Date: October 10, 2012
Posted In: DLP Law

Carol and Shawn decided to have a large wedding. Carol’s parents, along with Shawn’s, decided that they would split the cost of the reception that was to immediately follow the wedding. As it turned out, there were over two hundred guests invited and no costs were spared, as the parents went all out. The final bill for the reception was well over $25,000.00.

             The last thing that the parents anticipated was that, on the morning of the wedding, Carol would back out. Despite the pleadings of her parents, Carol was adamant that she simply could not marry Shawn and in fact had developed a relationship with another man. Shawn’s parents were equally adamant that, since Carol broke off the plans for the wedding, that they should not be held responsible for fifty percent of the cost of the wedding reception.

 ISSUE:          Does Shawn’s parents have grounds to refuse to pay?

 ANSWER:     No. Shawn’s parents had co-signed the contract with the caterer along with Carol’s parents. This is an unfortunate situation for Shawn’s parents, but nevertheless, they are legally bound to that contract even though they were in no way responsible for the failure of the wedding to proceed.

 A more interesting issue arises out of whether or not Shawn’s parents would be able to attempt to sue either Carol’s parents or Carol directly for reimbursement. This too would fail since a vow to get married is not a binding contract, especially in light of the fact that many wedding plans are foiled before the wedding date.

 Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Cal Leventhal
Cal is a graduate of the University of Miami (magna Cum Laude) and attended Loyola and Notre Dame law schools graduating in 1976. He is admitted to the Bars of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and both state and federal trial and appellate courts situated in Pennsylvania.