It’s all over! The wedding’s off! How could such a shocking thing happen? You’re breaking up after those wonderful times getting to know each other, falling love and planning to spend the rest of your life together.
You’ve been showered with gifts at friends-of-the-bride events and bachelor parties. The local travel agency has researched and booked your honeymoon trip. Other plans and expenses, including new clothing, meals, receptions and rentals are involved.
There could two possible scenarios when a wedding is called off: 1. The announcement is made several weeks before the scheduled wedding. 2. Everyone has already assembled at the site where the wedding will be held, and the cancellation happens then.
In the first scenario, when you announce that the wedding is off, at least you can give people time to cancel plans to attend the wedding. They can get refunds from stores for already-purchased gifts, and also possibly return clothing they’ve bought or rented for the occasion.
If the wedding is called off weeks before the scheduled event, the father of the bride, who traditionally pays for everything, may have time to act. He’ll seek the return of his deposit or payments for the wedding ceremony, receptions, dinners and other expenses.
When the break-up happens weeks before the event, all guests should be notified as soon as possible by Email or telegram that there will be no wedding. The bride’s family usually has the responsibility to offer a few words explaining why it’s off, and regrets that the cancellation happened. If the bride or groom have already received gifts from any of the guests, the note will promise that they’ll be returned promptly.
The other scenario when the wedding is cancelled can be much more traumatic for everyone concerned. Probably the worst time it can happen is suddenly, when everyone is already in the church or hall, dressed in their finest clothing. The gifts to the bride and groom are piled high in the reception hall, where bartenders await the crowd once the ceremony is over.
At the nearby banquet hall, the wedding cake is on display and the chefs are preparing a wedding feast. The orchestra is tuning up, and all is ready, except that the wedding has suddenly been cancelled. How does the bride’s family announce to the assembled guests that the wedding is off?
The best way is the most direct one. Tell the truth. The father of the bride or other member of the family should apologize to the assembled guests for the unfortunate happening. Then, everyone goes home and the father must face the inevitable and pay the entire bill.
Another choice for that unhapy moment may be possible. There have been examples of the father making an additional announcement. It’s to invite the guests to stay and remain for the reception and dinner.
If there’s no chance the father will recover what he has already paid for, the idea may not be so outlandish. The alternative is wasting all the food prepared for the event. The result wouldn’t be quite as celebratory as if the wedding had taken place, but at least family and friends can sit down to dinner together.
In that situation, the announcement to guests that the wedding is off can be tempered by a not-so-happy, but common sense solution.