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The truth behind wedding fails

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Friday, April 6, 2012
Posted: 10 am ET

If you believe such madcap matrimonial movies as "The Hangover" and "Bridesmaids," wedding party misbehavior, intentional or accidental substance abuse and good old-fashioned cold feet are the major obstacles standing between a bride and groom and the altar.

But a new study by the wedding insurance experts at Travelers paints a far different picture of the real-life threats to a well-planned wedding.

According to 2011 statistics, nearly a third (31 percent) of all wedding claims are directly related to problems with the wedding venue and vendors – the place went out of business, the florist got their dates crossed, the photographer double booked, the DJ didn't show, etc.

The other leading causes of wedding day heartbreak include the following.

  • Sickness, injury and mishaps: 19 percent.
  • Attire crises, military duty or deployment or other unavoidable cancelations: 17 percent.
  • Theft and vandalism: 13 percent.
  • Catastrophic weather: 10 percent.

Such statistics have become increasingly important as the cost of the average wedding in America has grown. In 2011, the average nuptials cost $25,631, according to The Wedding Report. While that figure was slightly less than the previous year, Americans in love spent nearly 21 percent more on the wedding location, according to research figures.

"Given that the leading causes of wedding claims continue to be a result of vendor and venue issues, couples should seriously consider the financial risks associated with planning a wedding and protect their investment and budget accordingly," says Chantal Cyr, vice president for Travelers Wedding Insurance.

Travelers Wedding Insurance, one of several policies out there that share the financial risk of a wedding day disaster, covers such items as lost deposits, perishable materials (think flowers), unavoidable cancellation due to weather or military leave, lost or damaged photos and videos, theft, damaged gifts and host liability. Some policies even offer a "cold feet clause" in the event the bride or groom has second thoughts.

Given the zeros behind a walk down the aisle these days, not to mention the fact that parental money is often involved, wedding insurance can be a prudent investment that pays for itself should circumstances leave you stuck at the altar -- and stuck with the bill.

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