After COVID-19 upends wedding plans, couple struggles to reclaim deposit

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, but Jay Ghiya and his fiancée Amanda went through a nightmare as they fought to get their deposit back from a wedding venue.

“It still seems like to me that they’re profiting off us not being able to get married there,” Ghiya said Thursday.

The couple dreamed of having their wedding this spring in Rhode Island.

“It’s a beautiful waterfront venue, that’s the reason why we chose the place,” Ghiya added.

Jay and Amanda were supposed to tie the knot in June and had put down a deposit last May.

“Initially $3,000, and another $3,000 to hold the date,” he said.

But with COVID-19 upending their plans, the venue gave them four options, which forced them to make a big decision.

“We could reschedule later this year, Thursday or Monday, that’s pretty much all they had available,” Ghiya said. “We can’t make a wedding happen on a Thursday or a Monday. It’s not practical for myself, for Amanda, or any of our guests.”

Ghiya said the second and third options included picking dates in 2021 or 2022.

“We don’t want to get married that far in advance,” he said. “We’ve been waiting long enough. I proposed back in November 2018. It’s been two years — we’re ready to get married.” 

With the fourth option, he said they would only get half of their money back.

“Amanda and myself are both medical professionals. They said they’re making a one-time exception by even offering a 50 percent refund,” Ghiya said.

That caused him to question where the rest of those funds had gone.

“They claim they did $4,000 worth of work, so I said, ‘what is this itemized list of $4,000 worth of work that you’ve given?’ and she failed to provide that to me,” he explained. 

After Gov. Gina Raimondo made it clear Wednesday that weddings with 50 or more attendees would not be possible this spring and summer, Ghiya received this text message: “I’ve spoken to the owner again after the press conference and was able to go over the governor’s comments. I will forward the payment you requested to the address you gave me this week.”

Ghiya said they’ll get back $5,500 of the $6,000 they put down. He said the venue will be keeping $500 for a food tasting. The couple still plans to marry in June at his parents’ house.

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