Every bride hopes her wedding will go off without a hitch, but the pros will tell you that there’s always a hiccup or two. It might be something easy to address, like falling a few minutes behind schedule or realizing you’re short a chair at your parents’ table. Or, it could be a little trickier—like a dropped cake or a broken window. (Go knock on wood, we’ll wait!) In the event of damaged property on your wedding day, what’s a bride to do? We’ve got a few tips to help you navigate the situation.
Know What Counts as Damage
There’s always a chance something could be broken, like a plate or a wine glass, and rental companies know this. That’s why it’s included in their contract! Most will allow regular wear and tear (like scratches on dinner plates or food stains on napkins) without any extra costs to you. When it comes to bigger damage, like torn linens or broken plates, each rental company approaches things differently. Some automatically charge a damage waiver, which is a percentage fee on top of your rental costs that is in place to pay for any items that might be broken. Others allow you to opt-in to the damage waiver, or will charge per piece for broken or damaged items after the rentals have been returned. Did something go missing altogether? Expect to pay for the replacement of the item, unless it’s covered by your damage waiver.
Check the Contract
What if the damage isn’t to a rented item, but to the property itself? Take a peek at your venue’s contract to see how they handle it. Some will include a damage waiver in your rental fee (just like a furniture or plate rental), which you’ll pay in advance. Almost all will require certificates of insurance from the vendors, with a minimum policy. You might also notice a liability clause, which states that the client is responsible for any damage to the property. If you or your guests caused the damage (for example, if a piece of the hotel’s furniture is broken or a hole gets punched in a wall), you’re on the hook. However, if the damage is caused by a vendor, they (or their insurance company) will be responsible for any repairs.
Ok, something happened and it needs to get fixed. Now what? Your best option is to let the insurance companies handle it. If, for example, the band put a dent in a wall while delivering their speakers, let them handle it directly with the venue. If you witness the damage occurring, you might be asked to give a statement (just like you would if you witnessed a car accident), but otherwise you shouldn’t get involved if possible. If the damage was caused by you or one of your guests, you should involve your own insurance company. But keep in mind, most homeowners insurance policies don’t extend coverage to property that is rented by you—meaning your policy probably won’t pony up for any damage you (or your guest) causes to your rented venue.
Consider Wedding Insurance
Does all this damage talk make you a little nervous? Consider purchasing a wedding insurance policy to keep you covered. If your rental company doesn’t offer a damage waiver, look for a policy that includes coverage for rented party supplies (ranging from flatware to sailcloth tents). You should also keep an eye out for a property damage deductible, which is exactly what it sounds like: How much you’ll pay out of pocket if there’s damage to the property. Some home insurance companies offer event insurance as an add-on to your policy, or you can shop for event insurance directly.