Wedding Etiquette: How To Cancel a Wedding

For the small number of couples faced with the decision to cancel their wedding, sharing the news is never easy. Some cancellations are the result of a painful experience like that of a major betrayal of trust, and others may be the result of a spontaneous elopement to escape a highly pressurized wedding planning experience. Regardless of the reason, the following wedding etiquette tips are broken into steps to help you work through the task of notifying others of your decision. Learn how to cancel a wedding tactfully and efficiently.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”630″] • Step #1 Notify your families and wedding party. [/sws_grey_box]

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With your big girl stilettos firmly planted on your feet, it is important that you not delay in sharing your decision with your immediate family and members of your wedding party. As the people closest to you, they should receive the courtesy of the first notification. Wedding etiquette suggests that whenever possible, the news should be delivered in person. Be prepared for questions, and know in advance how much you are willing to disclose if the details are very personal in nature. Ask them to support and respect your decision, and not share the news with anyone until you are ready for them to. Anticipate that they will be approached by those with “inquiring minds” once word of the cancellation gets out, so agree ahead of time on how you want them to respond. The groom should be responsible for communicating the decision to his immediate family and his groomsmen.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”630″] • Step #2 Notify your vendors. [/sws_grey_box]

It is important to practice proper wedding etiquette and phone each vendor directly to share your decision to cancel your wedding. A vendor qualifies as anyone that is providing a product or service for your wedding. If a signed formal agreement exists between you and the vendor, you should familiarize yourself with the cancellation policy and not expect to receive a refund of any monies spent. For persons who offered to provide a service as a gift, you should extend the courtesy of a phone call to them also.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”630″]• Step #3 Notify your guests. [/sws_grey_box]

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How you choose to notify guests about the cancellation depends heavily on whether or not invitations have been mailed. If invitations have already gone out and time permits, wedding etiquette suggests that a phone call is much more personal. If you choose to take this approach, it is okay to enlist help from your family and wedding party. If invitations have not gone out, but guests are aware of the upcoming wedding date, mail a formal printed card letting them know the wedding won’t take place. Be sure to keep track of everyone that has been contacted to ensure the notification is shared with all guests. All gifts received for your engagement, wedding, shower, including monetary gifts should be returned along with a note thanking them for the gift to show your appreciation for their gesture of kindness.

It takes a great deal of courage to make a decision to cancel ones wedding. But with the support from family and friends, you can overcome the pain of the experience. For wedding etiquette advice on this and other topics, send email to Thank you for joining me. Until next time, take care.

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