May 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM ET
Getting left at the altar is bad enough, but it’s even worse if you’re also stuck holding the bag filled with bills.
One website is helping would-be brides cut their losses if they’ve planned a wedding and then called it off. Couples can lose thousands of dollars in deposits on reception halls, flowers, photographers and more.
“If you're a bride you can go ahead and log on and you'll be able to see if there are open wedding dates that have been called off or if there are vendors in your area that have open weddings that they would like to sell off at a discount,” said Lauren Byrne, founder of BridalBrokerage.com.
Angela Wakefield and her fiancé Chris Watkins used the site to save about $4,000 on their California wedding reception.
“We figured it was a no-brainer to get a pre-paid package and it was kind of all planned out, so it was easier and cost effective,” Wakefield said. “I think it was just really easy, it took the headache away from me.”
Wakefield found a canceled $12,000 package that was on sale through the brokerage for $7,900.
Wakefield ended up way ahead the game considering the average U.S. couple spent $25,656 for their wedding in 2012, according to research company Wedding Report, Inc.
“Since we're saving so much money, I can splurge on some other things,” Wakefield said.
The brokerage attracts deal seekers, along with “non-planners, and those on accelerated timelines, including active deployment and pregnancies,” according to the website. Most couples who buy canceled weddings are still able to choose their own food, colors, flowers and cake, depending on how close it is to the wedding date. In some cases, they incur extra fees for changes or upgrades to the originally purchased package.
“It's a win for everyone,” said Lauren Jennings, the general manager of Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center. “For the venue, we now have a wedding that we were hoping for on a particular date. The old bride who canceled, she now gets a portion of her money back that she paid. For the new bride, she gets an amazing deal for her wedding.”
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