How to Deal with Calling Off a Wedding

How to Deal with Calling Off a Wedding
Worthy Staff

By Worthy Staff | Dec 19th, 2017

There are many reasons for calling off a wedding: Perhaps one of you has had a change of heart; perhaps someone has been unfaithful. While every situation has its own nuances, almost all involve a great deal of heartache, making the practical aspects of calling off a wedding even more challenging.

Cancel or Delay? The First Decision

If you and your fiancé believe that you’re simply suffering from a case of cold feet and you think that you can work things out, it may be beneficial to postpone your wedding. You don’t have to choose a new date until you are ready, and you can cancel later if you decide that it’s best.

How to Call Off a Wedding: Basic Etiquette

Calling off a wedding – especially at the last minute, after invitations have been sent – is emotionally challenging for everyone involved. The etiquette for canceling a wedding is basic:

Mr. and Mrs. David Smith
announce that the marriage between their daughter Anna Elizabeth and James Taylor will not take place.

Notify all guests that the wedding will not take place
calling off a wedding - What About the Engagement Ring?

What About the Engagement Ring?

The disposition of the engagement ring is among the first and most important subjects to address when a fiancé calls off wedding plans. Because every situation is different and legal requirements vary from one place to the next, be sure that you double-check before deciding who gets the ring. In general, though, the following rules apply:

Canceling Tracanceledgements when Calling off a Wedding

Travel arrangements can often be canceled so long as there is a waiver in place, however all situations are different and depend greatly upon the original booking terms. The further in advance the cancellation, the more money you are likely to recoup. In some cases, you and/or your guests may be able to receive credit to use toward a different trip.

calling off wedding - Returning a Wedding Dress

Returning a Wedding Dress

Because of the personal nature of alterations and fittings, you may not be able to return your wedding dress if the ceremony is canceled. If it’s early on and you have not yet had alterations made, it’s possible that the dress shop will provide at least a partial refund, and in most cases, you will be able to put your dress up for sale in the consignment section.

Dealing with the Emotional Aspects of Calling Off a Wedding

It’s natural for people to have questions about what happened, but that doesn’t mean that you have to relive the heartache over and over as you explain the details. Share as much as you’re comfortable with, but don’t allow others to pressure you into providing details that you’d rather keep to yourself.

If you are calling off a wedding just a few days before it is to take place and you have already paid non-refundable fees for venues, food, and other essentials, consider throwing a party anyway. Many of your guests will be happy to join you, and you’ll be able to enjoy a quick reunion. Calling off a wedding is one of life’s toughest challenges, and being surrounded by friends and loved ones can soften the blow.

Lastly, do not worry about what others think, and be sure to plan for counseling if you’d like to share your feelings with an impartial third party who can help you deal with painful emotions in a healthy way.

Knowing the etiquette will lighten the burden of canceling a wedding. From notifying guests to returning the dress, here's all you need to know.

Worthy Staff

Worthy Staff

The Worthy Blog is a place for inspiration, insight, and advice for all things surrounding life's greatest transitions - divorce, losing a loved one, retirement, and so much more. You can find us on our blog, Instagram, and Facebook.


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