Wedding Insurance: What you need to know!

Getting married isn’t expensive, there I said it. Throwing a wedding, on the other hand, can be, and like everything, it’s all about scale and perspective. What you may find expensive others simply won’t bat an eyelid.

That said weddings are a huge investment and hopefully a one-off event in your life, so it’s important to protect your investments with the needed insurances – such as wedding insurance – for your peace of mind. So I have broken it all down with this blog, I really hope it helps you towards your finding cover for your wedding and creating your perfect wedding day.

The average wedding cost in the UK is anywhere between £20,000-£25,000, which I’m sure for most of us we couldn’t just whip out of our back pockets to pay for it all again should anything happen.

Below are some things to think about when looking at wedding insurance and what it does and does not cover you for in general.

***Spoiler Alert***

Wedding insurance covers a problem with your venue, a supplier, or a key wedding party member falling ill. It does NOT cover a change of heart.


2020 Covid-19 wedding insurance update!

Like many, I was looking forward to a year of weddings, in fact, I was due to photograph a wedding on the 27th of March in Scotland. Sadly a few days before, Weddings, and all public gatherings of more than two were banned by the United Kindom government as outlined by the Prime Minister on the 23rd of March 2020 in an effort to slow the virus.

This is to be renewed every 3 weeks to see how we as a nation have progressed. This means that many venues, brides and grooms have cancelled or postponed their wedding plans.

The problem is, most wedding insurance companies will not cover you for governmental regulation changes.

Which.co.uk asked the big wedding insurance companies some questions and these are the below findings.

What if your wedding contravenes public gatherings rules?

Debenhams: Losses arising from prohibitive regulations by the government of any country are excluded.

Emerald Life: Claims arising from government acts are excluded.

Events Insurance: Government-regulated acts are excluded, which means there would be no cover if the government forces venues to close as part of a national ban or if it restricts the size of a gathering.

John Lewis: Claims arising directly or indirectly from government regulation or act are excluded.

The Insurance Emporium: No claims are covered when directly or indirectly caused by, happening through, in consequence of or contributed to by influenza, notifiable disease, virus, bacteria or contagion, or any derivation or variant thereof.

Wedinsure: Claims directly or indirectly caused by government regulations or acts are excluded – this includes bans on social or public gatherings.

What if the venue or other services cancel on you?

If your wedding is able to go ahead, it may still be that a service provider for your wedding day is unable to deliver for what you have booked. You should always try and work with suppliers on an agreement but if that’s not possible this is what the top wedding insurance companies say.

Debenhams: Those with existing policies are covered if the booked venue for the wedding or wedding reception is unable to hold your wedding due to an outbreak of infectious or contagious disease; the total non-appearance on the wedding day of any booked and paid-for professional wedding services; the non-appearance of the officiating minister or registrar.

Emerald Life: Doesn’t cover the bankruptcy of wedding suppliers within the first 10 days of taking the policy out. Otherwise, there is cover if a wedding services supplier goes bankrupt and there may be cover if a significant supplier fails to arrive on the day, which may allow for cancellation or rearrangement.

Events Insurance: Advising people to speak to their suppliers and check their contracts. Events Insurance says venues and suppliers don’t want to lose out on bookings, and have generally been offering rearrangement options to people hoping to postpone.

John Lewis: Those with existing policies should be covered for the booked venue for the wedding or wedding reception being unable to hold your wedding due to an outbreak of infectious or contagious disease, and the total non-appearance on the wedding day of any booked and paid-for wedding services.

The Insurance Emporium: No claims are covered when directly or indirectly caused by, happening through, in consequence of or contributed to by influenza, notifiable disease, virus, bacteria or contagion, or any derivation or variant thereof.

Wedinsure: Cover includes instances where the booked venue for the wedding or wedding reception is unable to hold the event due to an outbreak of infectious disease (eg coronavirus), or its closure by a relevant authority – except where the closure or their inability to hold your wedding is due to any form of government act or regulation.

What if travel to the wedding venue has been restricted?

The United Kingdom Government has so far only warned against non-essential travel, with roads and most public transport still being open. If this changes and your wedding has to cancel. Then It is highly unlikely any insurance company will payout at all with all of the top wedding insurance companies stating that:

“Government-regulated acts are excluded, which means there would be no cover if it restricts freedom of movement.”

overseas weddings will also be affected by the country of travel regulations so do keep up to date with how your destination country is reacting to the pandemic. For example I have several international clients whos weddings have been cancelled due to the UK government’s actions.

What if the bride, groom or guests are ill or self-isolating?

Debenhams: The policy does not mention coronavirus explicitly, but it doesn’t cover any claims where the person with an illness has acted against medical advice, or is awaiting the results of any tests or medical investigations.

Emerald Life: Actual illness of the bride or groom is covered, but not with self-isolation, as it would be impossible to prove if it were genuine; if a close family member is ill then that may merit cancellation or rearrangement.

Events Insurance: Two scenarios are covered: if the bride, groom or a close relative is diagnosed with the virus and is suffering with it at the time of the wedding, which causes the wedding to be cancelled; or the venue has a case of coronavirus and they are forced to cancel all events and close – on the basis that the contract you have with them permits them to cancel for that reason and it’s not the result of a blanket government shut down.

John Lewis: You’re covered in the event of the death, injury or sickness of the prospective marriage or civil partners, or close relative or members of the wedding party which would make it inappropriate to continue the wedding.

The Insurance Emporium: No claims are covered when directly or indirectly caused by, happening through, in consequence of or contributed to by influenza, notifiable disease, virus, bacteria or contagion, or any derivation or variant thereof.

Wedinsure: Covers the unavoidable cancellation of the wedding due to the death or sickness of the wedding participants or their close relatives, as defined under the policy, which would make having or continuing with the wedding and/or wedding reception impossible. But if you buy the policy knowing you or a close relative has already contracted coronavirus, then that wouldn’t be covered.


1. Only get wedding insurance if you’d be left out of pocket if something went wrong.

The kind of policy you buy, or even if you buy it at all, changes on how much you’re spending on the big day and what kind of wedding you’ve planned.

Not every wedding is the size of a royal bash, so if you could easily rearrange it on your own, then wedding insurance isn’t a must.

However, if the financial and emotional stress of rearranging would be too much, wedding insurance will be worth a look.

Venue cancellation and supplier failure are the two main reasons people buy wedding insurance; policies start from £19 for weddings of £3,000 and go up to £300 for £100,000 weddings. Which is hardly anything in the grand scheme of things.

Couple under an archway after eloping by Joshua Wyborn Photographic

2. Wedding insurance usually covers venue or supplier failure, key people falling ill, NOT cold feet.

All wedding insurance policies are different so always check the small print. But here’s what policies typically DO cover. (At the bottom is explanations of each if you wish to read about these in more detail)

If your venue goes bust or cancels on you.

A supplier lets you down.

You cancel because key people can’t make it due to illness, accident or death.

Lost, stolen or damaged… wedding rings, flowers, cake, outfits, gifts.

If photos and videos don’t turn up. (This one horrifies me).

Personal liability and legal expenses.

Watch out, though: the following are typically NOT covered by standard wedding insurance policies.

Cold feet.

Cancellation if only a small part of the day goes wrong.

Cancellation due to financial difficulty, other than redundancy.

Pre-existing conditions that cause cancellation.

The following are typically not covered by more basic policies but you can sometimes pay extra to get them added.

If bad weather ruins the experience.

Marquee cover.

Ceremonial swords. (Try not to stab anyone…)

Public liability. (We know the messy ones!)

3. A successful wedding insurance claim doesn’t always mean cash.

Smaller mishaps, such as rotting flowers or ripped suits, usually trigger a single payout for the cost of that particular good/service.

But if the problem is huge like your venue being flooded, think Cumbria in the last few years, that the wedding has to be rearranged, then your insurer may instead arrange an alternative wedding, so you won’t actually be paid anything, it’ll just sort out the new Big Day.

There’s no one definitive rule; it can vary by insurer. So do check out your cover and all the small print.

Don’t forget about any claim there’s an excess to pay. You might be entitled to £2,000 cover but have to pay a £25 excess, so only get £1,975 back.

4. You can buy your wedding insurance up to TWO years in advance!

Yes, that’s right, you can get wedding insurance up to TWO years in advanced of your booked date. The average wedding also takes about 2 years to plan, so as soon as your venue is booked, get insured! The sooner you buy your wedding insurance the sooner you’re covered, should something go wrong and you need to cancel, postpone or get a refund for one element of the wedding.

View of the vintage cream car arriving amongst guests from above

5. Getting married overseas? Grab a specialist wedding insurance deal! … And take me with you?!

John Lewis says 8% of weddings it insures are abroad, with Italy, France and Greece the most popular destinations.

To be insured for this, ensure you check the terms of your policy so it covers you abroad, as not everyone does.

It’s also worth noting that for overseas weddings some parts of the policy might not be included – such as public liability for weddings in the United States or Canada – so always check the small print!

6. Planning an extravagant stunt or fireworks? Hire a professional!

If you’re planning to mark your celebration with a special stunt such as a firework display, don’t let your drunk uncle take charge – and cause £1,000s of damage… the hindsight might be hilarious but the costs won’t be!

Most wedding insurers won’t cover firework displays but you may not need to pay extra for it if you’ve hired a reputable firm with its own cover.

7. Using a trusted supplier lowers the risk

To lessen the risk of something going wrong and ruining your day, it’s important you pick reliable companies when you put your wedding together. If your venue is a multi-billion pound hotel chain you’ll be less likely to worry about it going bust, though it’s still not risk-free.

Get personal recommendations and do your research on suppliers, such as looking for reviews on the internet and ask your friends for recommendations. You can also check out my blog, 5 Tips for choosing your perfect wedding photographer!

8. Get everything in writing and keep receipts.

Keep a record of everything you book in writing, make sure you have written agreements or contracts with your suppliers and get receipts for everything you pay for. You may need to dig these out when making a claim.

Jot down the dates of when each full payment is due, to ensure you don’t lose deposits or lose track of suppliers.

I send receipts with every payment and you even have your own client login to see all of your documents.

9. You need travel insurance for the honeymoon

If you’ve got wedding insurance this WON’T cover you for your honeymoon. So sort out some travel insurance 🙂

10. What to do if a wedding insurer wrongly refuses a claim?

If your wedding insurance company rejects your claim and you think it has done so wrongly, don’t take it lying down. First complain about it directly then if you don’t get a response within eight weeks, complain to the free Financial Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman is an independent adjudicator that will make the final decision on a claim if you’re locked in a dispute with your insurer. For more on how to make a complaint, read money-saving experts Financial Rights guide.


Well, I hope all of that has been useful to you. If you want to dig further into this then scroll below for some more starting points! As always make sure you check out your wedding insurance thoroughly before taking it out, or if you already have insurance for your wedding day, maybe clarify with them what is and isn’t covered. It may be that you need to add extra cover to your policy.

As always, if you would like me to photograph your big day, please feel free to contact me!


Whats generally covered by wedding insurance, bit more detail.

The venue goes bust or cancels on you

If the venue for your wedding or reception were to flood, burn down, go bankrupt or have to cancel your booking then you should be covered.

This claim may still need to pay other suppliers of the original wedding even though it won’t go ahead as planned, but the insurer should pay for replacements for the new date.

A supplier lets you down

If one of your pre-booked suppliers, such as those supplying your flowers, cake, transport, photos or music, lets you down (ie, you don’t get the item/service, or it’s damaged) you’ll be covered for any deposits you’ve paid out and any additional costs you incur by cancellation cover.

This only works if you’ve got a written agreement or contract with the supplier – and not all wedding insurance policy covers the same suppliers, so check and don’t part with your cash unless you have a contract.

You cancel because key people can’t make it due to illness, accident or death

Typically, your wedding insurance policy will have cancellation cover you if you have to cancel or rearrange your wedding because of any of the below:

Illness, death or accident to the couple getting married or someone in the wedding party (close family, the bridesmaids or best man) as long as the illness wasn’t caused by a pre-existing condition.

If any of the wedding party are called for jury duty or are a serving member of the UK armed services and are posted overseas unexpectedly you’ll also be covered.

If at least 50% of the guests can’t make the wedding because of serious weather conditions, which causes you to postpone, you should also be covered. The exact T&Cs differ for each insurer; with John Lewis for example, if at least 50% of guests can’t make it, the wedding insurance policy will payout. Debenhams wedding insurance policy says the weather conditions need to have caused major disruption to travel services such as rail, road or bus to trigger a payout so check the small print first.

Lost, stolen or damaged… wedding rings, flowers, cake, outfits, gifts

What you’ll be covered for will depend on the item…

Wedding rings.

These should be covered if you lose, damage or have them stolen but only usually from a week before the wedding and up to 24 hours afterwards, although this can vary by a day or two so always check the small print. Engagement rings, which are often more expensive, will not be covered so you should add these to your home insurance.

Cake.

It’s usually covered up until the start of the wedding reception if it’s lost, stolen or accidentally damaged. If you pick it up from the shop but it isn’t packed properly while transported to the wedding and is ruined, it won’t be covered. Similarly, if it’s stolen from an unattended car and it’s insight you won’t be covered.

Flowers.

Similarly, flowers are usually covered until the start of the reception. They need to be packed properly while they’re being taken to the wedding and if they’re stolen when left unattended, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim.

Wedding dress & attire.

You’ll be covered if the wedding attire – the wedding dress, suits and other outfits – is lost or damaged beyond repair while in your possession. The items are usually covered from the date you buy the policy if you have bought them, or 24 hours before if they’re being hired. The insurer should pay for repair or replacement clothes plus hire and alteration charges.

Wedding gifts.

If your wedding gifts are lost, stolen or accidentally damaged during the wedding – either those brought by guests for you or presents you’ve bought for those at your wedding – they will be covered as long as they haven’t been left unattended.

Some wedding insurance policy will put limits on the individual wedding gifts of a maximum of £250. The cover usually applies up to seven days before and 24 hours after the wedding date.

For peace of mind – if you’ve asked your guests to give gifts of money or cheques then check the policy wording as some insurers, such as Leisure Guard and Wedding Plan, won’t cover this.

If photos and videos don’t turn up

If your photos or videos can’t be developed due to a technical fault or the professional photographer fails to turn up (willing amateurs won’t do), you’ll be covered by your wedding insurance policy. However, if the photographer just isn’t very good, fails to get a good shot of the mother of the bride or can’t shoot straight you won’t be covered.

Most insurers will pay out for you and the wedding party to get dressed up again and have them retaken. The cost of hiring wedding outfits is usually covered.

Personal liability and legal expenses

The bride and groom are covered if they’re liable for injury to a third person or damage to a third party property, such as the venue; a stunt which goes wrong, say. Though this does not cover accidents caused by anyone else at the wedding, such as your guests.

Legal costs and expenses are covered for the bride and groom if they pursue legal proceedings because of an event at the wedding that causes death or serious injury that triggers a cancellation.

_

The following are typically not covered by more basic wedding insurance policies but you can sometimes pay extra to get them added.

If bad weather ruins the experience

If your wedding is an outdoor one you’re unlikely to be able to recover the costs of heavy rain or a thunderstorm ruining your event if you have a standard policy. However, specialist policies may be available via brokers. If you have an elaborate outdoor ceremony and want protection, try the British Insurance Brokers’ Association to help you find the right product.

Marquee cover

If you put up a marquee on your land (or on hired land that doesn’t belong to the marquee owner) you generally won’t be covered. So if you erect one and need cover, you’ll have to pay extra. The price depends on the value of the marquee cover and the number of days’ cover you need but it is typically around £35 extra. This marquee covers not only damage to the structure of the marquee but also the staging, chairs, tables, lighting and flooring. This applies to marquees hired by you. If the marquee is an existing, physical part of the wedding venue, you should be covered for any damage under that part of the policy.

Ceremonial Swords

If you’re using ceremonial swords you’ll often need to pay an extra fee. This is partly due to the fact that they’re often of high value and borrowed from a regiment. The price depends on the value of the sword and the number of days’ cover you need but it is typically around £40 extra.

Public liability

This extends the personal liability protection from just the happy couple to cover all wedding guests invited to your big day. So, if anyone invited to the wedding accidentally injures a third party or damages property then this will protect them from any financial consequences.

_

Watch out, though: the following are typically NOT covered by standard wedding insurance policies.

Cold feet

If you or your partner gets cold feet and decides not to go through with the wedding, it won’t be covered. In typically dry small-print language, it’s called a ‘disinclination to get married’ in the T&Cs of your policy.

Cancellation if only a small part of the day goes wrong

Say only the wedding cake is damaged. You’ll get your money back for the cost of the cake but you won’t be covered for anything else, ie, you cancel the wedding as a result.

Cancellation due to financial difficulty, other than redundancy

If you need to cancel your wedding because you can no longer afford to pay for it you will not normally be covered under your wedding insurance policy. This is because it is classed as something you may have known about when you took the policy out. If the financial difficulty is caused by redundancy it may be covered although there are restrictions. Typically, this might be a payout made only if you took out a policy more than eight weeks before you lost your job.

Pre-existing conditions that cause cancellation

If your wedding has to be cancelled due to illness, death or accident of someone in the wedding party (usually one of the people getting married or close family) you will be covered unless it is caused by a pre-existing condition such as a heart condition or diabetes. Check the T&Cs of the policy carefully to see what is and what isn’t included.

Share this story

COMMENTS Expand
ADD A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *