I recently shot a wedding for a couple I fell in love with during their engagement session...they had hired & booked another company for the wedding and had engagement images done but were unhappy and came to me on referral. Despite the fact that their wedding day was the same day as my own planned nuptials I agreed to shoot their wedding as my fiancé and I were already considering eloping instead anyhow. Anyways... the wedding was super fun but came with a few incidents that began at 10pm when I was setting up for Crazy Booth with my assistant...the drunk guests kept reaching over our "blocked" off 12x12 area and taking prop items and running off to the dance floor with them...after having to collect items numerous times the guests then began entering the area we had blocked off in order to set up the lighting and props. Several guest were using props, making their pose and asking other guess to use their own camera's to take their images. (breech of contract) After very calmly explaining to them for the second time that we were trying to get it started and they needed to wait outside of the area for 10 minutes until invited in. (One male guest commented "bitchy bitchy" behind my back after leaving the area - another breech) I then turned my back to the dance floor housing 80% of the guests and crouched down setting my camera at my feet and began passing items to my assistant to hang on racks. At this time one of the same guests asked to leave 2 minutes earlier stepped through the small opening in between me and the wall landing directly on the front half of my 3 day old Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. It took me almost TWO years to save for this lens...despite his 300lb 6ft frame I wanted to hurt him... I could take no more and spoke directly with the bride and groom who were outraged at their guests disrespect and behaviour...they were very apologetic, sympathetic and spoke directly with the "offenders", all was not perfect afterwards, but independently manageable. I did not have a ex-claimer in the my wedding contract for equipment damage ( I do now) That being said they continuously apologized throughout the remainder of the evening (10pm - 2am) and to my great relief; shortly after the lens being broken the groom approached me and said he would pay to replace the lens; that being said he also had enjoyed quite a few drinks himself so the sincerity/true intent of the offer I am unsure of...they have emailed me a few times while on their honeymoon (they will be returning tomorrow), apologizing and thanking me for doing such a good job, staying despite everything that happened but no mention about the lens since that night (2 weeks ago) Deciding that I would exhaust all other options to replace the lens first rather than possibly causing tension between myself and my clients I proceeded to inquire/make a claim with my insurance company to no avail. I have itemized contents insurance and liability...the lens being only a few days old had not been registered, filed and approved for singular coverage so my claim was denied. I am looking for opinions on how to proceed from here...this is my full time business, I work long long hours as this is my only income to support my household of 7 so this kind of money was not easily saved, nor can funds just be obtained to just buy a new one. I am not even sure how I should approach/word an email or conversation with the clients to take them up on the offer if that is the route I decide to go... What do you think, thanks in advance for your time!