Wedding Cancellation Etiquette And Logistics
Wedding Cancellation Etiquette And Logistics
Tiffany Cannis (Wedding Coordinator) gives expert video advice on: How late is 'too late' to call off a wedding?; Who should I have help me with the details of canceling my wedding plans?; Should I assign one person to represent me in canceling the wedding, or can I ask a lot of people for help? and more...
How late is 'too late' to call off a wedding?
Definitely don't call off the wedding right before the ceremony starts. Don't be in the dress, in the tux, and say I'm not ready for this. Give yourself a reality check ,and maybe that reality check happens a week before the wedding as people are coming into town, and maybe that reality check happens a month, six months ahead of time. It's never too late. You haven't signed the paper work, you're not officially married, but it's a lot easier, and you'll save yourself a lot of money the sooner you do it.
Who should I have help me with the details of canceling my wedding plans?
Whoever you feel most comfortable with. I think most clients would feel most comfortable with a parent, just because parents have a lot more experience dealing with contracts and with things like large sums of money, and often parents are the ones who are paying for the wedding. But definitely a close, you know, your closest friend; maybe your maid of honor; your best man; a sibling; a relative; whoever it is that you really feel the most comfortable with. That person is going to need to do a lot of things to cancel the wedding; and it needs to be someone that is very detail-oriented, and also someone that you know is very confidential, because realistically, you don't want to explain why you're canceling. And you want people to know that it's none of their business, and you want someone who can be really respectful and tactful to get the job done.
Should I assign one person to represent me in canceling the wedding, or can I ask a lot of people for help?
It depends on how close you are to the wedding. If you are a month out, you basically in a day need to contact everyone. Because people have to cancel their flights, all vendors need to be contacted and cancelled and so realistically if you are six months out probably one person could do that. If you are not six months out, if you are a month or closer i would say you need to get as many people as you can without opening the window of gossip. And we all know we can't miss the gossip. So be careful.
What's the most gracious way to let our guests know that our wedding has been cancelled?
The most gracious way is for someone who is a family member or a close friend that the people will know; for them to call and give that verbal, "We're sorry but the couple is canceling their wedding and we would like to know obviously if we can help financially of plane tickets that cannot be cancelable", and things like that because everyone books on Expedia and these search engines and unfortunately a lot of these you cannot cancel and you also can't get a refund, you can't do anything so if you have someone coming out of country, if you have someone who has invested quite a bit of money, it is appropriate if you have the financing to say "How can I help? How can I help lift that burden since it is something that we're canceling?"
What explanation should I give as to why I'm calling off my wedding?
If you decide to call off your wedding, there's no explanation that's needed. And it's actually not etiquette to give an explanation. You don't want to start gossip, you don't want people to know any personals of your life, just like if you have a breakup. You know, basically the most gracious way is to say it was a mutual decision, and we have decided that we're not ready to get married at this time. And, who knows, maybe we'll be together, maybe we'll get married later on, maybe we won't.
Can I call off my wedding even if my fiance's parents are paying for the event?
That's probably the biggest question that I get. I've only had a couple of clients cancel or decide to call off their wedding or postpone. And they were really concerned if they were not the ones paying for it. If it's their parents, if their fiancé's parents, definitely. You know it's better to call of a wedding than to get married and get divorced and then really truly do more emotional harm to both parties and both families.
What if my friends and family can't get refunds for their plane tickets and hotel rooms?
If friends and family can't get refunds for their plane tickets and hotels, it's completely appropriate, if it is in your financial means, to offer some form of compensation to them. Also, if they can't, I've found in my experience that during that weekend that was supposed to be your wedding, you may want them in town anyway. So maybe you're not having a wedding, but maybe you're having a nice little reunion, and you don't have it at the same place the wedding would have been, but maybe you open your home to those guests. You have the people surrounding you so that on that weekend, you're not crying yourself into a tub of ice cream.
What if people show up, even though I've called off the wedding?
Realistically that's not going to happen. If you have called off the wedding and you've done it in a proper form and with the right appropriate accommodations; letting hotels know, definitely changing your wedding website. I know that a lot of couples now have wedding websites. Definitely put a nice note on there about what has happened, sending out notes to your guests and then also the phone calls, you shouldn't have anyone that will show up. Word of mouth is pretty amazing.
What should I tell my guests if I cancel a destination wedding?
If you decide that you're cancelling a wedding and all of your guests have purchased plane tickets to Hawaii, encourage them to go. Encourage them to use it as a vacation and definitely try to take off the stigma of "this was going to be my wedding weekend, but now you're just having a nice vacation." It's definitely fine, especially if you can't cancel it - you've probably already will have taken the time off work, you've probably already booked a babysitter, gotten your dog kenneled, whatever it is that is going to be done. So, enjoy the trip!