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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

Your wedding day is one of the most unforgettable days of your life. The last thing you want is for the event to be remembered because of a catastrophe.

There are countless ways the big day can be wrecked. The maid of honor gets appendicitis, a plumbing problem floods the reception hall or guests end up eating Beanie Weenies because the caterer mixed up his dates.

Even more potential calamities lurk in today's tumultuous world. Airports closed because of terror alerts or virus scares could keep key wedding participants from arriving on time. And several brides and grooms have been shipped overseas to fulfill military service obligations before they got to say "I do."

Such are the incidents for which wedding insurance was invented.

A major investment
Leah Ingram is the author of five bridal books, including "The Portable Wedding Consultant," and countless articles for national bridal magazines. She says that with the amount of money spent on weddings (the average is $27,000), getting insurance is a no-brainer.

"The average wedding costs as much as a down payment on a house," Ingram says. "It's a major investment. It just makes sense to get insurance."

Plus, she notes, the insurance can do wonders for a bride's peace of mind, especially with the number of vendors involved and the variety of issues that can't be controlled.

Wedding insurance is a well-established product in Great Britain, but it's been available in the United States for only about a decade. Specialty carrier WedSafe and general insurer Fireman's Fund are two policy sources. You also can ask your personal or homeowners insurance agent about special-event coverage.

WedSafe's standard policies range from $155 to $405. Coverage goes as high as $50,000 for weddings that have to be canceled or postponed.

Coverage typically includes wedding cancellation or postponement if a member of the bridal party dies, gets sick, is injured or can't come to the wedding because of military service or the shutdown of commercial transportation. (Pre-existing medical conditions are excluded.)

It also will help pay for the reconvening of the bridal party for new pictures if the photographer loses the film or it's damaged at the lab, new wedding rings if they're lost, and replacement of damaged, stolen or lost wedding gifts.

Even cold feet are now covered. In 2007, R.V. Nuccio & Associates began offering "Change of Heart" coverage through Firemen's Fund. The policy can be purchased by the person who's paying for the wedding -- not the bride or groom. In order to get the benefit of the insurance, the policyholder has to prove that he or she is the innocent party. The policy costs $26 and covers up to $25,000 in deposits and expenses.

Worried about her own wedding
Karen and Roger Sandau started WedSafe after planning their own wedding in 2000. It was supposed to be a small ceremony on Maui. Before they knew it, the guest list was at 62 people, Karen was sending "enormous deposits" to vendors hired sight unseen through the hotel, and hurricane season was on the way.

-- Updated: July 18, 2007
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