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Postponing or Canceling a Wedding

How to Properly Tell Guests You Need to Postpone or Cancel Your Wedding


Pearl Bouquet
Phillip Norman Photography / Moment / Getty Images
There are many reasons a couple may decide to postpone or cancel a wedding- none of them are happy or easy. But once you have made that decision, how should you tell your guests, and what happens to all the gifts?

Etiquette when you postpone your wedding

When a situation arises that causes you to postpone your wedding, you should make every effort to let your guests know as soon as possible. Many of them may need to cancel travel arrangements, which often have deadlines for refunds. Others will simply appreciate being kept informed. It is appropriate to concisely explain why the wedding is being postponed, such as "due to the Bride's illness" or "due to a death in the family."

Notifying Family and Friends

If the wedding has not yet been formally announced, you can simply tell your closest friends and family that you are postponing your wedding, who will then notify anyone else who asks.

If invitations have not yet gone out, yet many guests already know of your original wedding date, send out a simple printed card, reading along the lines of:

Due to a family illness, the wedding of Anne Scott to Kamau Thomas will not take place on October 14 as originally planned. A new wedding date will be announced as soon as possible.

Or, if you already know the new date:

Mr. and Mrs. Jeffery Scott
announce that the wedding of their daughter
Miss Anne Scott
Mr. Kamau Thomas
which was postponed, will now take place
on December 20, 2004 at the Scranton Club.

When invitations have already been sent, you'll need to call each guest to let them know of the postponement. This may be too large or emotional a task for you to handle alone – your friends and family may help you make the calls.

Page 2 - Canceling a Wedding
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