What Happens After You Call Off The Wedding

March 16, 2017  |  
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After calling off a wedding, you’ll want to hide in a hole, and you’ll pray that everyone just forgets any of this ever happened. You’re dealing with some of the most intense and confusing emotions you’ve ever experienced and what you really need is to be coddled and given space to tend to your own emotions. And you can get that…after a regular breakup. But a wedding is different. This wedding had a ripple effect on groups of people you didn’t even realize would be affected. Friends and family members were making mental and practical changes because they thought you were going to get married. So, unfortunately, you don’t get to hole up after calling off the big day. Here is what really happens after you cancel your wedding.

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Financial battles between the parents

Your two sets of parents, who already argued extensively over wedding costs, will now argue extensively over who is responsible for cancellation fees. There may even be talk of lawsuits over emotional distress.


Financial battles between the vendors

Did you read the fine print on your vendor contracts? We hope so! Some sneaky vendors count on canceled weddings to get paid for work they don’t even do, so watch out for these and be ready to fight.

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People complain about their reservations

Some people already got temps to cover their shifts at work—possible for weeks if this was a destination wedding. People paid for plane tickets, hotels, train tickets, activities while they were in the area and they’re going to be upset.

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You have to return gifts

You are faced with the daunting tasks of purchasing boxes and postage to send gifts back to their senders. That also means the gift-givers are faced with the task of returning the items.


You have to turn down a lot of congratulations

You’ll receive congratulations everywhere you go, from people who weren’t invited to the wedding and don’t know it was called off. You’ll wish you could wear giant sunglasses and a big hat for weeks.

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Someone may offer to buy your wedding

You may be surprised (and very lucky) to find that somebody steps forward and says, “Hey. I wanted to get married. I liked your arrangements. I’ll just buy your wedding.” That almost never happens, but it has.


Your bridesmaids are a bit bitter

They did spend money on their dresses, your bachelorette party, your wedding shower and so on and so on. Your maid of honor probably worked nearly as hard as you did.

Woman in therapy. Photo: Shutterstock

Your parents want you to go to therapy

Your parents will be a bit concerned that you were able to carry the wrong relationship this far—almost up the isle—and may suggest you see a therapist to figure out how that happened. They could be right.


Somebody may want the honeymoon

A tropical, beach-side vacation complete with massages and breakfast in bed may sound pretty good after a major breakup—it may sound good to both of you, and you end up arguing over who gets the honeymoon.

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Some truth-tellers come forward

Some people suspected this was going to happen all along. You will love them right now because they won’t be surprised at all—they probably won’t even have many questions.


Someone says, “You could’ve just gotten it annulled.”

A few very cynical people will say, “You should have just gone through with the wedding for everyone else’s sake and just gotten the marriage annulled.”


Your parents say, “That’s the last one I’m paying for.”

Your parents may drop the harsh reality on you that they could only afford to pay for one wedding in your lifetime and that was it. When you do meet the right guy, you may just get married at the courthouse.

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You need to undo any mail changes

If you already began requesting that your mail, phone calls and all correspondence be addressed to “Mrs…so and so” you’ll have to correct that.

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You have to let everybody know

There is a large network of people you didn’t even realize you’d have to tell. You may need to sit down with your phone book and make sure you cover everybody.

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People will ask where your ring went

Everyone, from your fitness instructor to the person who makes your lattes will notice the big tan line on your wedding finger and the lack of a wedding ring.


Also, where did your ring go?

Speaking of your wedding ring, what is the plan with that? Do you give it back to your ex-fiance? Or is it yours to do what you want with? He did give it to you, after all.

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You may receive some nasty emails

Some friends and relatives of yours and your ex’s may not be very thrilled with you for dragging them through the emotional and financial roller coaster of preparing for a wedding, and they may not keep quiet about it.


You have a wedding dress to get rid of

Oh right—that thing. A wedding dress


You have to decide what it means for your relationship

Are you calling off the entire relationship or just the wedding? If you just want to call off the wedding, you may be surprised to find that for your partner, it was all or nothing.


You’ll still receive wedding catalogs

You’ve probably subscribed to quite a few bride magazines and wedding newsletters; you’ll have to cancel all of those.

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