Tag

Consumer

Browsing

5 secret tips to organising a low cost “Pippa Style” Wedding

You don’t need to be a millionaire to have a wedding like Pippa Middleton and James Mathews. It was dubbed the “society event of the year” with Royalty, A-List Celebrities and some of the wealthiest elite being invited to the wedding of Pippa Middleton to her long-term partner, James Mathews.

Despite the world media spectating, the couple ensured that practicality dominated every aspect of their big day to ensure it went as smoothly as possible. You do not need to be a millionaire to have a well organised wedding, so what tips can we learn from the wedding of the year.

  1. Proximity is Power – Pippa and James decided to marry at the 12th Century church of St Mark’s that was only about a 15-minute drive from their reception venue (Pippa’s home). When there is a logistical exercise involved in transferring guests from the ceremony to the reception venue, keeping the day’s proceedings as geographically close as possible will assist in ensuring everything goes according to the set timetable. Even if there is a delay incurred, the close proximity of events will assist in making up any lost time.
  2. Who said Christmas Cards were just for sending Christmas wishes –Despite the abundance of disposable income the high profile newly weds have, this didn’t stop them in taking practical steps in sending “save the dates” out to their guests. You guessed it! The couple used a practical approach and combined their Christmas cards with save the date notification to invitees.
  3. Taking Charge – Butlers, personal assistants and wedding planners were all at the disposal of the newly weds. However, Pippa insisted on taking the lead in organising her big day. The fact is, no one will be as passionate and enthusiastic about the smooth running of your big day more than you. So take charge! Sources close to Pippa mentioned that the bride took full control over the planning of her big day and had everything thoroughly organised weeks before the big day.
  4. Home sweet home – More and more couples are opting to host a wedding event at home to save cost and to create a more intimate wedding day experience. Pippa was no different. Following the church ceremony, guests were invited to a marquee event in the Middleton’s garden. Marquees do not have to be as elaborate as the one erected for the wedding of the year, however, marquees can be a cost effective and pleasant way to celebrate your nuptials. Further, quite often marquee companies can offer bespoke interior designs to match your exact requirements.
  5. Personalised touches make all the difference – Weddings become just that much more special and meaningful if you can add your very own personal touch to the celebrations. Pippa’s wedding banquet menu included her own lamb recipes from her cook book. Indeed, you may not be a budding cook, but personalising an aspect of your big day can truly add a touch of class to the whole day.

Photo credit: Rex Features

Wedding Loans: eye watering facts and what you need to know.

According to price Comparison website Money Supermarket, did you know over 50,000 couples have applied for loans to fund their wedding day costs so far this year. Of this number, one in ten couples have requested to borrow more than £20,000. It has also been reported that there has been a 53% increase in £30,000 plus wedding loan applications compared to last year. Since January 2017 to March 2017, collectively British Couples have asked for approximately £460 million to fund their wedding day.

Our tips before taking out a wedding loan:

  1. Look for the best deal

When it comes to taking out a loan ensure you check what the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is. Essentially, the APR informs you of the true cost of the loan taking into account interest payable, any other charges and when payments fall due. When checking which wedding loan to take out, be sure to compare APRs.

  1. Early Repayment Charges

Do not forget that it is possible to pay off your wedding loan early. Often this is desirable to couples particularly if they wish to be debt free or where paying off a loan may impact their ability to borrow further (for example, to purchase a house). Many loan providers will charge an early repayment fee if you wish to pay off your debts early. If you think there maybe a possibility that you can pay off your loan early, try and search for a wedding loan deal that comes without any early repayment fees.

  1. Check your credit rating

Wedding loan lenders are only required to offer their advertised ‘typical’ APR to two-thirds of applicants. If your credit rating is not in good shape, you maybe offered a more expensive deal than the low rate loan you originally applied for.

  1. Secured v Unsecured loans: know the risks

Secured loans are cheaper than unsecured loans but run the risk that your lender will be able to take a charge on your property. This means that if you are unable to keep up with your repayments, you risk losing your home. Secured loans generally are only offered to homeowners who have sufficient equity in their property. So do not sign up for a loan unless you are 100% sure that you will be able to meet your repayments.

  1. Check the small print

Never sign a document without checking the small print. Should you need any assistance in understanding the meaning of your loan agreement, always consider obtaining legal advice.

For any further information, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

From an award winning wedding planner: 5 mistakes couples often make when planning their wedding day.

 With the United Kingdom heading towards a mini heat wave, the wedding season is on the verge of kicking off. The Wedding Lawyer has interviewed, Parita Patel who has recently been awarded “best wedding planner of the year” about some of the common mistakes couples make when planning a wedding which has the potential to ruin your big day.

Restricted to using preferred caterers

An increasing number of wedding venues are insistent that you use their preferred and approved caterers. Parita states that venues do not always make it clear from the outset that you must use one of their preferred caterers and often couples are not informed about this until it is too late and they have already contracted with the venue. Being restricted to using preferred suppliers could be problematic as they can be costly and less flexible to meet your requirements. If you must use a preferred caterer, it maybe a good idea to negotiate your catering and venue contract simultaneously before entering into a contract with either supplier.

Curfews Catch outs

From Parita’s experience, many couples fail to acknowledge the curfews that are often in place at a venue. There maybe curfews in relation to when music must come to an end or in relation to delivering and picking up supplier equipment. It is essential that both sound and delivery curfews are carefully checked and provision is made for the wedding to finish at a reasonable time to allow for the suppliers to clear up.  It is a common occurrence for suppliers to be unable to load their equipment following a wedding or reception due to a curfew and therefore, charged an additional fee for a next day collection.

Parking Practicalities

If your wedding is taking place within a busy City Centre, parking costs for suppliers can sometimes be extortionate. However, where parking is not readily available at a reasonable cost, you may wish to consider approaching the local authority to obtain a low cost parking permit. Some local authorities categorise weddings as “special events” and on this basis are willing to issue parking permits for suppliers. This will allow your supplier to park on a yellow line when loading and unloading which is often more convenient and inexpensive compared to using designated City Centre car parks.

 Using public spaces without obtaining local authority permission

Whether you decide to have an elaborate roadside wedding procession, use a photographic drone, host a pre or post wedding photo shoot in a public area or decide to park your wedding transportation on a road with parking restrictions, it maybe prudent to check with the relevant local authority to ensure there are no specific restrictions to your activities. Local authority representatives tend to be rather helpful if they know you are celebrating an important event and will provide you with relevant guidance. From experience, Parita also states that some Central London venues will ask that you obtain local authority permission if you decide to play loud music in public spaces (including on the doorstep of a Central London hotel). You can find details for your relevant local authority by visiting https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

Planning a party at home?

With couples trying to save on wedding costs, it is becoming increasingly common to host a wedding event at home. If you are planning on hosting a wedding house party or pre-event, our recommendation is that you inform your local authority, particularly if there is likely to be loud music. Local authorities can send enforcement officers to houses where loud music continues persistently after 11pm. In extreme circumstances, enforcement officers can confiscate music equipment in a bid to bring the party to an end. Therefore, it is always a good idea to cooperate with your local authority. Another tip is to write a kind note to your neighbours informing them of the fact that there is a wedding party going on and manage their expectations as to when the party will be starting and finishing. Some couples even go as far as inviting their neighbours to their wedding event or a “pre-drink for neighbours” event to keep them sweet and to minimise the chances of a complaint being made.

Parita Patel was named “Best Wedding Planner of the Year” earlier this year. For more information about having Parita as your wedding planner, contact info@rishtaaevents.co.uk or visit www.rishtaaweddingsandevents.co.uk

For any further assistance in relation to this article contact: info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

Dan Kerr Brides goes into administration. What you need to know?

On Tuesday 18 April 2017, it was announced that the Dan Kerr bridal boutique, which has stores in Preston and Blackpool, has closed its doors and removed stock from displays as the administrators move in. A representative from the family run bridal shop, which had been running for over 100 years stated that “We have no alternative but to close down” and that “individual letters will be sent to each customer in relation to dresses which have been ordered or paid for”. Consumers are instructed to wait for letters and to contact Leonard Curtis Recovery if they would like further information regarding the operations of the business. However, in the meantime, the below may assist you.

What is administration?

An insolvency firm has been called in to run the company, and obtain as much cash as it can for creditors by selling or utilising its assets. In this case, Dan Kerr has instructed insolvency practitioners Leonard Curtis Recovery to handle the administration. Leonard Curtis Recovery is likely to collect any assets and try and sell what is can. The cash raised will then be distributed to creditors in order of priority.

Priority of payments following administration

The priority in which creditors are paid is usually as follows:

  1. Secured creditors – E.g. banks – if the company have borrowed money secured on property/assets. According to Companies House, it would appear that Dan Kerr (Brides) Limited have outstanding liabilities to HSBC Bank PLC and Midland Bank PLC.
  2. Insolvency Practitioners – e.g. Leonard Curtis Recovery.
  3. Employees – Redundancy pay and wages
  4. Everyone else – including customers, HMRC and any additional money owed to employees.

Therefore, you will note that customers are low down in the priority list that could make it difficult (though not impossible) to obtain refunds from the bridal shop.

Can you get your money back?

It is our understanding that Dan Kerr have stock and it maybe the case that some of this stock has already been allocated to customers. Therefore, at this stage, there maybe a possibility that your orders have been fulfilled and it may be worth checking with your Dan Kerr/Leonard Curtis representative to what extent your order has or can be fulfilled. It maybe the case that Dan Kerr have entered into an arrangement with another company to meet their outstanding obligations to customers. You should check if this has been the case.

If you have ordered a wedding dress and the order has not been fulfilled as yet, there is no guarantee you will either get your wedding dress or your money back from Dan Kerr.

From what we understand about the situation with Dan Kerr, there is no evidence that the insolvency company will be running the company as a going concern, which means the company has ceased trading. This will complicate things as far as refunds are concerned.

As you will see from the priority list above, whilst it is not impossible, it is unlikely you will get a full refund from the administrators. If you do, it is often a negligible amount.

What are your options?

1.Did you pay by credit card?

If you purchase cost between £100 – £30,000 and you paid either a deposit or the full amount by credit card, then your credit card company is liable under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Please note, the £100 or more threshold is for a single item. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be protected if you bought say 5 dresses for £90.

The Section 75 protection means that whatever rights you have against Dan Kerr, you now have against your credit card provider. You are advised to contact your credit card company explaining the situation. If you have any receipts for your purchased items, ensure you take a picture/photocopy of these, as you may need to submit these as proof of purchase. Please be advised that your credit card provider may expect you to contact Dan Kerr in the first instance to understand the latest position and obtain confirmation that Dan Kerr are unable to provide you with a refund.

Click here for a template letter to send to your credit card company.

2. Try relying on Chargeback?

If you paid for your wedding dress using either of the following methods:

  • Debit cards – Visa, Maestro, Visa Electron or Mastercard debit card (any amount – even under £100)
  • Prepaid Visa or Mastercard (any amount – even under £100)
  • Credit Cards – Visa, Mastercard or Amex Credit card (Under £100 only. If it’s over £100 use Section 75 (in step 1 above).

You could try using the Chargeback system.

This is a system where your bank gets cash back from the Dan Kerr’s payment processing bank.

However, unlike with credit cards (in step 1 above), this is not a legal protection and operates based on the internal rules of banks. Therefore, you are advised to contact your bank to see whether you can rely on this system.

Please note, you must complain within 120 days of realising there is a problem (not from the date of transaction). If you heard about the Dan Kerr administration on Tuesday 18 April 2017 your 120-day time limit has commenced.

3. Did you pay in cash or by cheque? 

Things get complicated where you have paid using cash or cheque as you will not be able to rely on the protection discussed in step 1 and 2 above. Our advice would be to see how far your order had reached with Dan Kerr and check to see whether your order had been processed.

4. Wedding insurance

If you have taken out wedding insurance, it is worth checking your insurance policy/contacting your insurance company to see whether you are covered in the event of a wedding supplier entering into administration. When contacting your insurance company you should have the following details to hand;

  1. The date of purchase
  2. The amount of purchase
  3. Proof of purchase
  4. The excess on your policy
  5. Your insurance policy
  6. The date you found out about the issue with Dan Kerr
  7. Any correspondence with Dan Kerr.

Should you need any further information, please contact info@theweddinglawywer.co.uk

See our online resources for a template Section 75 letter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destination Weddings – Is the marriage recognised in the UK?

There has been a surge in popularity in having a destination wedding. Guaranteed great weather, the picture perfect backdrop for the ceremony and quite often a trimmed down guest list. The question that often gets asked is whether marriages abroad are recognised in the UK.

  1. Your marriage should be recognised in the UK if you follow the correct process according to the local law of the country you get married in. To understand what the requirements are in the country of your marriage, you are advised to contact the embassy of that country.
  2. An overseas marriage cannot be ‘registered’ in the UK (rules may differ if you are part of the armed forces). If your wedding has taken place in one of the countries which the General Register Office (GRO) can accept formal notification,  a ‘record’ can be created for your overseas marriage by depositing the marriage certificate in the General Register Office. Contact the GRO (details below) to see which countries will accept formal notification.
  3. This ‘record’ can be created at any point after your marriage ceremony.
  4. In order to have your wedding certificate deposited you will need to contact both the British Embassy in the country you were married in as well as the GRO in the UK. When contacting these organisations, you will need to state that you wish to deposit your marriage certificate with the GRO.
  5. When contacting the embassy in the country of your marriage ceremony, you will need to provide them with a copy of your marriage certificate that will be authenticated and potentially translated by the local authority. The British Consular General will then forward this certificate to the GRO in the UK. All this maybe subject to a fee.
  6. Once the documents have been received by the GRO you will be notified. The documents are then held with the GRO. Should you need a copy of your certificate you can contact the GRO.

General Information on Marriages Abroad can be obtained by contacting either of the below organisations:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Consular Division
King Charles Street
LONDON
SW1A 2AH
Tel: 020 7238 4567
Web : www.fco.gov.uk

Registering your Wedding

Marriages Section
General Register Office
Trafalgar Road
SOUTHPORT
PR8 2HH
Tel: 0151 471 4814
Web: www.gro.gov.uk

If you need assistance in understanding the legal requirements of getting married abroad, please contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

Venue Contracts: Checklist before signing the terms and conditions

Couples usually get a huge sense of relief once their venue is booked. After all, once the venue is sorted the remainder of the wedding planning can continue. However, whilst it is appreciated that there is often a need for speed when securing a venue, care should be taken before signing on the dotted line,

Look out for the below points before signing the terms and conditions with your venue. If the venue terms and conditions do not mention the below, it is recommended that you address these points with them before signing.

  1. Ensure you have the full Agreement in front of you

The terms and conditions for a wedding venue is usually made up of:

  • The Particulars or Schedule (usually a separate document to the terms and conditions)
  • The General Terms and Conditions

Both documents are extremely important. You should always ensure you have both documents in front of you when you carry out your review before signing. It maybe the case that one document cross refers to the other document, therefore to understand what you are about to sign, it is a good idea to have all the documents to hand.

The Particulars/Schedule are specific to your individual booking. Therefore, it is advised that you carefully check;

  • The names of the parties are spelt correctly
  • The date(s) are correct
  • The Particulars clearly specify which facilities you have access to on the date(s) of your booking
  • There is clarity about access times and what time you must vacate the property on the date(s) of your booking
  • If you have agreed any time extensions, ensure these are clearly set out in the Particulars
  • If your wedding venue is providing you with complimentary or discounted accommodation, this should also be set out in the Particulars
  • The Particulars may also set out a break down of the costs of your booking. Ensure these reflect the final price that has been negotiated
  1. Your Rights and Obligations
  • Are you allowed to bring external caterers to operate on the day? It is worth while checking this as soon as possible as catering costs can differ massively depending on whether you are required to use in-house caterers or whether you can bring your own.
  • Are there any areas of the venue which are out of bounds on the wedding day? If so, could this impact you?
  • What are your obligations as to music? Are you allowed to bring your own DJ? Is there any information about what time music must finish? Are there any sound limit monitors or smoke machines that could impact on the big day?
  • What is the capacity of the venue? Do you have any obligations in terms of informing the venue of the final guest list numbers?
  • What are your obligations as to cleaning up the venue after the big day? If this is something you are required to do, are you in a position to make arrangements with someone to oversee this process? The newly weds would probably want to jet off on honeymoon rather than oversee the clean up operation!
  1. Payment, Postponement and Cancellation
  • Are you required to pay a deposit? If so, are you in a position to pay this? Before paying this, ensure you have got full confirmation from all important family and friends that the proposed date is suitable for them to attend. It may be difficult to change your wedding date once you have signed the contract. Also, you are advised to check any potential tube strikes, major sports matches or road works which could inconvenience your guests to making their way to your wedding.
  • When is the remaining balance payable? Ensure you are in a financial position to comply with the payment schedule. If you may struggle, negotiate this prior to signing the contract. Once the contract is signed, ensure you put diary reminders in on your phone or email calendar so you do not forget to pay your next instalment.
  • What happens if you cancel your booking? Ensure you are clear on your payment obligations in the event of you having to cancel your booking. You are advised to get wedding insurance for this very purpose.
  • What happens if the venue cancels the booking? In the event of the venue cancelling, the venue may try to limit their liability to only cover a ‘refund’ of any fees paid which will not exceed the total fee. If this is the case, you are advised to remind the venue that you may pursue them for consequential losses if they are in breach of contract. Consequential losses may include the cost of finding a venue at last minute, reprinting wedding cards or a change of cost for wedding transportation that may have to go to a different location.
  • Does the venue have the correct planning permissions to carry out the civil wedding ceremony? This should be checked before signing the agreement.
  1. Over-run
  • Is the contract clear about what happens if the wedding over runs the allotted time allocated?
  • Are you clear on the penalty? If this is not set out in the terms and conditions, ensure clarity is obtained before you sign.
  • What safeguards have you got in place, in case proceedings on the day overrun? You are advised to incorporate time buffers in your timetable in case there is a delay. It may also be useful to have a timekeeper on the day who ensures the programme runs to plan.
  1. General clauses
  • In the event of a dispute, do the terms and conditions make it clear how they will be resolved? For example, does it set out whom you can complain to and when a complaint should be made?
  • If you have not met representatives from the venue, the terms and conditions should make reference to the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. This means you will have the right to cancel the agreement within 14 days of the conclusion of the agreement.

For more information or assistance with interpreting or negotiating your venue contract, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

Poor wedding photos! What can you do?

Complaining that you look more like the beast than the beauty on your wedding day is unlikely to be a good enough reason in the eyes of the law to provide you with consumer rights against your photographer.

However frustrating this may seem, consumer rights legislation is more focused on the ‘quality’ of your pictures rather than the aesthetics of the subject matters in the picture.

The starting point is that you should expect a reasonable quality of image from your photographer. However, where this has not happened, you can do the following:

  1. Contact your photographer to see whether they are able to edit the photographs to enhance the quality. A face-to-face meeting is usually more effective and shows a level of seriousness on your part.
  1. If the pictures are so poor that you are unable to use them, you should be able to seek a full refund. There is also a possibility that you will be entitled to claim for compensation to reflect the loss of memory of the day. In claiming compensation, it is useful to keep the amount to a realistic figure to reflect your disappointment. Any extortionate claims are likely to be unsuccessful.
  1. If some of the photos are good quality but the rest are missing or unusable, you will only be able to claim a partial refund.
  1. You may benefit from gaining an expert opinion from another photographer to comment on the quality of the photographs. This could assist in strengthening your case.

Should you require any assistance in complaining about the work of a photographer – contact   info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

It has been ages! When will I get my wedding photos?

 

So the big day has come and gone, honeymoon is over and normality has kicked in. But – when are the wedding photos going to arrive? Before entering into a photography or videography contract, it is strong advisable that you check to see how long after your big day the photos and/or videos will be ready. An effective contract will make reference to the delivery date of the photographs. Photos and videos can take up to 1 – 6 months to be ready particularly where the photographer/videographer has a busy schedule and little time to edit.   There may also be an option for you to view your photos and suggest edits to be made before the completed version is ready.

If the contract does not state how long it will take for the editing service to be completed, the general rule is that according to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a service is to be performed within a “reasonable time”. What constitutes is a reasonable time is a question of fact. Opinions of other photographers and videographers may assist in this regard.

To ensure you get your photos and videos on time, the following tips may assist:

  1. Check the contract to see if there is mention of when the photo/video will be ready. If this is not stated in the contract, ask your photographer/videographer before confirming a booking.
  1. Following your wedding day, create diary reminders to periodically contact your photographer/videographer to monitor the progress of the editing of your pictures/videos.
  1. Where the photographer/videographer fails to deliver according to the timetable in their contract, there may well be a potential breach of contract claim against them. In the first instance you are advised to send a letter of complaint and failing a satisfactory response consider contacting a lawyer.

Should you require any further information contact: info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

A 3 step guide – What to do if your wedding supplier has gone bust before your big day?

Every couple wants their wedding day to go as smoothly as possible. However, wedding suppliers are businesses and like all businesses run the risk of going bust.

What can you do?

Step 1 – Contact details of the insolvency practitioner

Get in touch with your point of contact at the wedding supplier to understand the latest position and whether there is a risk of the company being salvaged.

Check to see if the insolvency has started.

If not, ask your point of contact to provide you with details about the receiver or insolvency practitioner dealing with the matter.

Where the supplier is a limited company – the above information maybe listed on Companies House https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/companies-house

Where the supplier is a partnership or sole trader, this information maybe published in the insolvency section of the local newspaper or by checking the Individual Insolvency Register.

Step 2 – Submit Your Claim

Once you have the details of the receiver or insolvency company, write to them to register your claim, explaining:

  1. How much money you are owed
  2. Proof that you have paid the supplier the amount (a receipt or bank statement should be sufficient)
  3. What the money was for

It is important to remember that even if you submit a claim, there is no guarantee you will get the money back. After all there is a good chance that the supplier will have many debts that need paying off. Nevertheless, it is always worth putting in the claim as this could result in a percentage of your money being returned.

Step 3 – Claim from your credit card company

If the supplier goes bust and you have paid your supplier using a credit card , it may be possible to contact your credit card issuer for a refund on the amount you spent with the supplier. This is set out in Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act and the credit card company can assist you with losses you have sustained between £100 and £30,000.

Step 4 – What if you have not paid using a credit card?

If you have paid using a debit card you maybe able to claim through the MasterCard and Visa Chargeback scheme provided it hasn’t been more than 120 days since paying on your debit card and making your claim.

Finally, if you have taken out wedding insurance, this may well assist in recovering any funds that have been lost.

For any further information contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

A 5-step guide: What to do if your wedding venue cancels your booking?

Step 1

Immediately arrange a meeting with the venue manager:

  • Aim to set up a meeting with the venue manager within 24 hours of learning that your wedding venue has cancelled on you.
  • This will allow you to understand the circumstances surrounding your cancellation.
  • Where possible, take a copy of the contract with you to the meeting.
  • Take a note of everything discussed at the meeting.

Step 2

Ascertain whether the venue manager can provide you with an alternative similar venue or whether he has a contact that can assist:

  • Time is of the essence if a wedding venue cancels – therefore, it is worth exploring whether the venue manager has contacts in the industry that can assist you. This is a far quicker option at this stage than frantically ringing around to find an available venue.

Step 3

Start searching for another venue as soon as possible:

  • In the event of the venue manager not being able to assist you, start the search yourself. Ideally within 24-48 hours of the meeting  with the venue manager.
  • If your wedding cards have gone into print – immediately inform the designers and printers to stop press.
  • Contact any wedding suppliers you have already engaged to see if they can assist you. They quite often have been to a number of wedding venues.

Step 4

Request a refund from the management of the cancelled wedding venue:

  • You are entitled to a refund of any monies paid.
  • You can also claim compensation for the cost difference of booking a new venue at the last minute. Further, you may be able to claim any consequential losses that have resulted due to the venue cancelling on you – for example the cost to reprint new wedding cards or if your suppliers will charge an additional fee to travel to the new venue.

Step 5

In the event that the cancelled wedding venue management fails to  cooperate with you, contact The Wedding Lawyer for guidance as to how to proceed info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk