Wedding and Coronavirus – what is the pandemic for your dream day? It is not without reason that it is said that the wedding day is the most beautiful day in our life. Planning this day itself takes from several months to even several years. After all, we want everything to be buttoned up to the last button. A reserved ceremony in a church or at the Registry Office, wedding hall, photographer, wedding band, invited guests …
The wedding ceremony and reception are to take place in a few weeks, and our country is under epidemiological threat. For many future spouses, it means “the end of the world”, because it will be necessary to cancel the marriage ceremony and wedding. Is it right?
Wedding and coronavirus – ceremony at the Registry Office
Registry offices throughout Poland have limited their work due to the announcement of an epidemiological emergency. Whether our wedding will take place and in what form depends on the specific office. The number of people who can participate in the ceremony has been limited in offices. Some offices allow only the young couple and witnesses to participate, others allow the parents of the bride and groom to participate in the ceremony, and others limit the number of people, for example, to 10 people. What is the situation in our office, it is best to determine it by phone or check on the office’s website.
Wedding and coronavirus – a ceremony in the Church
According to the Regulation of the Minister of Health of March 13, 2020. on the declaration of an epidemiological threat in the territory of the Republic of Poland (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 433), it is prohibited to organize assemblies of more than 50 people. The regulation refers to Art. 3 of the Act of July 24, 2015. – Law on assemblies (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 631), which defines an assembly as “a grouping of people in an open space accessible to unspecified persons in a specific place for the purpose of holding joint deliberations or jointly expressing a position on public matters” . The minister emphasized that the ban also applies to masses organized in churches. Thus, a maximum of 50 people can participate in a church celebration.
However, it should be borne in mind that some parishes have also significantly reduced their activities. If, after all, we intend to organize our church wedding at this particular time, it is advisable to contact the chosen parish in advance to confirm that it will be possible.
The above ban on gathering over 50 people does not apply to the wedding, because the participants of the wedding are invited people, i.e. people known by name. Therefore, in this case, the number of people is not a problem, all invited guests can have fun at the wedding. The problem, however, appears with the reserved premises. Minister of Health in the above-mentioned the regulation temporarily limited the business of entrepreneurs to “prepare and serve meals and drinks to guests sitting at tables or guests making their own choice of dishes from the displayed menu, eaten on the spot, with the exception of the provision of services consisting in preparing and serving food to go or preparing and delivering it. and restaurant or bar activities carried out in means of transport, performed by separate entities ”. Therefore, a wedding planned in a restaurant or hotel will not be able to take place. If we want the ceremony to take place in this particular venue, there is nothing else to do but change the date or cancel the wedding.
The situation is different if the wedding is to be held in our own premises or in a tent on the plot, and we prepare the food ourselves or we ordered catering. Then the wedding can take place.
For the sake of our and our relatives’ safety, and also due to the inability to implement wedding plans, many future spouses decide to reschedule the ceremony or cancel the wedding. Now there is the issue of returning the money paid – not only for the wedding hall, but also for the service of the ceremony – photographer, cameraman, music, etc. In this case, much depends on the contracting parties.
It is worth paying attention to the term used in the contract – advance payment or down payment. The advance payment should be returned to you. As a rule, the down payment is non-returnable, so despite the non-performance of the contract, the party that received the down payment may keep it, and if it was due to its fault that the contract was not performed – it should return the down payment in double amount. The jurisprudence assumes that non-performance or improper performance of the contract should be at fault. On the other hand, if we are dealing with circumstances for which the debtor is not responsible (here; restaurant, wedding house, photographer, etc.) – e.g. due to force majeure, the down payment should be returned (in these circumstances, however, no double amount is due deposit).
As a rule, non-performance or improper performance of an obligation constitutes the basis of the debtor’s liability for damages. This liability is excluded from circumstances beyond the debtor’s control, such as the occurrence of force majeure – external circumstances, unforeseeable, the consequences of which could not be prevented. An epidemic can also be such an event.
By invoking force majeure, it must be shown, however, that it was precisely its occurrence that caused the inability to perform the obligation. It is also worth bearing in mind that the law does not define the concept of force above, and in the contracts used this concept is defined in various ways. The understanding of the concept of “force majeure” is therefore not uniform, and thus in the event of any dispute between the parties, the court will decide.
Now the most important of the list: wedding and coronavirus. If you want to postpone or cancel your wedding as a result of an epidemic, I encourage you to contact all entities involved in the preparation of the ceremony and try to resolve the matter amicably. We all feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the couple who had been preparing for the most beautiful day in their life for months, and the restaurateur or photographer who lost their earnings overnight. It is worth looking for a mutually beneficial solution – e.g. a new date. If it turns out to be impossible (dates in some wedding houses, hotels, restaurants are booked even several years in advance), we can always divide the payments into installments, allocate the money already paid to organize another celebration – baptism, birthday, jubilee, etc. (here you can find time will be much easier) or spread the costs incurred between the parties – sometimes it is a cheaper and more effective solution than a court dispute, e.g. with a restaurateur, who, if he declares bankruptcy, will not be able to return the money paid to us.
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