Oh my, we called off the wedding, now what? While this is a touchy subject and can be considered a “taboo” topic as you can imagine, it is a subject that needs to be addressed. There are multiple tasks to take care of after calling off the wedding. However, before diving into the tips and steps you will need to take, first, I’m genuinely sorry you are in this position. While you may be feeling overwhelmed, heartbroken, or even ashamed, be proud of your discernment in making this decision before additional heartache down the road.

Here are some questions often asked during this circumstance, and hopefully, they can help you navigate this situation:

How do you get the word out, and what do you say?

  • Simply let guests know that the wedding is canceled. Leave out lengthy explanations, weddings are canceled for multiple reasons, and you don’t have to justify yourself to your guests. How do you get the word out? If invitations have already been sent out, and time does not permit you to send out a mail cancellation card, elect a few close family members to call each guest. If invitations have not been sent out, mail out a cancellation card. Here is an example from The Knot on what information to include: “Mr. and Mrs. Scott Dixon announce that the marriage of their daughter Barbara Marie to Howard Franklin will not take place.

What do you do with the gifts already received?

  • Etiquette in these situations calls to return all gifts received from engagement parties, bridal showers, or earlier wedding presents. Monogrammed personalized gifts also need to be returned. Be sure to add a thank you note, thanking them for their kindness.

How to recover refunds on deposits?

  • Vendor refunds on deposits will be dependent on how close the cancellation is to the wedding date, and how binding your contract is. Refunds depend on the vendor, but many vendors are willing to be accommodating if it doesn’t hurt their business. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to this question, other than contacting each vendor and reviewing their refund policy.

Who gets the engagement ring?

  • This is a tricky situation, and each circumstance is different. Regardless of who called off the wedding, if the ring is a family heirloom, the ring should be returned to the family. While, once again, each circumstance is different, therefore, the answer may not be cut and dry. However, if the bride calls off the wedding, she should return the ring to the groom, and if the groom calls off the wedding, then the bride can keep the ring.

Canceled weddings don’t happen often, but the reality is that they do happen. Recently, a close friend canceled their wedding, and while, yes, it was overwhelming, the peace she felt afterward left her with no regrets. Hopefully, these answers help you during this time and make a smoother and more bearable process.

Resources: The Knot, Lovistics