Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When Tragedy Strikes on Your Wedding Day

Not long ago I had a prospective bride contact me for Day-of Coordination Services. She decided to hire me as her Day-of Coordinator, so I sent her my contract to sign. After not hearing back from her for several days I emailed to follow up. Sadly, I learned that, her fiancĂ©’s mother had passed away. And with the wedding just a few weeks out, now they weren't even sure if there would be a wedding at all. Gasp! My heart went out to her and her family during that difficult time.

Now I know what you’re thinking, this is not a topic anybody likes to discuss. But folks, these things can happen to the best of us. And it’s for this very reason that I decided to write this post about wedding insurance.
Wedding Cancellation Insurance

What is it? Do I need it? Well, the short answer is yes and no. Nobody could have predicted what happened in my bride’s case. This was obviously an unexpected tragedy. But the end result could very well end up being a cancelled wedding with lots of money thrown down the drain.

What Does it Cover?

Wedding cancellation insurance provides coverage for non-refundable expenses when the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding or private event, reception or honeymoon, must be cancelled or postponed for certain reasons beyond your control.

Each policy is different so it’s important that you are very clear on what is and what is not covered in your policy. But a standard policy should cover the following:

  • Non-refundable venue deposits, wedding photographs, attire, gifts and jewelry and damage to rented property.
  • Serious disasters that may delay a wedding (i.e. the death or illness of a family member or member of the bridal party or a commercial transportation shutdown that prevents the honorees, parents, grandparents or children of the honorees from getting to the event).
  • All types of natural disasters. Note: most plans will make a distinction between a rainy day and truly severe or catastrophic weather, such as a hurricane. Coverage will likely only apply if catastrophic weather causes you to postpone the wedding.
  • Circumstances beyond your control such as an unforeseen military deployment or withdrawal of leave.
  • No-show or bankrupt vendors, damage to wedding attire, damaged gifts and much more.
  • Non-recoverable travel and accommodations for your honeymoon may also be covered if your wedding is canceled due to a covered reason under the policy.

Wedding Cancellation Insurance Does Not Cover "Cold Feet"

That is to say, wedding insurance policies do not provide coverage in the event that either the bride or groom changes their mind and does not want to proceed with the wedding.

What does it Cost?

I know, I know. You’re thinking jeez one more unexpected expense! But in reality, a standard policy should cost less than $200. In my opinion this is well worth the investment if say for example: you have a terminally ill relative, your spouse is active duty military, you’re planning a destination wedding, or if you’re dropping a load of cash on your wedding in general!

Do Not Confuse Wedding Cancellation with Wedding Liability Insurance

Huh? There’s more? Yes, wedding liability insurance is a specialty insurance policy designed to indemnify the named insured (typically the Bride and Groom) from certain types of claims arising from accidents taking place during the wedding, reception, and rehearsal. Such claims can range from damage to the facility caused by a guest or vendor, bodily injury to guests, and alcohol-related accidents they are found liable for.

Wedding Liability insurance can be purchased in addition to Wedding Cancellation insurance or separately. Some venues actually require that the couple purchase liability insurance and that they be listed as an additional insured party.

I hope my Wedding Insurance 101 hasn’t put you to sleep, or worse scared the pants off you! I’m not going to tell you that wedding insurance is right for everyone, because it’s not. Ultimately, you will need to decide whether it’s worth it for you. Hopefully the information provided will help you make that decision. Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable wedding planner can also be a great resource. Questions? Comments? Let me know below.