Ensuring that the investment in your big day won't go to waste

When Alfred Angelo Bridal filed bankruptcy and shut down unexpectedly in July, brides throughout Central Ohio and the country were left reeling. Uncertainty about when—or if—orders would be filled meant that many women and their bridesmaids felt compelled to buy another dress, just in case. And although your wedding budget should include an emergency fund for disasters, it's unlikely that any budget could easily accommodate the purchase of a second bridal ensemble.

Regardless of whether you were directly affected by this particular closing, you may find yourself wondering if there's a way to protect yourself against a budget-breaking disaster. Fortunately, there is.

Wedding insurance is often regarded as extraneous—one more expense on a laundry list of wedding expenses. But while the temptation to forgo insurance is attractive, as many brides learned last summer, it's a decision you make at your own risk.

“The financial investment in weddings is very significant,” says Steve Lauro, vice president of insurance company Aon Affinity. He cites the average wedding cost in the U.S. as more than $26,000. “With that level of investment … we urge brides and grooms to at least consider the possibility of something going wrong, and that if it did go wrong, what they could do to protect themselves.” Aon Affinity offers WedSafe, a wedding insurance product with liability and cancellation/postponement options.

It may feel like a bad omen to purchase wedding cancellation or postponement insurance, but Lauro explains that even rock-solid couples could face a situation that would result in a change to their wedding plans. “It doesn't always have to be the catastrophic cancel or postponement,” Lauro adds. “We see many claims where the photographer lost all the digital photos, and the cost of a re-shoot will be almost as much as what it cost originally; that type of thing could be covered. … Even if the wedding does go on, there could be smaller things that are additional costs or losses that brides and grooms can get protected against.”

The cost of WedSafe cancellation policies starts at $75, and Lauro says couples can expect to pay about $200 to insure a wedding at the average price point of $26,000. That comparatively small fee will cover lost deposits, rescheduling fees and more should something go wrong.