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Lake Geneva considers stricter penalties for Riviera wedding cancellations

Lake Geneva considers stricter penalties for Riviera wedding cancellations

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Couples who schedule their wedding at the Riviera could pay more money if they do not cancel their “big day” event in a more timely manner.

Lake Geneva officials are considering updating the Riviera ballroom wedding lease agreement policy which would place stricter restrictions on couples who cancel their wedding at the venue.

As part of the revised policy, couples would pay 50 percent of their rental fee rate— minus their $1,000 deposit to rent the facility— if they cancel within six months or more of their scheduled wedding day.

Couples currently are required to pay 50 percent of their rental fee if they cancel within 90 days of their wedding.

The revised policy also would require couples to pay 100 percent of their rental rate— minus their $1,000 deposit— if they cancel their wedding less than six months of their scheduled date.

Couples currently are required to pay 100 percent of their fee if they cancel within 14 days of their scheduled wedding day.

Mayor Charlene Klein said the part of the reason for the proposed policy change is to help the city recoup loss revenue from cancellations that are made within six months of a scheduled wedding date.

Klein said the less notice people give for their cancellations, the less likely the city is able to rent the facility to another couple for that date.

“It’s very unlikely we would be able to rent that venue again in 14 days or 90 days— which is three months,” Klein said. “But we might be able to do it in six months.”

Klein— who also is the director of a private foundation that oversees Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva— said the proposed policy changes are similar to a cancellation policy that is in place for Horticultural Hall.

“It works like a charm,” Klein said.

The city council’s piers, harbors & regulation committee unanimously approved the proposed updated policy, Nov. 10, but it still has to be approved by the full city council.

If approved, the updated policy would not go into effect until 2022, and it would not apply to couples who already have booked their wedding.

Alderman Richard Hedlund said he is in favor of the policy change and agrees that it is difficult to rebook the Riviera for a wedding if couples give less than six months of notice.

“If people do what they’re suppose to do, it will not change anything,” Hedlund said. “All were doing is making it more difficult to go out and book three venues, hold them for a year or 18 months, then decide where you want to get married.”

Alderman Ken Howell said the policy change should not affect couples who cancel their wedding because of the coronavirus.

“Right now, we give them a break if it’s for COVID,” Howell said. “I think if it’s still going, we would give them a break again. That’s my opinion.”

Klein said the city could consider such a provision if the coronavirus is still an issue in 2021.

“I think we will have to deal with that further down the road,” Klein said.

The city council approved a wedding rate increase for non-residents, Aug. 24, which will go in effect 2022.

Wedding rental rates for non-residents will increase from $3,900 to $5,500 for Saturday weddings; $3,400 to $4,700 for Friday; $3,400 to $4,500 for Sunday; and $1,250 to $1,750 for Monday through Thursday, from May 1 through Oct. 31 for what it considered Lake Geneva’s tourism season.

Rental rates from Nov. 1 through April 30 would be $4,700 on Saturday; $3,800 for Friday; $3,000 for Sunday; and $1,500 for Monday through Thursday.

Rates for Lake Geneva residents are $1,950 for Saturday; $1,700 for Friday and Sunday, and $625 Monday through Thursday.

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