An Auckland couple's wedding next weekend is in jeopardy after they claim a reception venue operator refused to refund them an $11,200 deposit amid the Covid-19 indoor event restrictions.
But the venue operator says the wedding can still go ahead with 100 people or if the couple could change the date, he would try facilitate that.
It comes as Kiwi wedding photographers have written an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asking her to temporarily shut down the industry because of fears over the potential for community transmission of the coronavirus.
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Ardern announced Saturday a new emergency alert system with the country currently at alert level 2, where those over 70 or with compromised immunity should stay home.
The total number of confirmed cases is now 52, with the possibility of community transmission of several cases being investigated.
The news added to frayed nerves as wedding photographers spoken to by the Herald said they knew of couples who planned to flout the indoor event restrictions, in place to prevent the spread of the virus which has killed more than 11,000 globally, in order to pursue their dream day.
But Anitesh Govind and Tracey Chand would rather postpone their 350-guest wedding which was set down for next Saturday at D'Grand Cabana in Takanini, than go ahead with less than a third of the guest list.
They initially scaled back the wedding to 250 to meet the venue's minimum requirement after border restrictions were implemented, but it meant Govind's father and sister who live overseas could not attend.
In a letter to D'Grand Cabana operator Vikkram Maan, Chand asked for a refund of the deposit - 50 per cent of the full price - saying the unforeseen Covid-19 restrictions made a contract between the parties null and void.
"We believe it is unreasonable and reckless of you to force us to continue with the event or lose our deposit of $11,200."
She said Maan could not claim a lost business opportunity due to their cancellation because his minimum of 250 guests meant the venue could not operate anyway.
They offered to forego $3000 of the deposit and reschedule.
"We do not want to put the public at risk. We believe this is a reasonable offer, however, you have declined it because you are putting money before the lives of individual New Zealanders."
Govind said he would take legal action to get the deposit back.
However Maan told the Herald the couple had changed their minds too often which led to a breakdown in negotiations.
He pointed to the contract which shows the deposit is non-refundable and if the couple wanted to change the date the venue would try to facilitate that.
Maan said he'd had 13 postponements in April and all of those customers were happy and he would reduce the minimum requirement to 100 people for Govind and Chand.
Meanwhile, Wellington wedding photographer Tim Kelly has added his voice to the call by the wedding photography sector for a halt on weddings.
In a video posted to Facebook, Kelly said he photographed a wedding last weekend where a Covid-19 case was later confirmed.
"What we have all seen as wedding photographers at weddings is that social distancing is talked about at the beginning of the wedding and then it is forgotten very quickly.
"It's a wedding. People are wanting to hug each other. People are wanting to kiss. People are wanting to be close and connected."
Kelly said he had seen guests who he thought should have been in self-isolation.
He said weddings at present had a very sombre feel because of the coronavirus and he recommended couples postpone their big day not only for safety, but also enjoyment.
One photographer who didn't want to be named, told the Herald she would lose $25,000 in bookings in April alone if weddings were cancelled but it wasn't about the money.
She wanted couples to postpone for safety reasons and felt she couldn't cancel any bookings because it could ruin her reputation.
In the open letter to the Prime Minister calling for a temporary shutdown in the industry photographers stated:
"In the last two weeks, we have lost our livelihood. We don't want to lose our friends, our family, our community, our country as well.
"We are the wedding and event photographers of New Zealand. This is a letter from all of us. It is not about our pockets anymore, but the lives of people in our community that are at stake.
"We have heard of overseas guests flouting the Government's self-quarantine rules, of physical distancing going out the window with a few drinks, of brides and grooms refusing even to consider postponing their weddings and of complacent talk about this pandemic at these weddings.
"Photographers and other vendors are scared and/or ethically compromised to attend these weddings but have no legal reason they can use to back out of them."