(Closed) Destination Wedding contract drama…

posted 10 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
Member
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

That sounds like way too stringent to me, but I don’t really know what I’m talking about with this. Where is the DW? I don’t know much about DWs but knowing the location might help others compare their experiences.

Post # 5
Member
212 posts
Helper bee

i have some hotel experience so i’ll chime in my 2 cents. the liquidated damages for 90% if wedding is cancelled within 90 days of the wedding sounds “normal”. Destination Wedding aside, a lot of reputable venues in big cities does this to guarantee that you just don’t change your mind.

Also, on the guestroom point. As an example, I negotiated a room block of about 20 rooms in Manhattan for my wedding. The hotel market in Manhattan is pretty hot (even now, in tough economic times) so some hotels made me guarantee 85% of the the 20 rooms whether or not guests would book them. Obviously, I said no since there are many hotel options in New York but about half of the ones I contacted had this stipulation so again, not all that strange. THe 5 star resort figures that the guests are a captive audience, so they’ll definitely want a guarantee. Maybe you can negotiate a lower number of guestrooms – one that your BIL can definitely make.

A final note – if this is where your BIL really wants to get married and negotiations fail (meaning he has to live with what you stated in your above post), then I suggest looking into wedding insurance (which may be hard given mexican location but worth some research). That was basically my only protection against my venue, in case something happened and the wedding couldn’t take place.

Post # 6
Member
120 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I’m having a Destination Wedding not at a big resort or anything but it sounds like they are asking for quite alot for the contract. From what I’ve heard from lots of girls doing Destination Wedding their payments are not due in full as advance as the place your BIL is asking for, but again maybe this is because they are a 5 star resort?

Post # 7
Member
98 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2018 - Majestic Colonial Resort, Punta Cana

Hey Daisy. It sounds like you are dealing directly with the resort? The guest rooms for my Destination Wedding in the Dominican Republic were booked through a travel agency and payment in full for those was due mid-September (2 months out) so that sounds pretty on par. However, any fees related to our wedding ceremony and reception are due upon arrival. I even booked the resort’s disco for a couple hours that evening in case we need it, and though I did that months ago, I still haven’t paid anything. Ours is also a 5-star resort… maybe the DR is more laid-back than Mexico though (?).

I agree with Amy’s excellent suggestion of looking into insurance. Also, try getting in touch with other brides who have gotten married there via the various forums. ‘Best Destination Wedding Forum’ is a pretty good one.Hope this helps.

Post # 8
Member
88 posts
Worker bee

I live in Mexico — just trust me that EVERYTHING is negotiable. As long as you don’t come off as a pushy and demanding gringo! The tack of, “come on, give me a hand here, give me a great deal so we can sign this thing and I don’t have to look around anymore” can work wonders.

Post # 9
Member
13 posts
Newbee

Mrs. Daisy,

I am getting married in Mexico (on the Pacific side near Manzanillo) next spring and have negotiated a very similar contract with a five star resort there.  Everything is negotiable…to a point.  Like Amy said above, the liquidated damage clause I received in our contract as well.  We were hesitant about guaranteeing so many rooms for the room block and actually reduced our number for the contract but we added in that the number could again be reduced by 20% 90 days before the event (our event is also for about 40 people and the resort is the only one in the area).  Everything else you described sounds very similar to what we have seen.  We negotiated our initial room hold deposit and recently sent our banquet and services deposit (all very far in advance of the wedding…it’s next April), but the deposits were required at all of the resorts we looked into in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo.  I do completely agree with WeddingKitty, everything is negotiable, but if you are dealing with an international resort chain, the contracts are going to be much more complete and require more from you in order for the hotel to guarantee that they will not take a loss on your event.  We have dealt with a wonderful coordinator at the hotel which has made all of the difference in making us feel ‘comfortable’ in signing the contracts.  Knowing that she is willing to work with us made us feel much more at ease when we were deciding between resorts around that region.  I hope this helps.    

Post # 10
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Even if you’re booking on a much smaller scale, a resort type destination is going to be very different to deal with than your regular Holiday Inn type of place.  We booked our honeymoon last month – ten days in Aspen – and were required to pay at the time we made the reservations for half the total charges (we are going mid-February), and have to cancel at least 30 days in advance to not be responsible for the remainder of the cost.  I didn’t have a destination wedding, but I have done a lot of fancy destination skiing, and this is pretty standard.  The reason is that these resorts do book up six months or more in advance – not very many people decide at the last minute to fly to Aspen for a week, or to book 20 plus rooms at a resort in Mexico.  They figure that if you don’t want to book, they will rent those rooms to someone else in the next few weeks – but they might have trouble renting them a month before the date.  From that perspective, holding them open for you costs them money – and maybe costs them a lot of money if you change your mind.  Their only protection is to get a large portion of your money up front, and make the idea of cancelling very unattractive to you.  And face it, people do cancel or change wedding plans – especially when times are economically tough, it’s easy to decide as you get closer to the date that maybe spending so much money was not a good idea.

For our Aspen honeymoon, we did buy trip insurance.  We’re obviously not going to cancel lightly, but if one of us breaks a leg or something at the last minute we would be out $5000.  I think it cost us around $100, which we decided was worth it.

Post # 12
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

As another fellow attorney, I have to say that while certain things are industry standard, a few things that you mentioned in your post raise would make me a little leary.

First, liquidated damages are by definition NOT typically awarded as “punishment.” That being said, the liquidated damages clause in the K (short for contract) seems to punish your BIL if they fail to perform (legal speak for “cancel the wedding”). Liquidated damages are intended to compensate a party for damages that are hard to quantify (i.e., damaged reputation or loss of business, etc). In this instance, the damages are easy to quanify – loss of income from room rental, etc.

There is also a legal term called a “windfall.” If you cancel the Destination Wedding at least 2 -3 months in advance, the resort is not allowed to make a double profit by keeping your money and still renting the rooms and/or space to someone else. I hardly believe that those rooms would sit unoccupied if you signed the K, paid the fees, and then cancelled after the 90 day deadline.

All in all, it seems like there are a few points where you can “push back” with the resort and ask that the terms be removed like another bee suggested, or at least written to be more favorable. I would probably suggest that they remove the liquidated damages clause and ask them to agree to allow you to rollover a significant portion of the unused funds as a credit, or something like that.

Another suggestion that should only be used if you are desperate for the locale & think they might agree: you could always point out in a nice way that some of the terms/conditions don’t seem legally sound and that because you really want to work with them maybe you all could come up with another solution – sometimes this makes people think a little more and they back down on their demands. I hope this helps.

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