A young couple have lost $8,000 after being forced to cancel their wedding amid the coronavirus pandemic as they say their venue refuses to give them a refund.
Jake Wyatt, 22, proposed to his girlfriend of one year Chloe Williamson, 21, in picturesque San Diego on a US holiday last November.
Excited about the prospect of starting a family, the couple spent months planning their dream wedding and settled on a location in Queensland, the bride’s home state, as their venue.
But as the COVID-19 crisis deepened with worldwide infections, travel bans and social distancing policies to stop the spread of the virus, it became impossible for the groom’s family to fly over from New Zealand.
Chloe and Jake were excited by the prospect of getting married and starting a family
Mr Wyatt, an apprentice plumber, told Daily Mail Australia they made the tough decision to cancel the event.
When they told the venue, the bride and groom were shocked by the response.
While the couple claimed the owners offered to postpone the event for six months at no extra cost, they opted to ask for a refund instead due to economic uncertainty in the face of the virus.
‘We cancelled because we don’t know if this will still be around in six months. Will there be a financial crisis? Will the venue go bankrupt? We would rather have the money in our own account, safe,’ Mr Wyatt said.
But they say a full refund was declined because the owners cited a no-cancellation policy.
Jake Wyatt, 22, with Chloe Williamson, 21, in New York on a trip to the US late last year
They maintain the venue also said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) didn’t require them to give refunds due to coronavirus concerns as the venue was still fully operational at the time of cancellation.
‘I love Chloe and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. We were very down in the dumps and sad,’ he said.
‘It took us a long time to save that money.’
But Miss Williamson, from the Gold Coast, said the issues with the venue didn’t stop there.
‘I guess I’m disappointed but not surprised. We had a lot of issues with the venue from the start. We did consider going else where at one stage but we just sucked it up because everything was planned and we just wanted to get married.’
She said they invited 48 adults and three children to meet the venue’s minimum requirement of 51 people.
Jake propose to Chloe in San Diego on a trip to the United States last year. Pictured left: The moment before he got down on one knee
The organisers then said children weren’t included in the head count and asked the pair to cough up an extra $1,000 for not meeting the requirements.
The bride-to-be also claimed she double-checked what the $7,000 price tag included.
‘Decoration wise and they said it included candles, curtains, name cards, but then on our final meeting the charged $400 for the curtains, $200 for chairs and $200 for candles.’
They ended up paying an extra $1,500 and buying their own decorations.
‘We never had a good feeling about the place, unfortunately.’
Miss Williamson (pictured with Mr Wyatt) said she ‘cried for days’ after losing $8,000 upon cancelling her wedding
Mr Wyatt’s mother Kelly shared her shock in an explosive Facebook post.
‘These horrible people have refused Jake and Chloe ANY refund, they are keeping the entire wedding fee and giving back nothing!’ she wrote
‘This is a young couple that have worked and saved hard for their wedding, they’re devastated they’ve had to cancel, they’ve spent months prepping and cried many a tear only to be met with these pieces of s**t refusing to give their money back.’
Miss Williamson told the Gold Coast Bulletin she ‘cried for days’.
She also made a complaint with Fair Trade and was advised to stop communicating with the venue.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison extended the nation’s social distancing policies on Tuesday night to include a ban on weddings with more than five people.