BBB Advises: Avoid Being Jilted at the Altar by Bankrupt Vendors

April 12, 2009
Some brides and bridegrooms are getting burned by bankrupt vendors.

The number of businesses filing for bankruptcy — including bridal boutiques and venues — was up 47 percent in February over the previous year. While high-profile companies make the headlines, many smaller, independent businesses are also struggling in the current economy.

According to Travelers Insurance, more than 40 percent of its wedding insurance claims filed during the past two years involved unforeseen problems with vendors and venues, some of which went bankrupt in the worsening economy.

“Considering that the average wedding costs more than $28,000, soon-to-be newlyweds have a significant amount of money on the line and a vendor’s ‘Going out of Business’ sign can be far worse than rain on their wedding day,” said Pam
King, president/CEO of the BBB serving northern Colorado and greater Wyoming.

To plan a successful event, couples should look for BBB Accredited Businesses and request BBB Reliability Reports for all other businesses hired in conjunction with the wedding.

Beyond that, King said, “Wedding insurance can provide a couple piece of mind that their money will be recovered if a vendor or venue falls through at the last minute.”  

Aside from the gown, wedding insurance can provide a variety of coverage for many mishaps that might affect a wedding including vendor no-shows, foul weather, military deployment, and health issues affecting key participants. Most insurance won’t cover cold feet, however.

BBB offers the following advice on purchasing wedding insurance:

Always research insurance companies first with BBB by reviewing Business Reliability Reports free of charge online at And shop for wedding insurance before paying deposits on any wedding services to make sure all expenses are covered.

Comparison shop and pay close attention to the fine print. According to the Insurance Information Institute, wedding insurance will cost between $125 to $400 depending on the amount of coverage. Like any insurance plan, there are limits on claims and deductibles that must be met.

Avoid purchasing overlapping coverage. Some vendors might already be insured or coverage might be provided by the credit card company.
Keep good records and all receipts for the insurance company in order to justify any reimbursements.

Start With Trust. For more reliable consumer tips, alerts and information, visit or call 800-564-0371.