Page 36 - Network Magazine Spring 2019
P. 36

      The (I) Dos and Do Not's of Pennsylvania Wedding Law
NICHOLAS SANDERCOCK, ESQ GROSS MCGINLEY, LLP
There are few periods of a romantic relationship as hectic as wedding planning. From the time she (or he) says yes, until you finally say, "I do," you and your significant other will contractually commit to anything from a venue to an ice sculpture, and everything in between. Wedding planning is meant to be a time when lifelong dreams are made into realities and knowing what to look for in your wedding agreements can help those best-laid plans from turning into nightmare fuel.
Following these simple principles of contract law can help you know when to say “I do” or “I don’t”:
1.
Don’t get stuck with an Adhesion Contract - An Adhesion Contract is one that you sign without the value of a bargain, and often under duress. What does that mean? If a vendor or a venue says, you have to sign the contract as its written, take-it-or-leave-it, without giving you the ability to negotiate terms that are clearly written to benefit them; it may be an adhe-
sion contract. This, combined with the first-come-first- served pressure of wedding planning, those one-sided contract provisions may be unenforceable.
2. Gone with the windfall
- For more than a century in Pennsylvania, it has been the law that a contract cannot be worth more cancelled than if completed. What does this mean for your wedding con- tracts? By way of example, a venue cannot arbitrarily charge you a penalty for cancelling your wedding just to deter you from cancelling. In Pennsylvania, if you cancel your wedding, the wedding
venue would only be entitled to the profit they could have reasonably expected to make on your event.
Not so Non-Refundable Deposits - A rose by any other name may still smell as sweet, but a penalty by any other name is just as unenforceable. “Non- refundable deposits” are a great example of terms found in adhesion contracts, and are often penalties masquerading as damages clauses. Few wedding vendors/venues will let you book the date without putting money down, but just because you put money
 While your significant other may beg to differ, there is nothing particularly special about the contracts you sign leading up to your wedding: to be enforceable they must comply with Pennsylvania contract law. What does make the wedding contract unique what surrounds it – the pressure to get the perfect venue, the must-have photog- rapher, or that florist you've been following on Pinterest for five years - and wedding vendors/venues can use this emotion to their advantage to get you to agree to terms you wouldn’t under any other circumstances.
3.
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