The following article is from our friends at Vensura for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be solely relied on for professional insurance coverage advice or guidance.
From the moment a couple gets engaged until the first guest arrives at the ceremony, they dream of a picture-perfect wedding day. You, as the planner, are tasked with bringing this vision to life in an organized, smooth, and magical way! From carefully constructed inspiration boards in the Design Studio to picking the perfect venue, caterer, florist, and photographer—the wedding day vision is constructed over many months. Regardless of who is footing the bill, this could undoubtedly be the largest cash spend this couple will make outside of purchasing a car or home. With the average wedding costing upwards of $40,000 in states like California and New Jersey, this is an investment and the number one component of bringing this dream day to fruition.
After pleasantries, discussions on visions, and desires, when meeting a couple for the first time most service providers inevitably pivot to the most difficult conversation—the budget. The budget and how much the couple plans to invest drives decisions in the planning process. Often, the conversation stops at terms of cost, and how much a couple plans to spend and can afford on their wedding festivities. From a planning perspective this may make sense, however, just like an investment in a car and home, there's another conversation that should take place. It’s a conversation many avoid, but being proactive upfront can mitigate problems down the road. While possibly uncomfortable and counterproductive to instilling confidence in the planning process and day of execution, we owe it to our clients to have a conversation regarding mishaps.
To avoid leaving the couple with a doomsday view of what could go wrong and cost them money, it's often best to frame these conversations with examples of unexpected events that have impacted other couples over time. With deposit expectations rising nationwide, and a lead time averaging 14 months from engagement to the wedding day, this conversation has never been as important as it is today. At Vensura, we directly work with both couples and venues to offer wedding day cancellation & liability insurance, so today we have some tips for you on everything you need to know about wedding insurance!
The Possibility of Unexpected Investment
Anyone who has been involved in weddings long enough has seen situations that require a client to pay more or pivot from the original plan, those examples are often the best way to articulate potential risk to a client. As Kelly Jones, a venue manager, and Venue Relations Manager for Vensura, articulated, examples of clients reaching for the credit card at the last minute are ripe. “When you see a wedding planner running, something needs immediate attention! In the Fall of 2021, I personally witnessed three examples over five weeks whereby clients had to dig into their wallets to cover issues with vendors at the last moment. Thanks to the actions of some quick-thinking planners, all was not lost!"
- $900 in pre-paid cupcakes didn’t arrive the day of without a call or acknowledgment from the vendor. Replacements were found but had to come out of pocket by around $500 and chase the original vendor down for a refund while on their honeymoon.
- The second wedding involved a florist that went dark the week of the wedding despite having been pre-paid thousands of dollars. This case made national news as the client wasn’t the only one impacted and it left them scrambling to source flowers at the last minute with money they candidly did not have.
- The third example involved over $3,000 in deposits paid to a clay pizza oven vendor who stopped returning calls the week of the wedding. The pizza oven was to be used for an expensive rehearsal dinner and the client ended up not only losing their $3,000 but having to source an alternative meal at the last minute.
For couples or parents already pushing the envelope with their investment on the wedding, honeymoon, and more; unexpected, last-minute costs can not only be stressful but economically challenging and sometimes not feasible.
Help Your Couples Understand This Investment
Fortunately for couples and professionals, protecting the risk associated with everything from a lost dress or ring, lost deposits, military deployment, damage, or injury caused at the wedding, is easy to cover. Just like protecting a home, car, or driver in an accident, insurance exists that can cover these potential events that put investment at risk. It is our role as wedding professionals to give our couples the most up-to-date and accurate information on the best products and services to help their big day run as smoothly as possible.
Cancellation insurance is the first insurance type and can be purchased as soon as a couple begins contracting with vendors and putting down deposits. Despite its name, cancellation insurance includes coverage for things that aren’t strictly associated with the cancellation of a wedding. From lost rings to lost deposits, cancellation coverage is broad and a great way to hedge against risk. Coverage options from $7,500 to $150,000 are available to fit every budget. Moreover, it is not overly expensive, with the average policy providing total coverage of $50,000 costing $350.00 (0.70% of the coverage it affords).
Similarly, protection against venue damage, accidents or injuries is available with liability coverage typically provided up to $2 million with the average $1 million policy costing $175.00, including Host Liquor Liability. Collectively, in the scope of tens of thousands of dollars, and collective investment risk associated with a wedding, insurance is an inexpensive means of protecting against things not going as planned and a couple having to unexpectedly come out of pocket more than they should or more than they can afford.
The Conversation About Risks & Protection
As industry professionals, it is the ethical and correct thing to do to have a conversation with the couple about the fact that things happen and it's possible to take these concerns off the table by taking precautions. A candid conversation with examples can ensure that not only options have been presented but the client is educated and well informed.
Things to consider when discussing investment, deposits, things that could go wrong, and how to protect against them:
- Outline the percentage of their budget that will be spent on deposits far in advance of their wedding day and articulate the risk that does in fact go into those deposits.
- Provide tangible examples of situations other clients have experienced that are easy to understand (Ex. Venue going out of business, a lost dress, an accident, damage to a venue, etc.)
- Explain that protecting the wedding investment is just like protecting your car/driving or home, and wedding day insurance is there to protect them in the same manner
- Have available cancellation & liability providers where they can compare rates, coverages, and purchase policies. Some venues require liability insurance so many couples will be exploring these options anyway.
No one wants to think about things not going as planned and this is particularly true for wedding planning. At Vensura, we're here to assist with all of your wedding insurance needs! Helping educate and provide peace of mind for a client upfront can potentially make the entire planning process better with less anxiety created when having to place large deposits or make well in advance commitments to vendors. We're all here to be the best wedding professionals we can be!
Vensura's Planning for the Unexpected video for more!
Insurance isn't glamorous but it's important!
Hero photo courtesy of Rebecca Yale Photography