Financial tips for calling off a wedding

If you happen to find yourself questioning your future nuptials, here’s a quick overview of some do’s and don’ts when you call off a wedding


Sarah Palin took to Facebook recently to announce her daughter Bristol and fiancé no longer plan to exchange vows. The wedding was supposed to take place in a few days.

There are no words to describe how gut-wrenching it is to call off a wedding. As hard as you might try to make things work, sometimes they just don’t.

With the cost of weddings getting higher and higher these days, I can only imagine the sting a couple feels after calling things off. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional aspect but more than likely won’t get back any money you put into creating your special day. Sure that’s not important in the grand scheme of things (peace of mind is), but does it make more financial sense to listen to your gut sooner than later assuming you had these feelings months before your wedding?

And what about the wedding party and guests? Those involved with the special day have been saying no to other events (e.g. bachelorette party and bridal shower) as it costs a small fortune. Like other guests who plan to attend, many will have to shell out money for travel expenses like airfare, hotels and dining. What a mess.

How would you handle a situation like this? If you happen to find yourself questioning your future nuptials, here’s a quick overview of some do’s and don’ts when you call off a wedding.

Tell others sooner than later

No one says that cancelling your wedding plans is not embarrassing. It is, but that does not mean you wait to tell your friends and family. Remember they are shelling out some money of their own with travel accommodations and gifts to celebrate you. Let everyone know as soon as possible so they can do what’s necessary on their end to get back some of their money.

Speak with vendors asap

Hate to break it to you, but many wedding venues require a hefty deposit to secure their location. They have to protect themselves in the event of no-gos as they could have rented out their space to someone else. Once you decide to remain single you need to contact vendors as soon as possible. Let me know your situation (you don’t have to go into details) and look for ways to get some of your money back.

Try to sell your wedding dress

Many wedding gown retailers do not accept dress returns. If they did we all might try to get our money back after we said “I do.” Should you not be able to return your dress, do consider selling it in a consignment shop. Granted you’ll be lucky to recoup half of your money — but at least it’s something. You can also try your luck at selling it yourself.

Decide about the honeymoon

If you are still on speaking terms with your former fiancé, ask them if they want to still take the trip as a vacation — or speak to them should you still want to go. If one of you still wants to take the trip then that person will need to give the other back their half of the money.

Give back wedding gifts

Depending on when you call off a wedding you might receive a gift or two from guests. Return them. Speak with the sender on how they would like to proceed, and call up retailers in hopes they have a policy to make returns more seamless. Some might want the actual gift back while others are okay with letting you handle the return process for them.

Return your ring

Many ladies probably don’t want to hear this, but you can get yourself in trouble if you try to keep your engagement ring and not get married. Hopefully you got engaged on a birthday or holiday like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. At least then you can argue it was a gift. Just know if your fiancé can get you sued if you try to keep it. It is a promissory item.

Ask for help

There’s nothing wrong with asking someone to help you out during this emotional time. You are going to get questions and might need support returning things, moving out of a shared home, and doing anything else related to the wedding. Also surround yourself with friends and family who would do everything to support you emotionally and financially.

Work to build up your savings

You might hear some people tell you to take a vacation to unwind. This is ideal but not really recommended. Planning a wedding requires millions of naira which is why so many people go into debt before their first year of marriage. Why add to your troubles by going off on a pricey vacation — unless of course you have the financial means. Take a look at your budget, your income, expenses, and how much you have already paid for this wedding. Reality might quickly set in that without a second income you need to rework your budget when it comes to everyday life. Now that you have spent a good amount of money it’s time to try and recoup some by saving more.


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