The Wrong Way to Call Off Your Wedding

Sometimes it’s not cold feet. Sometimes love isn’t enough. It’s better late than never. If your wedding is just around the corner and you already have a laundry list of reservations, it might be time to rethink the whole thing, cut the cliché©s and be a little selfish. Really, it’s time to think about what’s right for you.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to call off a wedding. Here’s the wrong way: 

Breaking it to him

Don’t show up to the wedding. Or better yet, show up late in your dress and say, “It’s not you, it’s me,” and “This will make a hilarious story some day,” in front of a large crowd of mutual friends and family. Then grab the best man, jump in the ‘Just Married’ limo and jet off to your honeymoon destination.

The right way:

Tell your fiancé© privately and as soon as you’ve made the decision. Think things through and be able to explain your reasoning in a transparently honest and kind way. Be sincere, wish him the best and above all, stand your ground. Don’t let him talk you back into something you’re sure you don’t want to do.  

Telling people

Don’t tell any of your guests—that way you still get all the registry gifts. For years to come, whenever you run into those people pretend your still married. Remember, the salad bowl is worth the lies.

The right way:

Tell everyone on the guest list as soon as the cancellation is official. We’re talking within 48-hours, giving everyone enough time to cancel their travel arrangements. Even tell the people who RSVP’d no in case they planned on sending a gift. It seems like a waste of money, but if invitations were sent out the appropriate thing to do is mail a cancellation card with one or two lines explaining your wedding isn’t happening. If anyone asks for reasons (which they will), stay polite and vague. The classier you are the faster it will all blow over.

Talking logistics

Don’t cancel anything, just invite your own friends and make it a celebration to singleness. So what if his credit card is still on file, you’ll work it out later.

The right way:

It’s not easy to cancel everything you’ve been tediously working months to set up. But you don’t have to do it alone—that’s what friends are for. Open up your wedding organizer and work backwards, calling each of your service providers and asking about their cancellation policies. You might loose some deposits, but you can usually get most of your money back. Sit down with your ex and decide on a fair way to divvy up the remaining costs and any possessions you share.

Take a day to box up and return all your engagement gifts. The good thing is you probably haven’t taken anything out of its box, so it won’t be too hard. If you’ve opened anything and it isn’t in returning condition, the conventional thing to do is buy a replacement and send off the new one. And if the wedding dress is already made and tailored you can try to sell it or have it dyed another colour and turned into an evening gown.

What about the ring?

Take it off and lose it in a drawer somewhere. 

The right way:

Emily Post, American etiquette author writes, “the engagement ring and all other gifts of value must be returned.” However, it may be more about law than manners. In Canada, there are three precedents:

1.     An engagement ring is a conditional gift and its return is based on who backed out first. If it was the giver, the receiver keeps the ring, but if it was the receiver the ring is returned to the giver.

2.     The engagement ring is an unconditional gift, which cannot be undone. It is always the property of the receiver.

3.     The engagement ring represents a promise of marriage. If no marriage takes place, each party returns to pre-contract position i.e. it goes back to the giver.

Hopefully you won’t need to involve lawyers, but it’s important to know your options. Bring it up with your ex and decide what to do together.

All jokes aside, the only thing worse than cancelling your wedding is marrying the worst person. Whatever you decide make sure to communicate and clearly divide the responsibility. 

Tags: break up, Call Off Your Wedding, Cancel, cancellation, weddings

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