Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.
DENVER -- Months of planning and thousands of dollars hang in the balance for couples who were hoping to say "I do" this year.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Julia Blyumkin and Sergey Zhurya paid for their venue in full. They were done planning and anxiously awaiting their May 30 wedding day. But by the end of March, they realized they wouldn't be able to have their dream wedding.
"Booking a wedding the first time around is expensive enough," said Blyumkin.
The decision to postpone or cancel a wedding can be costly. Deposits are often non-refundable and vendors might not have the availability to accommodate a different day.
Erin Smith's wedding day was nothing like what she envisioned. She always knew it would be a special moment when her dad when he walked her down the aisle, but he was unable to travel to Colorado due to the stay-at-home order. She ended up making a life-size cardboard cutout of her dad and carried him down the aisle instead.
"At the end of the day, you just want to spend your life with the person that you love, and so I knew that everything would work out," said Smith.
Smith and her now-husband decided to get married on their original date but they postponed the reception. They worked with their vendors to pick a date in October, when they hope to celebrate their marriage with family and friends.
"It’s an opportunity to celebrate your marriage twice. I get to wear my dress twice. It doesn't need to be the tragedy that a lot of people may think that it is up front," said Smith.
Wedding planner Nicki Burke is helping clients navigate this challenging time. She said it's critically important for couples to review their contracts before making a decision to cancel or postpone.
In her experience, she said vendors have been very understanding and willing to work with couples.
"I’ve been really lucky with my vendors, being able to reschedule and re-accommodate my clients without penalty, and that’s what I’m doing as well. If we have to postpone or cancel, we’re doing that without penalty," said Burke.
Some couples haven't been able to reach a resolution. Blyumkin said their venue offered to move the date but she said they were offered a weekday wedding when they had booked a Saturday during the peak of wedding season.
"It wouldn’t be comparable from a financial standpoint. We remitted payment for a Saturday full-day wedding, peak season, and to be offered a weekday during off season, winter, at essentially the same price, isn't comparable," said Blyumkin.
Blyumkin and her fiancé said when they weren't satisfied with the offer, they tried to cancel the contract.
"He won’t give us anything back and if we cancel then we still have to pay an additional $500 to him," said Blyumkin. It feels like we paid for something when no services were rendered."
Contact7 reached out to the owner of Willow Ridge Manor for comment. He said in a statement that any couple can reschedule through March 31, 2021 without any additional fee. He also explained that if most of the 2020 weddings rescheduled to next year and if they gave full refunds there would be no income to cover current expenses.