Mexico's deadly outbreak of swine flu has led to the cancellations of wedding plans for Americans seeking romantic getaways.
And some are having a hard time getting refunds.
That's the case with Kristin Smith and Skye Gibson, of Manahawkin in South Jersey. First, two groomsmen canceled plans because of the swine flu, then family members started worrying about the air in jetliners.
"If they didn't feel comfortable, we didn't want to force them to come down with us and not have a good time," Smith said.
So she and Gibson asked the Moon Palace resort in Cancun for a refund of their deposits. Officials there, however, said the resort is keeping $2,900 of what the couple put down, explaining that they missed the cutoff for a full refund by one day. Their wedding was scheduled for May 16. But they were told there would be only limited refunds or vouchers for events after the 15.
"There's an extraordinary circumstance that was unforeseen and I don't think we should have to bear the burden," Gibson said.
Now, the couple has moved their wedding date back a week, and will hold it at the Sea Oaks Country Club in little Egg Harbor, where Smith works.
"I just wanted our close family and friends to come vacation with us, see us get married, and have a big party," Smith said.
But because there will be more friends and family coming to their rescheduled Jersey wedding, and they won't have the advantages of an inclusive package, Gibson says they will spend roughly double what they would have spent in Mexico, and they are still out that deposit money.
"I think we're gonna have to go through several layers of management or if not, the credit card company we put it on and dispute the charge," said Gibson. So far, the resort has declined their first entreaties for a full refund.
While they didn't get a refund on their airfare, both Continental and USAir told them that any change in travel plans to Mexico before May 31 would result in a full value voucher for travel anywhere in the next year.
As for their New Jersey wedding now set for May 23, "I think it'll be better because we have more people that'll be coming, more friends that are coming," Smith said.