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Bridal Brokerage eases the financial pain of canceled weddings

Brides hold their roses during a group Valentine's day wedding at the National Croquet Center on February 14, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Brides hold their roses during a group Valentine's day wedding at the National Croquet Center on February 14, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Weddings are one of the most stressful and expensive events you can plan, so what happens if couple’s have to call off their wedding?

While it’ll still be hard to inform would-be guests that plans have changed, now their may be some help dealing with the money already shelled out for catering, location,  flower and a host of other traditions. Enter Bridal Brokerage, a company that sells canceled weddings to couples looking to throw their celebrations at a discount. 

Founder Lauren Byrne says she first had the idea for the business years ago, when a friend of hers who was committed to be in a destination wedding found out the wedding had been called off. 

"The wedding had been called off and she'd already bought her plane ticket and her dress, and everything, and was so disappointed and we were just joking around about how great it would be if one of our other engaged friends would just use her wedding," said Byrne on Take Two. "A light bulb went off and I sat on the idea for about three years before I even told anybody about it."

Thanks to help from the University of Virginia business school, where Byrne is a student, she was able to get the initial funding and technical help to get the business off the ground. 

"There's a program there that helps you start your own business instead of taking a traditional internship," said Byrne. "I pitched in a concept competition and did really well and so the school funded me to start it. I didn't take any capitol, and it was a very small budget in the beginning. Very much bootstrapping and Facebook ads and Google ads to get our name out there."

Here's how it works. A bride or groom hoping to sell a wedding can log onto the Bridal Brokerage site and fill out a form with details about their cancelled wedding. People looking to purchase a cancelled wedding package fill out a similar form, asking for information such as location, date, budget, etc. Bridal Brokerage's reps then work to match people looking for wedding packages with those looking to sell. 

"We have weddings that are fully packaged, so you can buy the whole package, or with our new service you're able to go in and see vendors in your area that are ready to give you a discount for the date that you're looking for," said Byrne. "On the vendor side [the discount] can be up to 50 percent. On the wedding side, we have one that's almost 60 percent off."

Byrne says when she started the business, she assumed most of her clients would be people who caught their would-be spouses cheating or who got cold feet after already planning the event. However, she says many clients simply have family members who have become ill or other reasons why they might need to delay the wedding for months or a year. Still, there are people who have to call off a wedding due to the ending of a relationship. 

"We don't get all of the stories, but some of them are pretty hard to hear," said Byrne. "Some people say, 'Well, we'll just get wedding insurance,' but that doesn't actually cover cold feet. If they decide they don't want to go through with it we're happy to be an option."