Debbie Smith and Matthew CottrellYour wedding day should be the happiest day of your life – but what happens if it turns into the most tragic day? Unfortunately that is what happened to 24 year old Debbie Smith in June of this year. Debbie, from Southport, , and her fiancé Matthew, had planned a huge £25,000 dream wedding, and everything looked set for a happy and romantic future. Except that the day before her wedding Debbie was at the same church, walking up the same aisle, but at her fiancé’s funeral.

No one should have to bury their wife or husband to be, especially not the day before the wedding and at the same location, but for Debbie there was yet further distress when several of the suppliers who were to be involved in the wedding the next day refused to refund even a penny, despite the fact that a wedding insurance policy had been taken out.


Matthew was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, and after a stag night out with his army friends he decided to take a taxi home. Unfortunately part way back he realised he didn’t have enough money on him to pay for the full journey and so he got out and began walking the rest of the way home. On an unlit and notorious stretch of road he was struck by a coach, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

At just 23 and 24 years old Debbie and Matthew felt that their love was invincible, and their wedding day was to be blessed. Even so they took out a modest wedding insurance policy, but sadly this only covered around £6,000 of the £25,000 total cost. Whilst some companies offered a refund in view of the circumstances, many did not, including the dress designer and the photographer which, between them, added up to £4,500 alone.

Supplier Failure?

The dress designer justified her decision by explaining that the dress had been made to measure, and that the chances of being able to find someone of the exact same size and build who wanted the same style were so small that a refund was simply not possible. The photographer eventually bowed under pressure from the local paper and offered an undisclosed partial refund, but still pocketed the majority of the fee paid for in advance by Matthew and Debbie.

This is a terrible, tragic story, and one which is deeply upsetting. But it does also demonstrate that, no matter how young and invincible you may feel, no matter how strong your love for each other and how happy and rosy the future looks, none of us can be certain about anything, and taking out insurance does at least mean that those who are left behind to pick up the pieces have at least one thing less to worry about.

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3 Star
£10,000 £79.00 £35 Visit Insurer »
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£10,000 £80.00 £0 Visit Insurer »
Tier 3
£15,000 £100.00 £0 Visit Insurer »

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But this story also demonstrates the importance not just of having wedding insurance, but having the right wedding insurance. If your wedding costs more than your insurance policy covers then you need to accept that if something goes wrong, you will inevitably have to cover the difference out of your own pocket. If you’re happy with this, then that’s fine, but if you would struggle to cover the cost, you may be better off making sure that you take out a policy which covers everything. It might be a few pounds more, but in the long run it’s going to offer the peace of mind and comfort that will be sorely needed should the worst happen.


Liverpool Echo
Daily Mail