Need to Postpone or Cancel Your Wedding? Here's How to Do It

Etiquette

Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. Unfortunately though, unexpected circumstances sometimes arise. Whether it's due to illness, death, bad weather, or any other kind of unforeseen situation, a change in wedding date means you have to let your family and guests know ASAP. If a wedding must be canceled or postponed after invitations have gone out, let everyone know with printed cards rush-ordered from a stationer. Here, a few situations and how to handle them:

There's been a death in the family and I'd like to reduce my large wedding to something just for immediate family and close friends. How do I say this?
Send out a card saying something along these lines:

Mrs. Gerald Timothy Allen regrets that the death of Mr. Allen obliges her to recall the invitations to the wedding of her daughter Sarah Louise Saturday, the seventh of February

The above wording indicates that the wedding will not take places as planned. The death means that a large wedding would be inappropriate, but the marriage will still take place as a small family ceremony. The couple may dress in their formal wedding attire, but the only attendants to participate are the honor attendants.

I need to postpone my wedding to a different date, but I don't want to disclose the reason. Do I have to tell guests why?
Not if it's very personal. If it's a venue or vendor problem, you might feel differently. Only tell close family and friends if they ask and you feel comfortable doing so. Regardless, handle it thusly:

Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Dean Jefferson announce that the marriage of their daughter Virginia Ann to Frank Martin Gallagher has been postponed from Saturday, the sixth of June until Saturday, the seventeenth of October at four o'clock Grace Episcopal Church Wilfordshire, Connecticut

I have to cancel my wedding. How do I let everyone know?
If there's time, recall the invitations with engraved or printed cards. If time is short, recall your invitations with personal notes, or by phone or e-mail. Calls are made in the name of the bride's parents (or whomever is footing the majority of the bill). Reasons other than a death or illness in a family need not be mentioned. For example:

Mr. and Mrs. Warren Troy Peterson announce that the marriage of their daughter Ellen Marie to Henry Carl Smith will not take place

There's more!

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