Smart Spending

When Your Happily Ever After Wedding Plans Turn Out To Be Not So Happy

In mid-April, on this very fine site, we talked about ways to plan a wedding in a financially responsible way. But sometimes, for reasons great and small, weddings don’t always take place. And when that happens, all your financial planning is usually out the window because typically any deposit you’ve given to a restaurant or a band or a caterer or a photographer is either gone altogether or refunded to you at a greatly reduced rate. But what if that didn’t have to happen? What if you could take the lemons of a cancelled wedding and make lemonade for somebody else? Would you think about it?

Well, there’s a new company with a new concept. Bridal Brokerage does exactly what their name says. They’re in the business of matching cancelled weddings with new couples. And in one of those rare cases where you think this sounds too good to be true, I honestly can’t find a reason why this isn’t as good as it sounds.

Here’s how it works. If you’re on the unhappy end of the cancelled wedding, you register with the site to sell your wedding package. Typically the site caters to couples who have bought an entire wedding package from an all-inclusive wedding provider. You list your package, indicate what you’ve paid for it and how much you still owe.

The site will put your package up for sale and that’s where the buyers come in. As with the sellers, you need to register with the site to buy a package. You have to say where you want to have your wedding, your timetable, how many guests you anticipate having and a budget range.

Once they get all that information, the site does its magic and matches you up with whatever is available based on your selections. I decided to test drive the site and plugged in my (fictitious) plans and it gave me back 3 wedding choices, including one package identified as a premiere venue in Virginia for weddings and special events. The package was reduced from the original cost of $12,000 to $5,000 and the site gave me a choice of 5 dates between the end of June and mid-August. It almost made me want to get married. Almost.

You’re shown pictures of the location, provided with the venue’s website and given an e-mail address and phone number so you can call and ask questions of the venue’s management. In most cases, you’ll be able to still select your own colors and menus and some venues do offer an up-sell option if you want to upgrade the originally purchased package.

This site is not just for someone who wants to buy a discounted wedding. If you or your loved one is about to deploy, or if you decide you just can’t wait to get married, or if you just would rather someone else do the legwork for you, this can be a good option.

And it seems to really be a win-win-win-win situation. The original purchaser of the package will get some of his or her or their money back. The new buyer of the package will get a great deal on a wedding and save themselves a bunch of money (and time as well, which is nothing to sneeze at). The original venue gets to still host the reception instead of having an open date they need to try and book themselves And, of course, Bridal Brokerage makes money by matching up sellers and buyers and venues. Like I said, it seems like a winning business idea for all.