What should you take out insurance against?
With any type of significant event, it’s worth considering insurance. This is already standard for a UK wedding, so you should certainly include this in your budget for your wedding abroad. It’s relatively low cost for the peace of mind it gives, knowing that you will be financially compensated if things go wrong. With a wedding, this could be anything like a photographer or venue not being able to fulfil their contractual obligations and having to find a last minute replacement! Insurance should ensure you are compensated for any loss of payment.
With the additional logistic challenges of a wedding abroad, insurance is a necessity.
Over the last fourteen years of planning weddings, we’ve had occasions where claiming on insurance has been necessary. One unfortunate couple ended up stranded in Manchester airport when Eyjafjallajökull Volcano erupted in Iceland in 2010. It was travel bedlam with ten million people affected. No one was to blame other than Mother Nature (and perhaps an over cautious air authority), but it was unprecedented and incredibly unfortunate for anyone affected.
My clients’ wedding was three days after flights were grounded. The venue, although understanding, were not willing to refund as the food was ordered and arrangements in place and there was no chance of reselling the date at such short notice. We suggested postponing, but due to work commitments the couple couldn’t do this, so in the end the wedding was cancelled.
In another instance, back in 2012, Hurricane Sandy was heading for New York and we had over fifty guests stuck at Heathrow airport due to cancelled flights – they never got to the wedding. The wedding went ahead as planned as the hurricane, although destructive, wasn’t as bad as had been anticipated, though with fewer guests. The couple still had to pay for the food and drinks for guests who were stranded in London.
With a wedding abroad, there is certainly more of a risk involved. In 99.9% of weddings there is no problem, but you need to be prepared in case you are in that 0.1%.
Insurance also applies to suppliers; we once had an over ambitious photographer who the bride hd booked independently – he was a family friend. He was unfamiliar with the landscape and brought way more equipment that we’d normally recommend for the location. It almost seems too silly to be true, but during one of his ambitious poses to capture a unique angle he went head first into the beautiful water, equipment and all. His equipment was ruined (I hope he had insurance) and we had to call on one of our regular photographers at the last minute to save the day. Had we not managed to get a replacement, the couple would have been without any photographs of their wedding day.
It was a disaster narrowly avoided and played havoc with the schedule, having to wait for the replacement photographer. Insurance for a case like this would mean you could claim back the original photographer’s fee to cover the amount the paid for the replacement.
To date, we’ve not cancelled a wedding due to weather. We’ve had to find alternative venues and reschedule by a day or two, but if your contract doesn’t say you’ll get a refund in case of bad weather, don’t bank on it. If your wedding is cancelled and you have you find a new venue, you’ll have to pay again. It’s worth looking into insurance to cover you should this happen.
One wedding we relocated due to bad weather was in Santorini. The original venue was completely open to the elements with no shelter. This was high summer and a freak weather front had moved in for the day. The venue was understanding and did give the couple back a percentage of their money which they then put towards the costs of the reception at the back up venue! But if you can’t find a back-up venue and plan A isn’t possible, you may end up having to cancel altogether. Be prepared.
Other things that although are unlikely, still need to be considered, are a dress going missing en route, weddings gifts getting damaged in transit, or items being left at a venue overnight and going missing. It may seem doom and gloom to think about it, but these things do happen and being prepared is sensible.
Cancelling before the wedding takes place
What would happen if you have to cancel your wedding? On average, we have around four to five cancellations each year. Although that’s a small percentage, it can happen and you need to be insured if it does. Reasons are never nice, such as splitting up, a family member becoming ill and no longer able to attend or your financial situation changing due to job loss.
When a wedding is cancelled, I’m usually asked if I can refund the deposit and the answer is always no. A deposit is almost always paid with a no refund policy. If you cancel too close to a wedding, other balances may also need to be paid, so understand your contract before you sign and make sure your insurance covers you for most eventualities.
Cancelling of a wedding is emotional with feelings running high, so having insurance to cover any financial loss means one less thing to worry about.
Real bride Sophie, who married in Santorini
The biggest obstacle for us came a few days before the wedding – we found out our wedding venue had to be cancelled due to a licensing issue. When you have imagined and created your whole wedding around a venue (seating plan, food, decoration, logistics of the day), it’s hard to imagine there’s a solution other than calling the whole thing off! However, whilst there’s no denying tears were shed, I cannot thank our wedding planners enough for doing all they could to find us the next best thing. In fact, the next best thing was better. The planners took us around the island looking at alternative venues and eventually we found one. We got married at our hotel so I was able to walk down the aisle from my room, which was magical. Our guests then took a relaxing walk together along the Caldera in the sunshine, taking in the stunning views, until they arrived at our reception venue, just a couple of minutes’ walk away. The replacement venue enjoyed the same views as our original venue. The reception venue was incredible – and the food was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. I can honestly say if I could have seen into the future, I would have picked what we had over the original venue a hundred times over. Maybe they’re right when they say everything happens for a reason.
I’m certainly not an expert in insurance, but there are companies out there (see links below) that can advise you on the best policy, and the brilliant thing is on the whole scale of wedding expenses, insurance is relatively cheap – and the peace of mind is priceless.
You wouldn’t go on holiday without insurance, so don’t book a wedding abroad without insurance.
It’s worth speaking to your travel insurance company if you have an annual policy, as this may already include wedding insurance, or even travel insurance to which you can add wedding insurance.
You will need to estimate how much the whole wedding will cost. Don’t underestimate to get a cheaper policy. It’s better to be covered for as much as possible to offer peace of mind.
You could take out insurance out to cover these items:
- Any dresses/suits or accessories you are taking with you. Basically, anything you’d need to replace if it was lost or misplaced in transit.
- Non-attendance at the wedding due to a flight cancellation (weather, strikes, airline problems, terrorism). If you can’t find replacement flights and the venue can’t reschedule your wedding, you could potentially lose all your money.
- Change of venue if you have to relocate your wedding due to bad weather (for example). You may lose the money you’ve paid for the original reception and have to pay for a new venue, dinner and drinks.
- If one of you is sick and unable to fly and the wedding has to be postponed or cancelled.
- A supplier not being available and you having to find a last minute replacement.
- Loss of items you send in advance such as decorative items, or wedding gifts. (Your courier may offer separate insurance for this.)
Usually, the insurance company will base its policies on the total cost of your wedding, so don’t forget to include in the total all the items you wouldn’t necessarily have with a UK wedding, such as the holiday, car hire and airport transfers.
Even with a fully inclusive policy, you might not be covered for all eventualities. For example, we once relocated a wedding at the last minute due to the original venue no longer being possible. Even though this was incredibly stressful, insurance couldn’t be claimed because the replacement venue was at a similar price to the original venue. Therefore, there was no financial loss.
Insurance companies don’t like to pay out if they don’t have to. Don’t assume; check the details. Shop around and get the best possible insurance for your personal requirements. This is not a time to try to save a few pounds. A good policy will save you stress later down the line if you need to use it.
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