able to accommodate our 200 person guest list in a variety of ways with the long tables that we wanted. Great, we were sold and signed the contract.
Flash forward almost a year (it’s long engagement) and at a walk through today with the same manager and our florist and we were told we could only hang things if one of their professional lighting people does it with a lift and removes the ceiling tiles and told it would cost thousands and thousands of dollars (even though she’s already made us insure our florist who’s willing to hang things for a million dollars, they aren’t allowed to do this). She also said we cannot move the furniture around and they are now installing a freight elevator that eats up a large part of floor space. As a result we are left with only one layout option for our guests (even though it’s 50 people smaller than originally discussed) A few other limitations were mentioned as well, but these are the biggest offenders to me.
I am feeling completely frustrated by all of this. We literally booked this place because of an image with paper lanterns that I fell in love with and discussed during our walk through and because of the possibilities of transforming a loft space into anything we wanted and now that doesn’t seem to be possible. The contract does state that they need to approve all vendors (at the time she implied they’d approve anyone we wanted) but I’m wondering if the layout changes qualify as a breach in our agreement? All of this has left a very bad taste in my mouth. The deposit was half of the overall price and more then we can afford to lose (it is less if someone rebooks it but I don’t want to be dependent on that). Our florist has been wonderful and offered some solutions to working with these constraints but I’m not in love with any of them. Is there anything I can do?
Post # 3
I would suggest speaking with your vendor and clearly outlining your concerns (if you haven’t already). If they are still unwilling to work with you I suggest you reach out to another manager or the owner through email or by letter.
You may not be able to get your deposit back without threatening or actually pursuing legal action. However I doubt the location would be willing to lose the booking since times are lean and they stand to make more money by keeping the party going.
Post # 4
Yes, there is a breach of contract here. However, you should act soon. If a "defect" becomes obvious and you do not attempt to fix the problem, your silence can be read as consent in some cases. I would obviously need to review your contract first, but it seems like you have a clear breach here. Even outside of the written contract, you have an oral contract with the vendor saying you could hang the lanterns and you relied on this promise in order to accept the contract. Without some clause in the contract saying they are allowed to make changes, I’d think you’d have a strong case. Do you have any friends that are lawyers that could write up a well drafted letter to accompany your complaint? Sometimes that’s all you need to scare people straight. Good luck!
Post # 5
Chela429- we politely expressed concern when we found out about all of this today but we have yet to put anything into writing . We are planning to contact them tomorrow with some follow-up questions. Unfortunately, the person we met with was the most senior person available to deal with- the only other person at the venue is her assistant.
HoffmanE- Thanks so much for the warning and clearing some things up for me, I was not sure how binding a verbal agreement was in Chicago. We do have several lawyers in the family however, I am hoping to avoid that until absolutely necessary in case we do still go through with using them as our vendor.
Post # 6
Im sorry to hear this. Check your contract, it might say somewhere that the written contract superceeds (sp?) any other agreement including written and oral. Thats totally unfortunate if she told you these things and lied to you later saying you couldnt but there might not be anything you can do about it expect adapt to the changes or try and talk to her again.