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Lost dress? No-show caterer? Bankrupt photographer? How to protect yourself from the worst wedding disasters

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:37 am, Tue May 20, 2014.

(BPT) - Your wedding is supposed to be a magical day you remember for the rest of your life. It also is sure to be one of the most expensive days of your life. From the dress to the catering to the photographer, the average wedding costs nearly $30,000. With all that money and emotion on the line, you want to do everything you can to ensure this special day goes flawlessly.

The reality is most weddings experience a hiccup or two, many of which are minor and even laughable after the day has passed. But some can be more devastating, such as a reception hall that closes before the big day, a stained or lost wedding dress, or your photographer goes out of business right after taking your deposit.

“The majority of weddings will happen without major glitches, but to give yourself peace of mind and know you’re better protected, it’s important to add wedding insurance to your list of must-have’s,” says Steve Lauro, vice president of Aon’s WedSafe wedding insurance program.

When things go wrong during the wedding planning process, or even on the day of the ceremony, it can be extremely stressful and the costs can quickly add up. However you cannot go back and protect yourself after an incident occurs, which is why wedding insurance is recommended as soon as you begin placing deposits with your vendors and reception venue.

“There are two types of insurance engaged couples should consider purchasing,” suggests Lauro. “The first is event liability insurance and the second is event cancellation and postponement insurance. They can both provide peace of mind and protection from financial loss should something unexpected occur.”

Lauro explains the differences in the two types of insurance:

1. Event liability insurance

This type of insurance focuses on the event itself, providing protection to the couple and additional insureds, such as the venue. This type of coverage may include property damage at the reception venue, bodily injury should a guest slip and fall on the dance floor, and alcohol-related accidents. Visit www.wedsafe.com for more information.

2. Event cancellation and postponement insurance

You may never imagine a reason why you’d postpone your wedding, but between sickness, injury and natural disaster, it does force brides and grooms who may have no other option. This type of insurance can help reimburse the cost of cancelling and rescheduling your wedding day. It also  can help reimburse losses such as the cost of no-show vendors, closed reception venues, damaged wedding dresses and even stolen photographs.

A few additional tips for protecting yourself financially when planning your wedding include:

1. Pay by credit card when possible

Credit cards offer protection that cash and check payments do not, so it’s a smart idea to pay with one  if you can. Keep in mind that the Fair Credit Billing Act allows you to dispute charges on your credit card that are incorrect or for goods or services you never received.

2. Understand all contracts

Before signing any contract, read and understand all the fine print. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If something in the contract makes you uncomfortable, see if it can be adjusted. Areas to note include fees, deposits and penalties, as well as your rights if the vendor does not complete contracted responsibilities.

3. Consider hiring an accredited wedding planner

Wedding planners are an additional expense, but the expertise they provide can actually save you money that may surpass that cost. A good wedding planner will know the industry inside and out, and therefore be able to get you the best deals. They also know what is typical when it comes to contracts and can help you keep track of all the details of the big day so you can try to relax.

Your wedding day is likely to be perfect, but just in case something happens, a few simple steps prior will protect your financial and emotional investment. From insurance to contracts to credit cards, thinking ahead will help ensure everything is wonderful no matter what.

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