Corporate and Special Event Catering Blog

The Other Side of a Special Event Catering Cancellation

Posted on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 @ 04:19 AM

Event Picture Aspen Catering

All the decisions are made, the planning is done, the caterers, florists and entertainers are hired, and then, a circumstance forces the dreaded cancellation. No matter what the reason, it’s an unfortunate situation.  In our 14 years of catering and event planning, it doesn’t happen often but it does create a plea from the client for a “refund”.  

Simply not having the event doesn’t and shouldn’t equate to a full refund. 

 Depending on the time between the date of the event, and the date of the cancellation, some expense has been incurred by the vendor. A caterer and event planner will have created and managed your quote, adjusted it numerous times, contracted suppliers, wait staff, bartenders, rental items, and whatever other services you asked for originally.  Florists and Bakeries are in a similar situation. Venues and Entertainers can’t always “resell” that date since it was reserved for your event, and they made themselves unavailable. Let’s face it, a venue can’t have two parties at the same time, and an entertainer can’t be in two different places at the same time. 

Special Event providers and venues typically require a signed contract or agreement along with a deposit to formally accept your order. In that contract, the cancellation policy should be clearly spelled out and if it isn’t, ask for it.  Cancellation fees are also normally structured on a sliding scale like this:

Greater than 30 days---10% of the invoice total
30 Days – 11 Days---25% of the invoice total
10 Days or Less---50% of the invoice total

The reason? The closer to the event date, the more time and energy that supplier has invested in their portion of the event.  They may have placed and received their inventory, scheduled staff, managed with the venue the arrival of rental items, Wedding Cakes, Florists, Entertainer, Decorators and whatever else you requested.  Time is money and they have spent it…in good faith…for your event. Simply saying “I don’t want to have to pay for something I’m not getting” is not fair or true…you got the vendors time and expertise and they deserve to be paid for it, even if the event doesn’t happen. After all, they aren’t the ones cancelling, you are. Hopefully seeing the other side of a cancellation will shed some light on why cancellation fees exist.

Topics: special event planning, catering, event planning, wait staff, bartenders, entertainers, decorators