Dumping Someone Can Get You Sued


People get engaged every day and don't make it to the altar. Life gets in the way, various things happen. People cheat. Often, when weddings are called off, there is some money loss, a lot of humiliation, and some degree of mourning that's closer to divorce than to a regular run-of the-mill break-up. And now, there might also be a lawsuit.

A woman in Chicago is suing her ex-fiance for $95,000 after he called off their October nuptials:

Buttitta, 32, claims Salerno, 31, breached his promise to marry and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on her when he told her on Sept. 27, days before their Oct. 2 wedding date, that "he would not marry her." In the suit, Buttitta alleges that Salerno told her that he did not want to go through the wedding since he had returned to his home in Barrington about a year and three months earlier. He had moved to Colorado for about a year for a job that had not worked out, according to the suit.

OK, then. Of course, the money was already spent and the bride, dumped and heartbroken, was expected to eat it -- to the tune of nearly $100K.

Luckily (or unluckily for him) she wasn't down with being dumped and broke, so she fought back, suing him for the costs she had incurred, including food for the 225 guests, $30,000 to rent out the banquet center, nearly $12,000 on flowers, $10,000 for an orchestra, and nearly $5,400 on her dress, veil, and accessories. Yikes.

We could go on all day about whether or not it's wise or even advisable in this economy to spend so much on a wedding. For some, a wedding is a big deal that deserves all the bells and whistles. Personally, I think it's a waste of money, but to each their own. They spent what they spent and he is responsible for at least half of the non-refundable dollars.

Suing may have been her only option to get that money back, and for many, $95,000 represents a year of salary. It's a lot of money and not something to be taken lightly. In fact, she is arguing that because the contract was marriage and she held up her end of the bargain, he owes her for the entire wedding because he broke it.

She has a point. And while marriages that end divide assets evenly (or by some bizarre family court formula), there is no legal repercussion for communal property in a split like this. We would all say that a woman who left a man at the altar should return the ring, right? So why should the one who broke off the engagement also pay for all wedding expenses?

It just makes sense. I hope she wins and I hope this guy learns his lesson next time.

Do you think she should have to pay for the canceled wedding?


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FourK... FourKidsSoFar

I think it's pretty crappy that he didn't say something 15 months before when he had the feelings, but I don't think he should have to pay for all of it. There was no contract here, they weren't married, but I do think he should pay for half of the non-refundable costs such as food, renting the place, and other things like that. She should pay for her dress though. Spending that much if you can't afford it is ridiculous I think. I spent less than $8000 on my wedding, reception and honey moon.

LoveM... LoveMyDog

Because he didn't say something until what 5 days before the wedding, Yes he should pay for ALL of it plus court costs.  If he was an above board guy he would have offered to pay half and avoided the court costs, and he would have done in more than 30 days before the wedding.  Now screw him.  She is a probably nut case spending that kind of money.  And he is probably better off without her.  She would have spent him into the poor house. But seriously you just don't get to wait that long to say anything and then just walk away scott free!

Kris Gamble

I hope she wins, he let her spend all that money while he considered not even marrying her! And while there was no legal contract on paper, I'd say engagement is definitely a contract or promise between two people. And it's not just the money, he led her on, all her hopes were probably up for this wedding and being married to him, and then he crushed her, out of blue. I don't feel sorry for the guy at all.

wildf... wildflowers25

It sounds like he is a deadbeat if she is the one who paid for all the wedding expenses.  He should at least try to be an adult and pay for half of the costs incurred. 

nonmember avatar mlau

relationships are give and take. He should have dumped her sooner, she could have been more attune to her fiance. I doubt that she had absoloutely no small uncertainty about him - or she was too cunsumed with what sounds like a very involved planning process. All in all, it's better to not go through with it than try to get out after the fact. It is ultimately a good thing they didn't go through with it solely because of the money spent on the wedding.

nonmember avatar mlau

I guess we need to also establish the market value of the other acoutrements here:

The wedding dress, while not returnable can be sold, ring too, wedding rings - were those purchased? There is a lot that can be done. Then assess the total loss (likely still huge) and divide that. I heard a story recently of a wedding called off and the food was given to the homeless. I do not know these people but my first inclination is that they did not try to figure out how to help others with the stuff they bought an now don't need. It seems really all about them (maybe a clue why this didn't go through)

Ashley Castillo

I think going for all is a little much.  He should pay for half, which is how it should have been in the first place, but not all of us can be attorneys.  Pay her for half, and be done with it.  Honestly, if he can prove that all the wedding planning was done by her, and he had no say in it, why should he be wholly responsible for her extravagant choices?  I think we all know who makes most of the decisions when it comes to a wedding.

And if you say he should be responsible for it because he called off the wedding, that is wrong.  People change their minds, it comes time to actually do it they realize its the wrong choice.  You can argue an engagement is a contract, but it involves the heart, and that is not always in our control. (People change) There is nothing criminal about admitting you don't love someone enough to marry and it doesn't make him a bad person.

Honestly, the thing no one is saying is the alternative.  He married her. They are miserable for five months and they get divorced.  More money down the drain. He did her a favor by calling it off, even if it was days before the wedding.


taken... taken_glo

you dont get deposits back so he should pay back half of what they put out.

Heath... HeatherReneeB

I think he should pay for at LEAST half. He had these feelings WAY before the wedding, but waited 5 DAYS before it to say something??? No.. he Knew she was spending that money and so he should have to pay her back...   I hope she wins. 

nonmember avatar momma73

i do not think she deserves all that money.some of it i get but i don't think she put out all that money herself.also she just seems bitter now.i understand her pain but i am pretty sure that he helped pay for some of it.

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