Wedding Cancellations: What To Do?

Things to be aware of when it comes to cancelling your wedding

Advice when it comes to the unfortunate circumstance of having to cancel a wedding

Advice on Cancelling a Wedding

Booking your wedding should be one of the most exciting parts of your wedding planning, but if further down the line, for one reason or another, you end up having to cancel your wedding, you really need to consider your options. 

Upon signing a contract with your wedding venue or any wedding supplier, you should always read the terms and conditions in great detail, so that you’re fully aware of the consequences should you happen to cancel in the future. 

Cancelling your Wedding: Things to be Aware of

When you book your wedding, you’ll more than likely enter into a contract with the hotel, wedding venue or location that you’re booking. You are reserving a date in their diary that they cannot sell to any other couple. Most venues (exclusive use venues in particular) have a fixed number of dates that they can sell in a year and that they can use to generate revenues to cover their costs, keep up and running and so on. (And yes, if you’re wondering, this does sound “businessy” and not “weddingy” or “fluffy” – but do try to remember that all the suppliers involved with your wedding ARE doing it as a business. They’re not charities – yes they are involved with making your day incredibly special, but it still has to make ends meet!). This means that, if you block out one of those dates for any period of time and then want to cancel, you may be asking to give them back something that’s past its sell-by date. Lots of wedding suppliers have long lead-times for bookings (you booked ahead of time, didn't you?!) so by the time you decide to cancel it may be too late for them to reasonably re-book the date. They may have turned away other couples looking for that date who will now have found alternatives and, if they have and the supplier cannot re-book, your cancellation will represent a direct cost to their business. It is only fair that they protect themselves from such events and so most suppliers who can only do one event per day will have quite high cancellation charges written into their contracts.

We thus strongly advise reading the small print when it comes to signing any sort of contract or document, whether it be with your wedding venue or wedding supplier that you are exchanging money with.  Cancelling your wedding, even if you’ve only paid a small deposit up front, could result in you paying a big portion of the entire cost of your wedding, even if you don’t actually go ahead with it. 

We also strongly advise taking out wedding insurance – this will cover cancellation charges in most cases (although of course you won’t be covered if you just decide not to go ahead – so make sure you’re sure!).

If you do unfortunately end up cancelling your wedding, you should be aware that it may not be easy to re-sell and you may still end up owing a hefty fee regardless. You will probably not be able to ‘offer’ your wedding to anyone else, as the contract between you and the supplier may not be transferable. You should be able to read all of these details within your original contract – however, if they are not there, it would be worth asking the venue or supplier what their terms and conditions are regarding the re-sale of your wedding date, should you happen to cancel. 

Why Might You Need to Cancel Your Wedding? 

In an ideal world none of us would dream that we’d have to cancel a wedding once we’ve booked it, but in reality, sometimes it does happen.  Below are a list of reasons why you could end up having to cancel your wedding in the future: 

•    An unfortunate break up
•    The death of a family member 
•    Financial difficulties 
•    Loss of a job
•    Sickness
•    A surprise pregnancy 
•    A family fall out 

Cancelling your Wedding: Our Recommendations 

No one likes to talk about the cancellation of a wedding, but from time to time it does happen. In order for you to be fully prepared for the unexpected, we’ve listed a number of our personal recommendations for you below. 

•    We would highly recommend buying wedding insurance as soon as you plan on exchanging money with a wedding venue or any wedding suppliers; this could also include the purchase of the engagement ring! Not every wedding cancellation will be covered by insurance, but having it as a back up is a very good idea. 

•    Before you sign any paper work, speak to your wedding venue or wedding supplier and make sure that you’re fully aware, as a couple, of the consequences that a cancelled wedding could bring.

•    If you find yourselves needing to cancel your wedding, speak to the wedding venue or suppliers first, so that you know where you’re at in terms of financing and how much you could potentially owe if you were to cancel.  Then, talk about your options. If you are cancelling for financial reasons, could you create a payment plan to enable you to spread the cost? If you were borrowing or were promised the money to pay for your wedding from a family member who is now not able to give you that money, consider speaking to your bank about a loan or see if there is an alternative way to borrow the money to keep your wedding date secure. 

•    We would not advise going on to a website or forum to promote the re-sale of your cancelled wedding. Your wedding supplier may not allow the transfer of the contract (airlines don’t!) and the cost that you might have paid for your wedding may not be the same budget that another couple have in mind for the same date. Advertising the sale of your own cancelled wedding could result in a lot of stress, frustration and potential embarrassment when both parties are concerned, not to mention the communication issues that this could potentially cause with your wedding venue or supplier.  

•    Your wedding venue or supplier are the best people to speak to when it comes to cancelling your wedding date as they will have the experience in how to handle it.  In most cases they venue or supplier will refer to the original contract and do their best to advise where they can in supporting your decision. 

In conclusion, we hope you don’t ever have to cancel your wedding date, but if you do, be sure to speak to your wedding venue or supplier as soon as you know, so that between you, you can figure out the best way to go about cancelling your wedding in a professional and courteous manner.