The date is set. The venue chosen, a deposit has been put down. The only thing that isn’t happening is the wedding.
When a couple cancels their big day sometime between the engagement and the "I do," they usually lose a bundle of cash from deposits put down on various things, the place, the band, catering.
But couples who break up no longer have to go through both emotional turmoil and financial turmoil. There’s a place you can go to who will sell your wedding package and get you back some of the money you would have lost otherwise.
Called Canceled Weddings, the business is an online marketplace where couples who will actually get married can find wedding packages at a deep discount. Only thing is, it may have been someone else’s vision, but at 50% off who really cares. Destination wedding it is.
“You might get a first impression that there always must be a heart-broken bride or groom behind a wedding cancellation,” says the company’s founder and CEO Peter K. Ulrich. “Well, that's not quite true, although a called-off engagement is one of the three most frequent reasons. But it's better to cancel your already paid wedding and have a way to recoup its cost than to marry the wrong person and be unhappy for the rest of your life. Spiraling costs and a shift in couple's priorities or facing an employment change is also a reason that would make it into the top three reasons why couples decide to sell their wedding plan in-progress. Recession in some countries plays its role here.”
Peter says he had a couple from Illinois who stayed together, but decided to elope, and used his company to recoup some of the down payment costs.
How it works is easy; it’s a members-only marketplace where you make a profile and describe what you're looking for. Your profile is than matched against wedding packages from sellers that Canceled Weddings receives on a daily basis. You get notified each time there is a match. You then can purchase the wedding date, venue, vendor, and number of guests. The buyer takes over any outstanding bills going forward. The company handles the complications of the contracts.
“A canceled wedding is actually rights and obligations being sold and transferred from one couple to another with the need of approval from the respective vendor,” Peter explains. “You have to be very good in moving contracts to pull this through. It's also essential to protect the identity and privacy of the sellers and buyers. It's very intimate and we have to be very careful not to breach our client's trust.”
A whopping 270,000 couples call off their their wedding each year—and that’s just in the U.S. The average wedding amounts to $25,656.
The idea for the company came when Peter realized canceled weddings became popular in the U.S. and that there had to be a way for wedding deposits to be resold for a fraction instead of being completely lost.
One wedding for sale now includes a venue in Coconut Grove, Florida, for June 4. With room for 140 guests, and a local photographer, the deposit of $2,000 has already been paid on the $3,370 cost. Whoever buys it, would pay the remainder.
Another wedding package in Charleston, South Carolina was fully paid for, and is available for December 17, 2016. The seller is open to bids for the 250 guest event.
“Not all canceled events find a new buyer, there are many parameters at play,” Peter adds. “Some get sold quickly, some take even months and some don't get sold at all. Our goal is to find a buyer for every canceled event, but we still have a long way to go.”
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