I'll keep it as concise as possible. My fiancee and I have been planning on a particular date at a venue, it's about 2500 miles away from where we currently live (she's from there originally). It's not so much the deposit (50%) that freaks me out, but the lack of organization their main contact has, for example, she put us down for the wrong date and put a soft reservation on the specific date we asked for.
That being said. Sending a check for $5000 across the country, to me, seems absolutely ludicrous, it would be nearly impossible to take them to small claims should they renege on the contract or go bankrupt. Being a web developer and seeing their website I can easily within 2 hours mock-up something of equivalent look and feel and start taking checks and credit cards if I wanted to. (Obviously I don't need to do this I have a good job)
Is this tacky or out of the norm for someone to insist on an third party (escrow) holding the deposit until all conditions have been met?