(Closed) How Should I Cancel My Wedding Reception???

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
690 posts
Busy bee

Sorry you are going through this.  If your guest list isn’t too overwhelming, I’d suggest word of mouth.  Designate a few people (You, Fiance, parents, in-laws, maybe grandparents) to call all ‘their people’ and let them know about the change. 

I’m really sorry to hear about your grandmother.  My grandfather just passed away from cancer a few weeks ago, so I know how hard it is.  He was really hoping to come to our wedding as well, but made it clear he wanted us to continue on with everything as planned 🙁

Good luck with everything!!

Post # 4
241 posts
Helper bee

I would have a close family member or friend perhas Maid of Honor help call all the guests and also send e-mails. If you have a wedding website post it there.

Post # 5
14494 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I would round up the wedding party and ask them to make the calls, the last thing you need right now is to get stuck on the phone with an overly curious friend or family member.

((((HUGS)))) Sorry about your grandma, I will put you in our prayers.

Post # 6
907 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Yikes. That is a tough one. I would maybe wait a little bit until you have more solid information to tell them. The advice to share the work of spreading the news by word of mouth is good. Sorry you are going through this!

Post # 7
1636 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I agree, I am so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. 

I also agree with you designating your wedding party(or other close friends) to make the phone calls,or emails, and make them a moderator on your website and they can tell everyone. 

You are dealing with alot now, with the possible cancellation of the wedding, your sick grandmother, etc…  now is definitely time to designate designate designate.


Please keep us posted, and I will certainly keep you and your family in my prayers.



Post # 8
32 posts
  • Wedding: June 2008

Bless you and your family. I very much admire your commitment to your beloved grandmother and family.

Just another thought you may not have considered is doing a very small, intimate wedding ceremony to include your small inner circle of family and friends and hold the original reception that was planned at a later date

Here is some add’l info you might want to review for suggestions:

Sometimes there may be a reason not to cancel, but to postpone a wedding due to a death in the family or a serious illness. In the case of postponement, it is equally important that all the guests be notified as quickly as possible, keeping in mind that some guests may have plane reservations to cancel and, subsequently perhaps, to reschedule. In the event of a postponement, it’s appropriate to give an explanation of the reason. In this case also, if time permits, a formal printed announcement or handwritten note is also appropriate. The suggested wording for postponement may read as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. James Jones
Regret that they are obliged to recall
The invitations to the marriage of their daughter
Sandra Ellen Mr. John Doe
Due to the death of Mr. Doe’s father
Robert Simon Doe

If the wedding is still scheduled to take place, but the reception is canceled, for the sake of clarity, the following may be added to the announcement above:

The ceremony will be held privately
In the presence of the immediate family

The occasion may also arise when the invitations to a reception must be recalled, but the wedding ceremony will still take place, with invited guests. The following wording is appropriate in that instance.

Mr. and Mrs. James Jones
Regret that owing to a death in the family
They are obligated to recall the invitations
To the marriage reception of their daughter
On Saturday, the fifteenth day of June
Two Thousand and Two
The marriage ceremony will take place
As originally planned

In addition to the obligatory task of notifying guests, there are also the logistics of canceling contracted wedding services. The couple and families should put together a list of all the services that need to be canceled. It is wise both from a financial and from an ethical standpoint to give the wedding services suppliers as much forewarning as possible. The more time the vendor is given, the more likely that a penalty will not be incurred. Begin by checking the contracts to determine what agreed upon cancellation fees. Most businesses will give some percentage back on deposits. The amount depends in great measure on how far the cancellation is from the wedding. In some cases, if the vendor is able to re-book the date, the entire deposit may be returned. Some vendors routinely take a percentage of the deposit as a cancellation fee.

If a contract is canceled and the vendor is able to re-book the date, there are legal limits as to how much the client may be charged. To make every effort to protect themselves from just such an occurrence, when before any agreement is signed, the particulars must be clarified completely to everyone’s satisfaction. States vary with regard to legal limits, so it is prudent to check with the city and/or state’s Department of Consumer Affairs. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs offers a free booklet: “Avoiding the Wedding Bell Blues: A Consumer Guide to Planning Your Wedding.” To request the booklet, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Department of Consumer Affairs
Attention: Wedding Guide
42 Broadway, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10004

Following a phone call to each vendor, a formal request for the return of deposits should be made, in writing.

My very best to you. Let us know what you decide to do. XO

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