Big snowstorm right do you handle cancellations?

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John Allo

New Member
Just wondering...

With the weather dumping lots of snow in our area, it got me thinking of a topic for discussion.

When you know the weather is going to be bad, do you initiate the phone call to the person that hired you to inquire about a cancellation or do you wait for them to call you?

I understand that a wedding cannot just be rescheduled, but if you had a private party on the books during the snow storm, how do you handle it?

Dave Miller

Reverend Dave
Depends on the situation. I may call the client, or I may just go to the gig.

OR I may call the venue. My contract says that if I get a venue cancellation due to snow, it is the same as a mutually agreed cancellation.


New Member
I operate under the assumption that the gig is still on unless the client tells me otherwise.

Therefore, I wait for them to call. If I don't get the call, I show up and set up.

If they do cancel, I keep the retainer but waive the balance due clause in my agreement because I consider it an "Act of God".

Last winter I had a corporate Holiday party on the evening of a major snowstorm. I left the van in the garage thinking it wouldn't be too tough to get it out, but when the snow started falling I realized it wasn't going to be easy to get it from the garage to the street. 10 minutes before I was going to start digging the client called to cancel. I was never so thankful to get that call....let the storm pass over then called the plow to do the driveway.....


New Member
We are proactive and make the call. We also have called any sales appointments for today and tomorrow and resceduled those. 2 School Dances dropped tonight as well as a corporate party. I have one of the 3 weddings and am hoping people still show. Leaving soon cause the roads are bad and getting worse



New Member
I get paid. I always call my customers(just did).
My contract states I am not responsible for acts of god. We are not God, and cant control the weather.
I do bend the rules for fundraisers but that's it.
pj the dj


New Member
Something to ponder -

Understanding some state an act of God, but still keep the full amount from the client. This sort of troubles me.. i'm thinking along the fact that if a client cancels because of a snow storm, how does this grant you the full amount knowing the fact that the contract is basically there in case someone else wanted to book you. you say no refund because you're already booked and basically if a client cancels, you get the money knowing that if someone else contacted you for an event, you say no.

if i'm not making sense, forgive me. just trying to figure where an act of god with a snow storm would qualify you as a freebie, especially when the client has no control over the weather and the venue is closed for the event.

i would rather reschedule on an aviable date instead of somewhat screwing a client out of money.

your thoughts?

Ken Heath

Super Moderator...da-ta-daaa!!!
Staff member

I handled the problem by moving away from where it snows!


When I did live in a 'All-Four-Seasons part of the Country, I was fortunate to never have to cancel due to being immobile.

I suppose I'd have had to weigh it on a case-by-case basis...if taxi's can make it across town then so should I...if Police, Fire and Ambulance aren't making it anywhere, then what shot do I have?



Ken Heath-Moderator said:

I handled the problem by moving away from where it snows!
Same goes for me here. 8) Now if it was called off due to a hurricane that would be a different matter entirely.

I would see if they could resechdule the date if possible, otherwise they get their payment - less deposit back.

DJ Iron Mike

New Member
All I got to say is you got to do what's safe and use common sense. In the Northern states like the ones up in New England, they know how to handle snow and they have the most awesome road crews I have ever seen, but in the Mid-Atlantic states, mostly from Maryland on down, it gets worse. People in these states and it's not just Maryland so I'm including Virginia, so it doesn't seem like I'm Maryland bashing, they can't handle the snow. The road crews wait until after the snow stops and go out there with their Kubotas and brooms. Their plows are held high in the air like trophies. By the time the snow stops it's frozen over and it's ice. Ruts and grooves in the street from where it didn't get plowed before it froze.
Having suffered from a pretty nasty fall this season and tearing up my knee, I have to stress common sense and open communication. If they are calling out the Guard and telling you to stay home over the radio and TV and if you don't have to be out on the roads, don't be, they're not doing it for their health and safety, but yours and that should also apply to wedding guests as well. Common Sense and Communication! The Doctor's bill is more than what you charge for a gig if you get a broken bone.


Well-Known Member
Keep the retainer is how I handle them. But I'm nice enough to let them apply the retainer to a future date within 90 days and subject to availability.


New Member
Personally I think keeping the full amount is bad business.

I had a wedding early Saturday morning.
With good weather, the drive is about 45 minutes. We got almost a foot and half of snow and I knew that it would take me twice as long to get there because most roads we still not fully plowed. It took an hour and a half to snow blow my driveway which left little time to get the car loaded and on the road.

Personally, I would have preferred to either stay home and have a "snow day" or wait a few more hours and hit the mountain for a day of skiing.

The wedding went on as planned with a handful of people unable to make it because they had not been plowed out yet.

If the client had called me before I left and said the wedding was postponed, I would have returned the money and offered to rebook if I was available. Unlike a wedding being cancelled for some other reason at the last minute, a storm like this would have prevented me from working just about any event.

Refunding the money would be the right thing to do and would have left the client with a positive perception of my company and created good will.
In my opinion that is worth so much more than the fee I would have made.



New Member
i would rather reschedule on an available date instead of somewhat screwing a client out of money.
First, I take great exception to the suggestion that those of us with different policies are are "screwing" clients. There are plenty of good reasons on both sides of this debate, and those of us that view our calendar dates as inventory have a legitimate reason for structuring our agreements with our clients as we have.

Also, each situation will be slightly different, but I happen to think that anyone that plans a wedding should accept responsibility for the likelihood of the kind of weather that can happen at that time of year. Sometimes it snows in the winter and spring. If they have a deep concern about this, they will do well to read my very clearly worded agreement.

Would I be flexible with a client if I felt I could? OF COURSE I would. But what if there are not mutually acceptable postponement dates? Some folks mentioned 90 days to reschedule. Suddenly a March or April date becomes a June or July date? No sir! Not without some serious negotiating, or moving from a Saturday to a Friday. 30 days - if I have it, otherwise we re-set.

Here in the Bay Area, we get a lot of people who try to cram an outdoor wedding into April or October. That's fine, I tell them - but if it rains, I might have to charge you anyway. I can't control if it cheeses them off that I have a full calendar and get calls for late dates all the time. I am not giving away my dates for free.

There are great reasons to strictly maintain discretion over who gets reschedules or full/partial refunds. What if the weather is not really that bad and they decide to call off the wedding because the bride doesn't want her dress to get wet or Gramma can't drive in the snow or something equally silly? (I know of a case where a bride canceled because cold weather caused her nipples to protrude.)

You may never hear the real reason, so it's best to apply your own criteria for determining what's reasonable. I've heard of DJ's that use a pretty simple rule to determine if the weather is inclement enough to warrant cancellation: "If I can get there on time, so can they."

For these reasons I want to be the one that gets to decide what's fair and best for my business, so my policy clearly states that there will be no refund in the case of "acts of god." Nobody's "screwing me" out of my ability to earn. I can do that for myself, thank you very much!


In Self-Imposed Exile
Cancellation due to snow? Never happened to me.

Left coasters can't handle their snow... *snicker*

If it did happen, I would offer to apply their retainer to a future available date.
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