How to Postpone, Move the Date or Cancel your Wedding

calendarNo bride wants to cancel or postpone her wedding day, especially if all the arrangements have been put into place, but sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, things don’t always go to plan and it has to be done.

Getting married is not something most couples take lightly so changing their wedding date is a major decision.   It is important to be honest with your feelings as it’s a life long commitment for you and your partner, so while you may try to consider your guests and family members, you and your partner are what count at the end of the day.

There are many reasons why dates have to change which can sometimes include:

  • Break down of relationship.
  • Cold feet or lack of commitment from one party.
  • Loss of a job.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Someone becomes sick or is diagnosed with a serious illness.
  • Someone close passes away.
  • The venue closes down or goes bust.
  • Tour of duty if your partner is in the armed forces.
  • Your wedding might clash with another family event and the other party is not prepared to change their date.

Things to Consider before Deciding

You may have all the arrangements in place and paid for so you need to think carefully if this is the right thing to do?  Ask yourself the following;

  • Are you able to change the dates of your honeymoon?  And what about work; are they adaptable with your date changes?  Don’t forget your travel insurance too.
  • Are you giving your guests plenty of notice so they can amend their travel and accommodation details without being out of pocket themselves?  Be prepared for some angry responses but hopefully the majority of your friends and family will understand.
  • Be prepared to have a lower number of guests as some may not be able to make your new date, or choose not to attend.
  • Can you afford the extra cost that comes with a date change or even the loss of your deposits?
  • Have you sent out the invites and perhaps received the RSVP's already?  If so, you will need to consider sending out an official postponement/cancellation note.
  • If a loved one has died, would they have wanted you to change the date?  Perhaps a scaled down occasion would be more appropriate?
  • If you have already received wedding gifts, it might be appropriate to return them?
  • Are your venue and caterer both available on the replacement date you pick and will the price stay the same?
  • Is your wedding dress being specially made, on order or have you purchased it already?  Will the wedding shop keep hold of it until you need it?  Will they wait to make the dress until you are ready?
  • Understand that you may have some requests to reimburse costs already paid out, even from some angry family members.
  • Will you have enough time to reorganise things if you bring your date forward due to pregnancy?

In an ideal world, you should receive an understanding response from the companies you are contacting about the changes, but not everyone can empathise with your situation so you should be prepared for this.

Once your Decision is Made

tell peopleAs a matter of urgency and respect you should inform people immediately.  You will need to make arrangements with your venue provider, the church, the caterer and everyone else involved in your day, not forgetting your honeymoon plans.  Depending on the circumstances, a provider may have a cancellation or postponement policy in place that allows you to change your date at no extra cost. 

Remember to ask your family and friends to help you out in these difficult circumstances.  A parent may be willing to phone people on your behalf.  Out of courtesy, you should contact all your providers directly by phone and then confirm in writing.

Don’t forget:

  • If invites have gone out, and you already have a new date in mind, reissue them.
  • If invites have not been sent but people are aware of your original date, perhaps a few phone calls would be appropriate before sending them out.
  • If it is very close to the day you should call everyone personally.
  • If you are postponing until further notice, an announcement note, perhaps using the same wording as your original invite but adding that it will be postponed should be sent.

You can find a lot of information online as to the wording you should use for your new invites.

People will of course want to know the reasons why you are changing your date and it is a personal preference as to whether you want to let me them know or not.  Do not be bullied out of guilt into telling people private information that you might not want to share.

Parents of the Bride and Groom

If you are the parent of someone who is in the process of changing their wedding date for whatever reason, while you may feel some annoyance at money lost or change of plans, you must remember that this was a hard decision for them to make.  You will need to keep your opinions to yourself and try not to rebuke them in any way.  Listen to them when they need you to and perhaps offer to help them with the cancellations and informing the other family members.

Whether you are moving or cancelling your wedding date, talk it over thoroughly, do the research confirming that you can amend the date successfully and once you have made your very hard decision and you are happy with your new date, stick to your guns.