Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Yikes! Call Off the Wedding!!

Seldom ever is this something that I have had to deal with since I began performing wedding ceremonies, however, on occasion, it does happen. Unfortunately, sometimes weddings are called off. The bride and groom must effectively do damage control.

I once had a bride and groom call me, was excited about my romantic wedding ceremony, made an appointment to review the ceremony and make edits, set the date and paid a deposit. What happened next. NOTHING!

CancelledWeddingI never heard from them again. As time got closer to their wedding day, I called, sent e-mail and waited… nothing. No communication whatsoever. I called the venue, the disc jockey and the photographer and not one had heard a word from them. On the advice of my attorney, I sent a registered letter letting them know that if I didn’t hear from them within 10 days, the would lose their deposit and I would sell the date to someone else. They signed for the letter, but I heard not a word from them.

I can only guess that they either broke up or decided not to get married. Based on where the wedding venue was, they lost a bundle of money by forfeiting their deposits.

There is a better way! This kind of situation should be handled with respect and grace.

Although breaking an engagement or delaying a wedding is a difficult thing to do, it is less painful to call off the wedding now than it is to file for divorce later on. My best advice: First, Let your wedding vendors know what’s going on. Next, let your guests know as soon as possible. It may be embarrassing, however, most vendors will work with you. Some “may” return a portion of the deposit, others may not. How much you may receive will depend on how close the date of the wedding is when you cancelled the arrangements. Although the couple I mentioned above forfeited their deposit with me because of zero communication, if I would have been able to sell the date to someone else, we perhaps could have negotiated something.

Depending on the size, complexity, and date of your wedding plans, canceling the bookings for the arrangements you made may be overwhelming both emotionally and financially, but family and friends can help you through the process. At least let everyone know. You are not obligated to share the details or your reasons, however, common courtesy says… communicate. If asked, you could answer in any polite way (i.e: “Yes, we have decided the time was not right,” or “It’s true, and I’m rather uncomfortable talking about it right now.”)

If the wedding is simply postponed, include the new date and any new information. If the wedding is off indefinitely, indicate that as well.

If the invitations have already gone out and/or there’s no time to get a written explanation to guests, someone needs to call everyone on the guest list and let them know that the wedding will not take place. Obviously the bride and groom may be too traumatized to take care of this; parents, siblings, attendants, or other friends and family members should help out.

In case of a broken engagement, wedding insurance will not help. Insurance companies will only cover situations such as a death in the family, illness, a natural disaster, or severe weather conditions.

Everything happens for a reason. That may be a bitter pill to swallow in the middle of a break up, but I would recommend that you think ahead what might happen if you go through with the marriage and end up with a divorce. After tallying the costs of lost deposits and the other costs associated with simply planning a wedding, it’s still cheaper to suck it up now than pay for a divorce later. When in doubt… don’t! If it doesn’t feel right you may be better off waiting or calling everything off.

Some advice from “When the decision is made to call-off your wedding, all the feelings that go along with a break-up can be intensified by shame and embarrassment. These feelings can complicate the healing process. There is no exact science to dealing with a loss, but most experts agree that grief is an individual experience that can vary in duration and intensity. Loss entails good days and bad days, often without much rhyme or reason. Grief also involves a multitude of emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, loneliness and even relief. Accepting your needs and your feelings as you grieve is an important first step on the road to healing.”

BONUS Articles: What to Do After You Cancel Your Wedding
Calling Off the Wedding – How to Survive a Broken Engagement
Coping with a Cancelled Wedding
Calling it Off: Etiquette Q & A


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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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