Many of you know the trials Will and I dealt with when it came to planning our wedding (if you don’t, read the full story here), and I promised myself after the wedding I would use the blog as a way to share all of the tips and tricks I learned from our wedding planning process with fellow brides. However, 7 months later and I still haven’t kept to that promise.
Our wedding was recently featured over at Magnolia Rouge and when I was filling out the questionnaire for Kate, I couldn’t help but talk about the one thing that saved us after we were burned. I knew I had to share it with all of you as well.
Things go wrong. There are bad people in the world, scam artists, criminals etc. You could have every single detail planned to a T and finalized, like we did, but without wedding insurance, you run the risk of having that completely taken from you. All things you don’t want to think about when planning your dream day, but this is reality and you need to protect yourself.
Will and I are not the type of people to get any of those add on insurances. And we didn’t get it originally for our wedding because we didn’t even know it existed, no one ever mentioned wedding insurance. And honestly, we probably wouldn’t have gotten it at first even if someone did. I figured all of the contracts we signed would protect us if anything was to go wrong. I read those contracts up, down, side to side and even revised them (I was a pain to some vendors, but I do work in Contracting for a living).
When our original venue, Elk Manor Winery of North East, MD, started acting shady, a few months before they shut down the venue, someone recommended wedding insurance. At first I thought, there’s no way they can just take our money, we have a contract, we paid for a service and they have to provide said service. And then we started looking into the owner’s background – Simon Tusha, guilty of international bribery, IRS and tax fraud, domestic abuse, the list goes on. Our contract stated if we cancelled the wedding 120 days from the wedding date, that we would not receive any money back. Well, he planned it right and required all payments be made in full prior to 120 days to the date.
I was still skeptical of needing it, I figured it would all work out, but knowing how much the venue had already received from us, we went ahead and got it. Not knowing where to start, we went to our insurance broker and he set us up with a company. I wasn’t even sure what to look for in a policy, but we got it for $30K, enough to cover what the venue owner currently had of ours.
Fast forward to the day the venue owner shut down the venue (five weeks before our wedding date). Myself, along with the other couples who were affected, were in shock. His email never said we couldn’t have our weddings there, just that we would have to pay EXTRA money to have it there. Meanwhile he still hadn’t paid our caterer, who we paid in full to him. Obviously, after months of dealing with his bullshit, no one wanted their wedding there, especially since we’d still have to pay again for catering since he claimed he paid (but didn’t) plus an additional fee. Again, he played it right; because he never said in the email that he was shutting down the wedding, he wasn’t defaulting on the contract. When I emailed him to try and get him to admit that, he said it was us who was defaulting by no longer wanting to have it there.
A few couples took the case to court immediately. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the resources for that. Their cases were won, but they were told they’d receive payment after he paid the millions he owed to the IRS.
Enter the wedding insurance. We didn’t think we had much of a claim here. But we submitted what we had, even Facebook evidence of him promising the venue wouldn’t shut down etc. It took A LOT of emails and phone calls back and forth with the company to prove what he did, but the week of our wedding, we found out the claim was approved. Granted at this point we probably spent more than we paid him because we had to completely supply a blank slated wedding venue, BUT we were getting the $28K back that he stole from us. I was in shock. I had to sit down when I received the call. In the middle of Home Goods. All because someone recommended this service that I didn’t know existed, we were now being made somewhat whole.
Of course weddings are already expensive and you don’t want to spend money where you don’t have to, but it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things if something ends up not going as planned. And it doesn’t even have to be as serious as our situation. Even if you have to cancel for one of a million reasons.
These are the wedding insurance companies that I recommend based on first hand experience and word of mouth:
Our day ended up better than I could have imagined. However, if we were still an extra $28K in the hole, I’m sure we’d still have a lot of negative feelings when we thought about our wedding day. Because of the wedding insurance, we are incredibly grateful.
A lot goes into planning the day of your dreams, don’t let someone take that from you. I know this isn’t the happiest of topics, but its one that needs to be talked about.
Throughout this wedding series, I want to talk DIYs, advice, hindsight etc! Leave a comment below with what you want to hear more about!