How to Call Off a Wedding


You have spent months planning every perfect detail of your wedding day. You found the perfect location, the dress, the rings and have your fantasy honeymoon booked. But, what happens when the wedding gets canceled?

It isn’t a scenario anyone wants to think of, but going through with a wedding when you have cold feet could result in a more unhappy marriage in the future. Based on a UCLA study, most couples that reported having cold feet prior to the wedding admitted to feeling unhappy with their marriage late. Unfortunately, it is not the easiest issue to address the canceling. Here we list some ways you can approach calling off a wedding in the most considerate and responsible way possible.

How to Call Off a Wedding

If you really feel that going through with a wedding is not the right choice, then you need to forget what everyone will think and face it. It will not be an easy decision, and below is what you should do for it.

Inform Everyone

The first thing you will want to do is to let everyone who has been invited to the wedding know it is canceled. If you have not sent out invitation, you can send out a notification that is similar to the announcement:

Mr. and Mrs. (Bride’s Parents) announces that the union/marriage between (Bride Name) and (Groom’s Name) has been canceled.

Unfortunately, if the invitations have already been sent and the intended wedding date is too close to send out a written announcement, then your guest need to be called directly. Most often, it is not the bride or groom who will be making these phone calls since it can be a traumatic task for them, so family and friends should volunteer to do it. Maid of honors or the best man will probably be the first persons to take on this responsibility.


Do Not Need to Explain the Reason

You do not need to give an explanation or any other details for calling off a wedding, it just needs to let everyone know about the fact. You might be asked a hundred questions as to why the wedding has been called off and this is going to be exhausting as well as emotionally draining. Until you are ready to talk about all the details and reasoning for calling off the wedding, simply let them know you appreciate their concerns, you are fine and will talk with them when you are ready to.


Do Not Delay Telling Others

It can be a confusing and incredibly difficult decision to decide whether calling off the wedding is the best choice or not, but you need to start telling people as soon as possible if you do make the decision. If you and your fiance are going back and forth, it may be the best decision to postpone the wedding instead of waiting last minute to cancel the whole day. You do not want to put your guest in a situation where they have spent money on plane tickets, hotel rooms or gifts that they may not be able to get a refund on.


Canceling the Wedding Preparations

  • The ring. The best way to handle the engagement rings is to return it to the person who gave it, especially if you know it is a family heirloom. However, if the person calling off the wedding is the one who gave it, the person who received the ring may decide to keep it or sell it. If the ring was a joint purchase, then you should decide as a couple what to do with the engagement rings as you would with any of your other joint property.

  • The dress. Calling off a wedding will also mean canceling the beautiful wedding dress. This may not be an option since most wedding dresses are specially order and made for you and your measurements. Contact the dressmaker and ask what options you have. Some can stop any further work on your dress and be able to refund you some of your money. But, if it is too late to cancel your dress preparation, you still have other options. Most brides have been able to sell their dresses on eBay, donate them to charity or have them completely to wear to parties.

  • Wedding gifts. It is proper etiquette to return all gifts that have been received in regards to the wedding. This includes engagement gifts, bridal shower gifts and other early wedding gifts. Return the gifts to the person with a thank you note. If you have already begun using some of the gifts, then it is better to keep them. All other unopened items, even the monogrammed gifts, should be returned.

  • Honeymoon arrangements. Honeymoon arrangements may be difficult to cancel and recoup any of the payments already made, so you will need to review the cancellation policy for the airline, cruise and other arrangements you made. You may think that the trip insurance you purchased will cover you if you cancel the wedding, but it only applies to illnesses or natural disasters. It is best to cancel you honeymoon arrangements as soon as possible because this can increase your chances of getting any kind of refund.


Deposits and Refund Policies

Prior to signing any contracts with vendors you should have reviewed the cancellation policy. Most contracts will include a refund policy that allows you to get a refund on your deposit or a percentage of it if they are contacted by a certain date. As the wedding date draws closer, you will be able to get less of a refund, since the vendors or location will not be able to be re-booked in time, causing a loss for them. Contact your photographer, caterer, locations and florist and inform them that you are calling off a wedding as soon as possible.