Weddings and Special Event Insurance: Peace of Mind Before the Big Day

April 22, 2021

Like thousands of other couples who had planned to get married in 2020, my fiancée and I postponed our wedding — in our case, rescheduling for August 2021. Given vaccination rates in general and among our friends and family in particular, we’re confident that COVID-19 will not prevent us from exchanging vows and celebrating at our outdoor venue with the people we care about most four months from now.

And yet, if you were to ask me which of our wedding expenses, I believe represents the best value, my response would be, “Special Event Insurance.”

I know — spoken like a true romantic. But consider this:

  1. Things happen. When I picture our wedding day, I see sunny skies and smiling faces. I also see our reception venue’s waterfront location and know that August is the middle of hurricane season. What else could go wrong? Talk with a medical professional such as my fiancée, a nurse practitioner who has administered to countless patients with all manner of injuries incurred amid a vast assortment of circumstances. Suffice it to say, I didn’t need to talk her into getting Special Event Insurance.

  2. Weddings are expensive. That isn’t news to anyone who’s paid for one, but the dollar amounts can be stunning nonetheless. ValuePenguin recently published a report on wedding expenses in which the average U.S. wedding cost is $24,723, with per-guest averages ranging from $127 in Alabama to $278 in Hawaii (or $272 in New Jersey, if you want to limit discussion to the continental states).

When you look at it that way, Special Event Insurance isn’t an added expense; it’s protection for a considerable investment. Put another way, when you purchase Special Event Insurance for your wedding, you buy peace of mind.

Coverage and Cost 

How much you pay for that peace of mind can vary depending on coverage and carrier.

A basic Special Event policy — which can insure an array of ceremonies and celebrations including anniversary and retirement parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, fundraisers and baby showers — typically covers:
  • Cancellation or postponement of the event

  • Attire and jewelry purchased or rented for the occasion

  • Gifts

  • Lost deposits

  • Photographs and video

  • Additional expenses, such as the cost of replacing a damaged wedding cake or fixing some other glitch in catering or entertainment.

Liability Insurance and Liquor Liability Insurance generally are optional coverages — both of which my fiancée and I chose to include in our policy at additional premium. The liability coverage in our policy goes into effect 48 hours before our wedding day and extends to 2 a.m. on the date after the ceremony, so it includes our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, as well as the post-reception gathering we have planned at a nearby pub.

Depending on coverage limits, you can purchase Special Event Insurance without liability coverage for less than $150. For less than $1,000, you can purchasebuy coverage including limits up to:
  • $100,000 for cancellation/postponement

  • $20,000 for additional expenses

  • $2 million for property damage liability

  • $2 million aggregate for special event liability ($1 million per occurrence).

Is that expensive? Again, the average cost of a wedding is $25,000. A lawsuit resulting from a mishap associated with a wedding could cost many times that amount. To me, less than $1,000 for all that coverage — and the peace of mind that comes with it — is a tremendous value.

Coverage and COVID 

When my fiancée and I purchased our policy in the fall of 2019, the possibility of a pandemic causing us to postpone our wedding never entered our minds. As it turned out, our vendors allowed us to reschedule at no charge, so we didn’t have to file a claim, but had there been a need, the policy would have responded. We would have been covered.

Some carriers are now writing pandemic exclusions into their Special Events policies, so be mindful of that when you look into insuring your wedding or other special event.

The Bigger Picture 

Your wedding should be one of the most special and memorable events in your lifetime, but if you’re savvy enough to consider purchasing Special Event Insurance for the big day, it’s likely you’ve got a lot more on your mind, including your long-term financial goals. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out the quarterly State of the Markets Review webinar with Bob Janson, Alera Group’s Senior Portfolio Manager in our Wealth Management division.

Bob’s review of the first quarter of 2021 will take place on Wednesday, April 28, at noon EDT. During the one-hour session, he’ll share results and trends in the markets and economy, with a focus on interest rates and the stock and bond markets.


About the Author

Andrew Armstrong, CCLP 
Partner/Account Executive
Sylvia Group, an Alera Group Agency

Andrew Armstrong is a partner and fourth-generation account executive with Sylvia Group, an Alera Group Agency, which his great-grandfather founded in 1950. A Certified Commercial Lines Professional (CCLP), he specializes in providing Property and Casualty solutions for nonprofits and startups, as well as businesses in the life science and hospitality industries.

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