The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in wedding cancellations around the world. The big question for many couples affected is will they get their money back? One couple shares their struggle and advice.
It was supposed to be the destination wedding of their lifetime. Anise Fuller and her fiancé, Odell Body, had spent months planning a beautiful beach ceremony with family and friends at Sunscape Cove in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
But with the coronavirus pandemic having deadly consequences for numerous countries around the world, the couple were crestfallen to realize they needed to postpone the wedding.
“March 28th would have been our special day, and we were so looking forward to it!” exclaimed Fuller. “It was clear that when international travel was banned, we knew it was time to figure out an alternative plan.”
The Los Angeles-based couple is expecting their first child this year and wanted to pick an idyllic location for their destination wedding and honeymoon. Since neither of them had been to Jamaica, it seemed like the perfect choice.
“We were thrilled to find this hotel, as there are not many resorts in Jamaica that are all-inclusive and kid-friendly,” Fuller explained. “My fiancé has children from a previous relationship, and I have nieces and nephews that would be attending.”
Thinking they would get a refund for $10,000, Miller was shocked to learn that the hotel manager did not want to cooperate. “They were dead set on not canceling, pushing us for a new date within this year,” said a clearly upset Fuller. “I explained that I was seven months pregnant and not comfortable traveling with a newborn. There was no way I wanted to rush a wedding during this immensely stressful time.”
Her fiancé felt extremely disappointed and upset. “This really has taught me the importance of reading and researching hotel reviews and contracts very closely,” he acknowledged. “We picked the date thinking we would be avoiding hurricanes and bad weather, but this outbreak was very unexpected.”
“Every area of the wedding industry is being affected by the coronavirus. You can’t escape it,” Slomique Harwrylo, owner of Los Angeles-based event planning firm Carpe Diem, told SIGNATURE BRIDE. “It’s important that you read your contracts, especially for your venue and honeymoon. Review all cancellation policies and ask about postponement versus cancellation so you don’t lose your deposit.”
Fuller and Body took their story to NBC4 Los Angeles to call attention to their situation. “Since the news story ran, the general manager of the hotel called to let us know the money will be fully refunded and we will receive all the monies paid toward our ceremony as well,” said Body.
The couple is thrilled with how things turned out and have invaluable advice for couples who find themselves in a similar situation. “Escalating is the best thing! We really learned that having a contingency plan in place is vital, along with a great wedding planner who can help you with all the details,” Fuller said. “Also, we now wholeheartedly believe that it’s a good idea to visit the venue and location before you commit!” she asserted.
No matter what problems the virus has brought into your life, Body suggests that a couple’s religious beliefs can help work anything out. “We are a couple of faith; life is not going to stop because of what is happening in the world. It is important to keep living and not let fear overtake you. Other obstacles will come, even in marriage. This is a true testimony of faith and how a marriage can handle unexpected challenges and stress.”
For now, Fuller and Body do not have a new date scheduled.
“We are trying to do things one day at a time. We want to reschedule at the end of October. We are taking it day by day at this time, but are hopeful,” the bride said.
Best of all, Fuller can still wear the wedding dress she had picked out for the special day. “My dress was going to fit my growing belly. We are still going to use it, but I will get it altered.”