Marquee collapses in £85,000 wedding disaster


One couple's wedding day dream came crashing down around them when their marquee collapsed during dinner with 150 guests.

Luckily, no one was injured and the bride and groom had wedding insurance that paid out £85,000 for the disaster. So should all engaged couples invest in cover for their big day?

Just as the first course was about to be served at a wedding venue in Berkshire the false floor of the marquee, put in place to counteract a sloping lawn, fell more than four feet, according to Debenhams Personal Finance, who the couple had a wedding insurance policy with.

Guests, catering staff, tables chairs, glassware and cutlery, were thrown to the ground and scaffolding poles fell into the marquee, narrowly missing people inside.

The incident resulted in the pay out of one of the highest ever wedding insurance settlements totalling £85,000 - which covered bridal attire, cancellation and rearrangement of the event.

Big day disaster
With the average cost of a UK wedding in 2012 rising to over £20,000, Debenhams Personal Finance is encouraging people to protect their financial investment in their big day.

Its research shows that all kinds of unforeseen events can curtail wedding nuptials – from extreme weather resulting in weddings being cancelled due to flooding, ice and snow making it impossible to travel, to venues and suppliers going bust.

Illness or death of a close family member or the bride or groom is another recurrent reason for cancellation while damage to wedding dresses and other attire is also high on the claims list, along with plumbing disasters or fire damage to a venue.

Mike Hazell, head of Debenhams Personal Finance, said: "Although major disasters are rare, even with the best planning sometimes things can go wrong. In these turbulent times – both in terms of the weather and the economic environment – it would be a wise couple that did all they could to ensure they at least get their money back if the worst happens."

Wedding cover
Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that after 40 years of decline, the number of weddings has risen by 3.7% in a year. But an increase in weddings brings an increase in disasters overshadowing this special and often expensive occasion.

Insuring against unfortunate events putting a dampener on your wedding is good idea if you are spending a sizeable amount but as policies vary considerably in the level of cover and exclusions, it pays to shop around. Policies generally start from around £27.

Hazell adds: "It is also essential to check the wording of your policy carefully to ensure you are covered for such eventualities as damage to wedding outfits, loss of the rings and the financial collapse of suppliers, as some policies may not offer as comprehensive protection."

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