In “A Perfect World” – far, far away – weddings are always blissful, and parties evermore spectacular. Vendors perform flawlessly, thievery is non-existent and nobody ever slips on the dance floor after too much champagne. Ne’er a rain drop falls, nor the winds whistle, only glorious blue skies by day and twinkling stars at night!
It’s time for me to sit down with you and have “the talk”. It sucks that we live in an imperfect world, and it’s no fun for me when I have to talk about this stuff – I feel like “Debbie Downer” – but I owe it to you. An important part of a wedding planner|event planner‘s job is to mitigate risk, and help our clients protect their investment as well as themselves. Planners bring a wide array of experiences to the table, and the ability to spot potential risks and liabilities in particular is an extremely valuable benefit of our services.
You may be relying on contracts to protect your interests and ensure services are rendered, but how closely are you paying attention? What liabilities are you assuming by signing an agreement with a venue or vendor? Read carefully and you will likely see terms and conditions such as these:
“Renter assumes all liability of damages from candles including, damage from waxes, fire, or personal injury.”
“…the host will be responsible for any and all injury to persons or damage to property during your use of the premises…”
“The event host is liable for any damages…” “Damages includes physical damage to any part of The Premises, personal injury to any person attending the Wedding/Reception Event, any unpaid balances to third‐party vendors, and any other physical, financial, or personal damage sustained as a result of this function.”
“(the venue) is not responsible for items lost, stolen or left by hosts, members of a wedding party, or guests”
Not to mention that it’s becoming more common for venues and public facilities to request (require) you provide them with a certificate of liability insurance. Sounds a little scary – doesn’t it?
Forget the venue… Let’s just celebrate in the backyard
Nope, you are not off the hook if you throw a party or event at home. For instance: If you host a party are you liable for injuries to a guest? Does it make a difference if you provide alcohol for your guests? What if they bring their own alcohol? Are you responsible for your guests after they leave? Wait, there’s more: Special caution needs to be applied when certain activities, such as swim/pool parties or boat outings, in conjunction with drinking actually increase the danger of the activity itself as well as the liability of the provider.
Fortunately for all, there is insurance for weddings and events – because in situations where things don’t go as planned, it can be a real life saver! Here are a few examples of wedding related mishaps:
- Unexpected illness, injury or death of people who play an important part in the wedding
- Dangerous and severe weather conditions that prevent the reception site from opening or impede guests from attending (hurricanes, blizzards, etc.)
- Bridal shop closed down (Priscilla of Boston)
- Stolen or lost gifts
- Rented table linens accidentally thrown away
- If the bride’s gown is lost, stolen or damaged
- The bride or groom has to unexpectedly relocate for a job/active military duty
How much does it cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), wedding insurance can cost between $125 to $400, depending on the amount of coverage you buy (options, costs and limitations vary widely). When comparing policies, read the fine print carefully (…before you sign!). Pay attention to maximum coverage limits, exclusions and deadlines for purchasing various options. Additionally, some policies have deductibles you must pay before insurance kicks in.
Liability insurance for short-term special events provides important protection for a variety of organized events – such as family reunions, weddings, business meetings, and community events. Some events are one day only, while others may take place over a weekend or a few days. Fees vary based on the amount of insurance needed, number of attendees and the nature of the event, and a number of other factors. For example, a family reunion for 100p. will be assessed differently than a multi-day chili cook-off event for 1200p.
Ultimately, the overall cost of insurance often works out to be a small percentage of the total cost of the event (except in the case of free, no-budget, fund-raising type events). Whether you’re investing 15k or 115k, and receive a quote equal to roughly 1.5% to 5% (possibly more, as events vary), you literally can’t afford NOT to have insurance.
Last yet not least, it is widely advised to consult your insurance agent before buying additional liability coverage. Your agent can check how much coverage your homeowner’s insurance provides and whether it applies to wedding events; you may need a special rider or want to buy additional coverage through an umbrella policy. For example, if a guest stumbles and falls during your event, that may be covered…. But what if a guest smashes a light fixture at the hotel and the owner holds you responsible – will your home insurance pay for the damage?
The benefits of working with a planner are clear: Planners want to help you protect your investment and create a safe experience for your guests. By directing you to reputable facilities and vendors who carry appropriate insurance, and helping you make informed decisions, you can be confident you’re well prepared to handle unforeseen occurrences and properly covered for circumstances beyond your control.
Additional Articles and Resources:
Should you buy wedding insurance for the big day? By JASON ALDERMAN , Parkersburg News and Sentinel
Why You Might Need Wedding Insurance , GalTime.com
Links to major wedding and event insurance providers:
WEDDING PROTECTOR PLAN (Travelers)