Brides and grooms always want their wedding to go off without a hitch. But they also want money left over for their honeymoon, home and family, all of which could come after.
And that’s why more couples are opting for September and October weddings rather than the traditional June date, according to an annual survey by TheKnot, a website devoted to weddings. June weddings dominated until 2014, when September had matched it. But by 2016, September and October became more popular months to tie the knot.
This year, however, that might not prove to be such a great idea, particularly if you planned to marry somewhere along the Gulf Coast or in the lower Atlantic states. Hurricane Harvey has now soaked Houston, South Texas and parts of Louisiana. And Hurricane Irma, packing 185-mile-per-hour winds, is on a path that will take it to Florida. That’s potentially followed by Hurricane Jose, creating a string of cyclonic wedding crashers nobody would ever welcome.
So if you plan to marry this month or next, it might be a good time to buy wedding insurance. “Weather was the cause of 10 percent of all of Travelers Insurance wedding policy claims during the past 10 years,” said Todd Shasha, managing director of personal insurance policies for the nation’s fifth largest property-casualty insurer.
“Claims spiked in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast with 19 percent,” he said, “and we expect to see another increase this year.”
Wedding insurance has become much more common in recent years as the cost of the event has soared to an average $26,000, including all the traditional, but nonrefundable, features such as rings, houses of worship, limousines, reception halls and caterers, photos and videos. And if you’re daring enough — an outside ceremony in a park or at the beach.
Costs actually peaked close to $30,000 in 2007, but have eased as many couples opted for less expensive options like a “destination wedding” in the Caribbean or Costa Rica.
The large checks that newlyweds, and/or their parents, had to write caused second thoughts, along with the fact that major venues were booked solid during June. Many brides didn’t want to swelter in an expensive wedding gown in July and August, so they chose the cooler months of September and October, hoping — or insuring against — the possibility of a major hurricane.
Some even booked further out on the calendar. “My wedding was Thanksgiving weekend,” said Sabrina Glavan, of insurer Allianz. “I wanted a fall wedding, and this was the only time the venue was free.”
Even if you avoid hurricane season (which officially runs into November — remember 2005’s Wilma?), the litany of things that can go wrong is endless: Wedding venues can burn down, key participants such as mothers and fathers can become ill, brides can sprain ankles or prospective spouses can be shipped out on short notice for military duty.
In one recent infamous case, Florida-based bridal shop Alfred Angelo closed its doors without telling its clients, leaving brides-to-be nationwide without their merchandise — even though many had already given deposits of hundreds of dollars for bride and bridesmaid dresses.
Depending on what you pay, a wedding insurance policy can protect against virtually anything that can happen. A Travelers Insurance policy permits lost deposits to be reimbursed if there’s a postponement and covers the cost to reschedule the event.
Wedding insurance has to be purchased at least 14 days before the event, according to Shasha, but TheKnot says “the sooner the better.” Of course, it’s already too late to purchase wedding insurance for Hurricane Irma and probably too late for Jose as well.
Technically, most policies don’t cover honeymoons. If a “destination wedding” is postponed you could be reimbursed for certain costs, and some wedding insurance packages include optional travel insurance for honeymoons.
Of course, the more coverage you buy, the more it costs. Wedsure, a unit of insurer Nationwide, offers packages as low as $95, and it offers stand-alone coverage for jewelry, gifts and — ahem — “professional counseling.” If that doesn’t work, Wedsure even offers “change of heart” coverage.
And that could create a hurricane in and of itself.