Special Event Insurance: Yay or Nay?

With only three months to go until the Big Day, I am frequently checking, double-checking, reassessing, and evaluating our wedding check-list. Today’s topic is one that G and I initially considered when deciding on a venue, and are circling back to now that time has ripened: special event insurance.

Now special event insurance was a relatively unknown subject for the two of us. In my winery experience, I simply submitted a request to TTB for the date of my special event and our licensing took care of the rest. Outside in my own private event, though, things don’t seem to be so simple. We weren’t sure what kind of event insurance was needed, what was covered, how to get it, and if we truly needed it. So G took to the phone and I took to Google to clarify. For any other couple out there planning their own wedding, here is what we found:

First thing’s first: what is special event insurance? Event insurance is an insurance policy that may help protect your investment in a specific event (in my case, I’m going to specify a wedding.) I am no insurance-guru, but this was pretty straight-forward. Think of special event insurance as providing general liability and offering additional protection such as liquor liability and event cancellation. Event insurance may help cover costs if you unexpectedly need to cancel your event or if you’re found responsible for property damage or injury caused during the wedding celebration.

Event liability coverage may help protect you if you’re found responsible for property damage or an injury caused during your wedding. If the band you hired damages a wall with their gear, for example, this coverage may help pay for repairs. Some policies also cover incidents caused by your guests. So if someone gets a little wild on the dance floor and trips a waiter as he walks by, event liability coverage may help pay for medical expenses resulting from an injury. Be sure to read your policy proposal to find out what kinds of situations your liability does and does not cover.

Some special event coverage may also reimburse you for lost deposits and other fees should something unexpected force you to delay or cancel your wedding. If your photographer quits suddenly, you’ll likely be covered for the cost of the lost deposit and potentially unexpected charges from having to book another photographer at the last minute. If your officiant breaks his leg the day before your wedding and you’re forced to postpone, this coverage may help cover any fees associated with rescheduling the venue, caterer and other vendors. Again, review your policy to see if cancellation costs are included in your coverage.

In a society where litigation runs rampant (seriously, look at the news — there’s a lawsuit for everything nowadays), it’s best to protect yourself in every case. Especially when considering worst-case scenarios at your wedding. And when you’re in charge, this is even more important!

For being the event planner of my own wedding, I’m the top of the chain when it comes to responsibility in case someone has an accident and sues. I’ve heard horror stories when I worked in the wedding industry of drunk guests committing a basic slip-and-fall during an event and turning around to sue everyone — the venue, production company, catering company, bride and groom even. So insuring my wedding is a safety net.

Plus, event insurance is not just for my own protection. In this case, it will also benefit my godparents, whose private residence we are hosting our reception. Even if you are not the key event planner of your wedding and are hosting your wedding at a venue, most vendors will require event insurance. This is something to keep in mind for any wedding!

When you begin looking at event insurance, you may feel overwhelmed — I sure did! There are numerous terms tossed around like “general liability” or “additional insured” and it’s hard to know what is right for you.

In short, general liability is the simplest to understand as it provides broad coverage for your wedding. The majority of my research showed that most venues and vendors seek $1,000,000 general liability coverage, so this is a safe place to begin.

To add more, I highly recommend calling your own personal insurance agent and speaking to them about possibilities. They are the experts and in the business, right? So why not trust their advice! If your insurance does not already cover special events, then your agent may be able to direct you to a carrier who does. This is the route G and I took, and were directed to EventHelper.com.

EventHelper truly was a help when it came to accessing a quote. After a few questions (mostly on our wedding’s expectations and criteria), we were given a quote and able to purchase the policy right away.

For our 200 person outdoor wedding which will have alcoholic beverages available (but no guns, inflatable bounce houses,  llamas, overnight accommodations, or protest march)  the cost is a little under $125. This is for a typical $1 million policy, but depending on the size of your wedding, this may vary.

No matter how well prepared you are for your wedding, you never know when disaster may strike. Having the proper insurance can make a huge difference on your Big Day, so do not forget to consider your options! Hopefully your wedding goes off just as you hoped, but event insurance may help take your mind off of the “what ifs” and let you focus on your special occasion.Sig

Then Her Heart Hardened

I have some very important information for all you out there in cyberspace: break ups suck. It has been over a week now since Army blindsided me and I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt more drained. I’ve arrived, however, to the point where I am sick and tired of all things lovey-dovey. I find myself glaring at couples I pass, I laugh maliciously at sweet little notes found on Pinterest, and if another rom-com movie trailer is played on my TV, I swear I’m going to go live in a cave somewhere. I am just sick of love. And I’m sick of caring.

***EDIT: Okay, so this post was written on Monday, June 29 and scheduled to be posted on Friday, July 3. It is now Wednesday, July 1 and I’ve realized something crucial: I am stronger than the girl I was on Monday. However, instead of simply deleting this text and moving forward, I’m going to let it post. But not without a bit of editing to be shared at the end. For anyone going through a break up experience right alongside of me, take note. In only two days I’m already better! So onto the original post…

I went out Saturday night with some of my best girlfriends. It was meant to be an evening of fun and laughter and girl time, and for the majority it was. However, being a good looking group of girls, the night proceeded to bring numerous guys. By the time we left the second bar, I had six drinks bought for me, four of which I had to give away (you’re welcome, ladies from Cadillac) on account of needing to drive home safely. The night continued with me being poked, prodded, and forced to stand awkwardly close in order to hear their slurred, cheesy pick up lines. By the end of the night I was left with a banging migraine and an aching heart.

I felt the need to let my girlfriends know how much fun I had though. Perhaps this was to try and convince myself, but I think it was more so I wouldn’t hurt their feelings. They wanted me to have fun; that’s why they invited me out. They wanted me to forget; that’s why they kept pushing the night to continue. They wanted me to know how much they care, and though I am glad they do, in my heart I can’t seem to muster that kind of want in return. I just no longer want to care.

I keep being told things like, “Don’t let this harden your heart.” “Get out and just meet someone else.” “He isn’t worth the pain.” “You’re far too amazing to even care.” And I appreciate the support, I really do, but I can’t help but feel that the advice is falling on deaf ears. I feel so drained of all feelings right now. I’m just… empty. I feel as if I allowed myself to gain all this momentum into happiness and then crash into a wall. Just like a butterfly, I had burst out of my cocoon just to find my wings clipped. No matter how much I try to live day-by-day, the past and the future keep pounding me into a submissive, wallowing shell of a woman.

I thought that X was the pinnacle of the hurt in my life. Every person I dated following X left a bad taste in my life. They were liars, cheaters, immature bullies, and far-too hopeless romantics to be taken more seriously than a first date. The exception was Army. He broke every rule I had set for myself on the dating front; he was someone I could actually see myself being in a committed relationship. (I mean, just read Drag Out My Demons for the full disclosure of what Army was and is to me.) Then he broke my rule for relationships: I fell in love with him… and I told him! My one rule! Do not be the first one to say those three words. Yet I did. I feel like an absolute idiot for letting myself become so entwined.

Because, in the end, he too became the exact thing I feared: someone okay with leaving.

Sometimes I laugh at myself. This week I’ve been laughing a lot. Looking back, I’ve taken so much pride in things that make me weak. Caring about someone as much as I did (do) Army is a weakness. It’s a weakness that is physically, emotionally, and mentally harming me. And being one with a low tolerance to pain, I’m calling quits. I’m tapping out. I’m surrendering.

It’s time to just let it go. Let go of the care and the sadness and the feelings of need for anyone but myself. I’m sick of being the one continuously trampled upon. It’s time I thought about myself and focused on myself more than every other person in my life.

From here on out, I no longer care.

*** EDIT: Pathetic, right? Not even two days ago I was going to allow this one person to beat me into a raving, uncaring crone. I was going to enable this guy, who cast me aside for his own personal selfishness, to change me. For the worse, may I add. No, no, no…

Ashley, caring is not a weakness. Caring is actually one of the strongest ambitions a person can have. Seriously, look at the world. Were there more people who truly and genuinely cared about others, the world would not be turning the way it is now. No, caring is not a weakness, and you are far from being weak.

Today I was told by a friend that I am the most emotionally strong woman she knows. I have not felt very strong lately. But you know what? It’s been only a week since I was hit by a train of loss and grief. And within that week I have forced myself to smile through the tears, gone to work when all I felt like doing was crying, enjoyed time with family and friends, met new people, planned a short summer vacation, and simply continued living. All while refraining from reaching out to the one person that I wish were there for me at this time.

I’m not weak.

I’m incredibly strong. 

A caterpillar can become a butterfly after a lot of time and effort. However, no matter how hard a butterfly tries, it can never be a caterpillar again. Army helped me grow out of my cocoon and become the person I am today. I will be eternally grateful for his assistance. It is not possible, though, for me to diminish into a lowlier person. I will not let it become a possibility.

I will keep living my life as the “f****** amazing” person Army left. I will not stop caring, I will not stop feeling, and above all I will not stop being happy. This is simply a bump in the road, and though my heart still hurts, I know deep down that he’s the one who’s losing out. Not me.

Real Wedding: Rebecca + Walt

Okay, guys, I have been waiting since the beginning of November to bring this lovely couple to your reading space! Rebecca and Walt’s wedding was the most entertaining and most adorable one I had the pleasure of assisting with during my time at Shadowland. Not only were they the sweetest people to the staff, but their ideas and creativeness are ridiculous! Just take a look for yourself…


Rebecca and Walt met in 2009 while out with their friends at Howl at the Moon in Chicago. At the time, Walt was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base and was in the midst of training. He originally hailed from North Carolina while Rebecca was a Chicago native. From that first chance meeting, the two were inseparable and many train trips were made between the base and the city. However, after only a few weeks Walt had to leave for San Diego for more training. Knowing there was a real connection, the couple decided to try long distance. Six months lately and still going strong, Walt made the decision to pack up a U-Haul and move to Chicago in order to be with Rebecca. Nearly six years later, they were married in beautiful St. Joseph and chose Shadowland Ballroom to be there reception venue. We feel truly honored to be a part of their love story!


The ceremony was to be very simple and intimate. No programs, no readings, just a focus on the couple’s love. On the stage of the Bandshell, surrounded by all their loved ones, Rebecca and Walt opted to write their own vows and read them to one another. Fighting back the tears, the audience witnessed love becoming one as the newlyweds performed a tying of the knot ritual (fitting as the couple met while Walt was stationed near Chicago during his navy days) and sealed the deal with a kiss.


Rebecca and Walt always knew they wanted a vintage themed wedding. However, their surprise and pleasure upon finding Shadowland Ballroom was just too perfect. After discovering the history behind the Silver Beach Amusement Park, the couple quickly fell in love with the idea of using such history to create an experience for their guests from beginning to end. With having a carousel right on site of their wedding, the couple reckoned they had no choice but to base their wedding’s theme on the history of the area.

From the very beginning, the couple made plans as to how their wedding day would evolve. Rebecca is an art teacher and was determined to have her hands in every aspect of the decor and theme, so their entire wedding was do-it-yourself.


The bride and her parents shared many adventures antiquing and handpicking every bottle, jar, and soda pop crate used for centerpieces.  120 antique bottles were arranged by the couple, along with “gathered from the side of the road” textured and natural floral creations of Stella Event Design. The look was meant to be eclectic, as if they were remnants of a traveling carnival.

Speaking of travel, the couple utilized a vintage globe as a perfectly unique guestbook. But the special touches did not stop with these details though! Each table at the reception was named after an old-time carnival ride and held a “Did You Know?” card with a few fun facts on the rides’ histories.


To make their guests’ experience even more authentic, the couple spent several hours building their own ticket booth. As guests entered the boardwalk, they encountered this booth and received their ticket, which directed them to their correct table and seat. Unable to let the crafting end there, Walt also designed a vintage push ice cream cart (equipped with a kissing bell) as a card holder. It was a huge hit among guests!

The creative couple also thought outside decor when it came down to details for their wedding. Guests were transported back to their childhood days with fresh popped popcorn and hand-spun cotton candy inside the Silver Beach Carousel. The bar was tastefully donned the name “The Drink Show” where attendees could wonder upon the couple’s signature cocktails: The Bearded Lady or Midge’s Apple Cider Champagne. Even the desserts kept to the theme as various flavored pies dotted the Pie Stand, just as if one were walking through a country fair.


The fun continued all night long as the couple and their family and friends danced the night away. There was a few minutes when a late-night hot dog bar interrupted the dance moves. As the bride hails from Chicago and the groom from North Carolina, it seemed only fitting that the bar’s toppings paid homage to the couple’s hometowns. Guests were able to make their own Chicago or Carolina dogs and wrap them in retro hot dog foils. owens4

Rebecca and Walt’s wedding exemplified their ultimate goal: to share their love with their family and friends in an entertaining and unique way. As their loved ones were from two very different parts of the country, their wedding was a special occasion to bring these two parts and make them into one. It was a great celebration! Thank you for sharing your special day with all of us here at Shadowland! last