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Special section Wedding costs

Get an auspicious beginning by having a festive but frugal wedding.

Penny-wise weddings

Protect your wedding with insurance

"The icing on the cake was Roger's bachelor party was turning into a three-day snowboarding weekend," she says. "Our honeymoon was 12 days in Fiji. I thought, 'What if he breaks an arm or a leg? I'm going to kill him.'" (He went to Vegas instead.)

An attorney who specializes in the music business, Roger was accustomed to getting one-day cancellation insurance from a broker in London who insures massive rock-concert tours. When Karen mentioned her concerns, the broker suggested insuring the wedding. But U.S. coverage at the time was extremely limited and expensive, so she didn't buy it.

"For the country that has the biggest, most expensive weddings in the world, how could this not exist?" she asks. "I was a bride. I know it's a really exciting time. Cancellation and postponement are very drastic. People want to follow through on their weddings."

Sharon Naylor, author of "The Complete Outdoor Wedding Planner," strongly recommends wedding insurance for the simple reason that you're dealing with a host of vendors and there's a lot of money at stake. Plus, we live in a society in which people will sue for just about anything.

How strong is her recommendation?

"If you're having an outdoor wedding and you don't have insurance, you're a moron," she says. "When you look at the amount of money it is, it's worth it. The big benefit is the peace of mind."

But be sure to read the policy thoroughly to make sure it meets your needs. Naylor says she's seen some odd-duck kinds of coverage. "One policy covers you if the photographer is kidnapped," she says.

Don't overlook the 'other' policy
OK, you bought a wedding insurance policy. But you're not through with your insurance agent yet.

Brides and grooms almost certainly will need liability coverage. This insurance is separate from the standard wedding policy, which covers money you've shelled out on products and services for your wedding. Liability insurance covers you in the event of an accident or injury related to your wedding.

Since liability is additional coverage, you'll pay extra for it, but it's a cost you'll have to bear. Your wedding won't happen at most venues without liability coverage, says certified wedding consultant Joyce Scardina Becker, the founding director of the Wedding Consultation Certificate program at San Francisco State University.

If you want to get married at some very romantic place -- an antebellum mansion, vineyard or the Nixon Library (Karen Sandau says they require a $2 million policy) -- you can bet you won't put a pinky on the property without a policy covering things such as damage to the hall or an injury to a guest or a staff member.

-- Updated: July 18, 2007
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