Authored by: Jim Emerson
July 25, 2018

I can’t remember a year when so many couples have decided to end their relationship, and cancel their wedding. They’ve already begun celebrating with family and friends, receiving gifts, choosing vendors, and finalizing a honeymoon destination. They’re months into planning the biggest celebration of their lives and they are confronted with the reality that they aren’t in love anymore. Now what?

I won’t try to sugar-coat the situation with words like, “Your family and friends will be totally supportive and understanding”, or “It’s what you’ve got to do, if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life married to the wrong person”. It’s going to be emotionally challenging, no doubt about it. I commend you for taking the difficult step to cancel your wedding knowing that s/he is not your soulmate, but deep down inside you know that going ahead with the wedding isn’t the right thing to do. So, here are some steps to take if you have decided to cancel your wedding.

Announce your decision to your families and those involved in the wedding immediately (the wedding party, readers, grandparents, siblings, etc). Meet face-to-face, together if possible, with the both sets of parents. Details are not necessary, but it is important to reach out expressing your disappointment that things didn’t work out. If it’s not possible to meet or speak with both sets of parents, for whatever reason, it’s appropriate to write them a heartfelt letter, not an email, thanking them for their support and love.

Tell all your invited guests as soon as possible of your decision, especially those who have made travel plans or placed deposits on accommodations. If your date is close at hand, a phone call might be required to ensure all guests received the message. If you haven’t sent out invitations or any other correspondence (including a Save-the-Date announcement) there is no need to spread the word in any formal way. However, if wedding invitations were sent by mail, email is not appropriate notice and a hand-written note should be sent.

Contact your vendors and let them know, in writing, that you’re cancelling your wedding. Review each vendors’ cancellation policy regarding your deposit. Generally, deposits are non-refundable, but there may be room for flexibility depending on the timing of your cancellation and the circumstances. Most wedding vendors and travel agents will try to be as accommodating as possible but be prepared for the worst. If you are only weeks away from your scheduled celebration, it’s safe to assume that you will not receive a refund – from any vendor.

If you have already paid in full, and there is little chance of a partial refund or credit, ask about using the deposits for another event.

Return all engagement, shower and wedding gifts to the guests who sent them.  Include a note announcing the cancellation of your engagement and wedding ceremony and thank them for their kindness. Return them sooner than later, as your guests may be able to return the gift they sent to you. Besides you don’t want reminders  of a wedding that didn’t happen.

Statistics show that 13% of couples cancel their engagement. So, you aren’t the first to cancel a wedding, and you won’t be the last. After the embarrassment, self-doubt, tears and emotional pain has passed, you will look back in relief on your decision not to spend your life married to the wrong person.

About the Author: Jim Emerson

Jim has helped over 1,100 couples reduce the stress of creating their personal and unique wedding ceremony. He is a husband, father, friend, author, triathlete, handyman, teacher and passionate about his family and work. Jim can help you imagine, create and celebrate your dream wedding ceremony. Contact him today, he’d love to hear from you.