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Port-A-Potty Problems: How a Fairy Tale Wedding Was Nearly Ruined

If a venue breaches a contract, what can you do?

The fairy tale wedding.

For Chanel Nguyen, it wasn't just about the dress -- but the location too. She and her groom-to-be Jonathan Van Horn found the perfect spot at a residential home in Woodland Hills.

The owner advertises it online as Greenhouse and Gardens.

"I just like the whole fairy tale idea," she said. "It's grassy. It looked like it would be perfect in pictures."

The couple secured the venue with a $750 non-refundable deposit. But later Greenhouse and Gardens told the couple the on-site bathrooms wouldn't be open to guests, and they needed to rent port-a-potties instead.

"That was not part of the plan," Chanel said.

Chanel and Jonathan thought this breached their contract, so they asked for their money back. They say the property owner agreed. But then they say she wouldn't pay up.

"She promised us one thing and then that's not what we were getting," Chanel said.

Southwestern Law School professor Michael Dorff says this scenario isn't as black and white as it may appear.

Dorff said since both parties didn't agree to changes in the contract, it is a breach.

But it needs to be an important breach to void the contract.

And what's considered "important?" That's the tricky question. And that's what a court decides.

"The court understands these things are messy," Dorff said. "Parties often don't know, even with legal assistance, whether they're entitled to cancel the contract or not."

After NBC4 inquired with Greenhouse and Gardens, they refunded Chanel and Jonathan's deposit.

In an email, the property owner didn't explain the delay, but said: "[NBC4's] involvement had no bearing on my actions or intentions."

As for the couple, they booked a new venue and tied the knot! They're now focused on the future.

So what should you do?

When signing a contract like this, make sure it includes a refund and cancellation policy. Also ask for a detailed description of what's included in the reception space, and what your rights are if those promises fall through.

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