How to Break Up with a Wedding Vendor

Updated 12/04/14

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Breaking up isn't easy. There's the guilt factor, constantly second-guessing yourself and wondering how in the world you're possibly going to tell the vendor you were once so committed to that you're just not into it anymore. Should you lie? Drop off the face of the planet? Or just be straightforward and risk hurting their feelings? We took it upon ourselves to find out.

Keep it real

No one likes being blatantly lied to, your wedding vendors included. That's why honesty truly is the best policy. "I think most vendors are willing to work with someone when a cancellation is necessary. Without a contract, all it takes is communication to cancel with care," says Tanya Gurrieri of Charleston-based catering company Salthouse. Destination wedding photographer Nicholas Purcell agrees. "Personally, I'm so busy I'm not bothered by it. What's annoying is when people make up crazy excuses like their wedding has been cancelled due to a volcano or a pending conviction!"

Don't be rude

Already signed a contract? Then be sure that you're really ready to cut the cord before you lose your temper via email or telephone, advises Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques. "This isn't the time to rant, rave and insult the vendor. Avoid profanity, but do attach any emails from him/her or yourself that demonstrate the lack of responsiveness or whatever other issue you're citing for not continuing." While, constructive criticism and honesty are always appreciated, low blows are not, adds calligrapher and stationer Ashley Buzzy of Ashley Buzzy Lettering + Press.

Let the vendor know in writing

If you've only had one consultation and chose not to book, a quick email kindly thanking the vendor for their time and letting them know you've decided to go in a different direction should suffice, says Buzzy. If you're under contract, however, simply stating that you'd like to cancel is most likely not concrete enough to void it. "Be prepared to mail a signed letter that declares your cancellation, as the vendor will need it for their records."

Read your contract

Most vendors are prepared for cancellations, and probably have already outlined information about how to cancel in the contract you signed with them, points out Buzzy.

Be prepared to lose your deposit

Many wedding vendors require a deposit, which allows them to keep some of it for time spent and refund the rest, based on the time of cancellation prior to the event, notes Gurrieri. Others may not be able to refund the deposit at all. For example, "If a makeup artist required a deposit, they may have already used it to purchase the makeup they needed for your event," explains Buzzy.

Don't ghost

It is never, ever okay to disappear on a vendor! "Even if you don't want your deposit back, they're going to spend days or weeks fretting over what happened to you," says Buzzy. "They will be too nervous to book another client on your date, and if it's close, they may not be able to. So many vendors are living fully on the income they make on weddings, so an unexpected and unannounced cancellation can make big waves in their personal lives, like paying rent!"

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