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As soon as her fiancé slipped the engagement ring on her finger, Kathleen Kinser of Knoxville, Tenn., called her insurance agent. She wasn't worried about how much it would cost to insure her sparkly new bauble or thinking about qualifying for a "married discount" that would shave a few bucks off her premiums.

"I wanted to explore wedding insurance," says Kinser, who got married in April.

That's because Kinser's reception hall required the coverage to protect itself against drunken revelers, theft and other perils.

Scores of brides and grooms -- not to mention parents shelling out thousands of dollars -- are buying wedding insurance, not only to sidestep lawsuits but in the event that gale-force winds or frozen floral arrangements throw a black veil over the big day.

Not everyone has accepted the proposal, however.

"Wedding insurance takes the romance out of planning to spend the rest of your life together," says newlywed Nick Johlie of Dallas.

"It's right up there with prenups. It's like you're planning on something going wrong on your wedding day. It's cold," adds his wife, Stacie.

Weddings can be cold. In fact, the amount of cash that couples plunk down sends a chill through many budgets.

The average American wedding costs almost $29,000, according to The Wedding Report, a market-research publication. And wedding insurance, also called event insurance, is credited with sparing couples from starting out their new lives together with a huge financial loss if the big day goes bust and they lose all that dough.

With this ring I don't wed

A cancellation or postponement insurance policy says you'll get your deposits back in several different situations.

One is cold feet.

A Fireman's Fund wedding insurance policy, offered through the national alliance of special-event planners, insures deposits under its "change of heart" coverage in the event there's a runaway bride or groom.

But there are exceptions.

"Neither the bride nor groom can purchase the Fireman's policy, and it must be purchased at least four months before the planned wedding date," says Jean Martinelli, the owner of Jean Martin Insurance, a brokerage in Cranston, R.I.

When Mother Nature objects

Policies also can protect you if bad weather forces the cancellation or postponement of your wedding.

"If a major weather event prevents guests, the bride and groom, best man, father of the bride, the bridal party or officiant from attending, the policy will reimburse for the deposits and cover cancellation or postponement fees," Martinelli says.

"The key is the weather must be extreme," says Steven A. Lauro, a vice president of Aon Affinity, which provides this type of coverage through WedSafe.

So a few flurries or sprinkles don't count.

"Monsoons, mudslides, tornadoes, hurricanes, microbursts, blizzards, etc. do," Lauro adds.

Martinelli says Mother Nature's wrath has propelled wedding insurance to the top of many happy couples' "must have" bridal-accessory lists. "After Hurricane Katrina, couples really became aware that something completely out of their control could cancel their big day," she says.