How to Cancel a Wedding

Posted by Gillian Burgess on 23rd Feb 2024

I feel that I should warn you that this isn't the most romantic topic when it comes to wedding planning. When you're looking for matching wedding rings and shopping for the perfect place to get married with your future spouse, you don't want to think about the possibility that you might cancel or postpone your wedding, but the fact is that 250,000 weddings a year do get called off. 

There are many reasons for canceling a wedding -- a family crisis, illness, military deployment, scheduling conflict or change of heart, to name a few -- and it is never a fun or easy decision to make. Keeping this information in mind could save you or someone you love a little bit of heartache in the future. 

Tips for Canceling a Wedding

1. Friends and Family

If you have decided to cancel your wedding, you should inform all of your guests as soon as possible. Tell your close friends and family members in person or over the phone first so they don't hear it through the grapevine, then go through the rest of the list. If you don't feel up to this task all on your own, ask for help from your sister, your father, your best friend. People will want to help. If you have enough time, send a simple printed card that tells guests the wedding is no longer happening. You do not have to explain your reasons for cancellation. 

2. Vendors

Contact each of your vendors individually to cancel the arrangements you made. You will probably lose your deposit, but depending on how far in advance it is before the wedding date, you may be able to avoid paying the whole balance. If you have wedding insurance, call the company and see what your coverage will pay for your particular circumstances. If you are stuck with a list of nonrefundable arrangements, you can also try to sell them to other couples on the website and recover a large percentage of your costs.  

3. The Gifts

Cancel any wedding registries you have created, and take an inventory of the shower or wedding gifts you have already received. Return each gift with a personal thank you note. 

4. The Ring

Decide what to do with the engagement ring. If it is a family heirloom, you should return it regardless of whose idea it was to cancel the wedding. Technically, if the receiver of the ring called off the wedding, she should return it, and if the giver called it off, the receiver can decide whether to keep it or sell it. However, you should decide what is right for your situation and will cause the least pain for all people involved. Many companies like ours offer free returns within 30 days which can come in use in such a scenario.

5. The Wedding Party

Talk to the people in your wedding party. If your bridesmaids and groomsmen have already bought their clothes for the wedding, bought airline tickets or booked nonrefundable hotel rooms, you should reimburse them for their expenses.

Do you have any advice for how to cancel a wedding? Share them in the comments!

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