It’s probably every bride’s (or groom’s) worst nightmare. The wedding is almost fully planned, deposits have been made, and the nuptials are quickly approaching. But for some reason, you can’t shake those night terrors and day worries. You’re pretty sure what you’re experiencing is not simply wedding jitters. One day it hits you — you might just need to cancel your upcoming wedding. Now what?
Realize you’re not alone. According to The Wedding Report, it is not as uncommon as one might think to have a cancelled wedding Approximately a quarter-million people who become engaged will not make it to the altar, which means you are in good company. This number constitutes approximately 13 percent of all engaged couples. Furthermore, this report indicates that the number may be even higher, as some people become engaged and break the engagement before making an announcement or beginning the wedding planning process. Realizing you are not alone is a critical first step in accepting your need to do what is best for you.
Trust your gut. Follow your intuition because it counts for a great deal. If the thought of walking down the aisle fills you with anxiety and causes you to break out into a cold sweat instead of making you feel excited and joyful, you are likely making the right decision. While some brides and grooms may experience “cold feet,” most people understand that is not synonymous with a feeling of dread or an overwhelming sense of “making a mistake.”
It is normal to be nervous about the impending changes in your life, but if your fears seem greater than a simple touch of nerves, you need to be honest with yourself about how you feel and whether your relationship is the healthy one you deserve. Because your intuition is informed by past experiences and present knowledge, you are best served by really listening to what your body and mind are telling you.
Heed those red flags. One in three women report having been abused by their partners in some way at some point during their life. If your partner has shown any form of abuse, whether it is sexual, financial, emotional, or verbal, you should not think twice about canceling a wedding. If your partner is secretive about their family, friends, or their finances, this should also raise concern. The same thing can be said for a partner who calls you names, puts you down, or denies you affection without being willing to work on it.
Pre-marital counseling should be part of the wedding planning process because it can help you identify and work on those areas that raise red flags, but even if couples who haven’t received counseling may know that they are not in a healthy relationship with their intended spouse. Understanding the difference between normal conflict and abuse is critical, and you may want to consider therapy after the cancellation, if you did not receive it beforehand.
Tell your guests. Your bridesmaids may have chosen the perfect bridesmaid dress to be part of your wedding party, but you can be sure they are more interested in your well being. If the thought of telling your guests that the wedding is canceled makes you uncomfortable, let your maid of honor or best man do the proverbial dirty work.
The sooner you let everyone know, the more easily everyone will be able to cancel plane tickets and hotel rooms, and refrain from buying or renting wedding attire. If you haven’t gotten too far into wedding planning, a trusted family member may be able to deliver the news to your inner circle and save you the hassle of answering intrusive questions.
Deal with the aftermath later. Certainly there may be things that will need your attention after the announcement has been made. Retrieving or converting deposits, returning wedding gifts, and other technicalities of cancelling your wedding will all need your attention eventually. But don’t ride out a toxic or unhappy relationship because the fear of dealing with the aftermath is overwhelming.
While it’s true that it may be painful for a time, staying unhappy forever because of time or money previously invested simply does not make sense. You may even want to ask a trusted relative or hire an attorney like Aaron Kelly to sort through the legalities of wedding or online business contracts.
Most people plan to be married to their loved one for a lifetime. If you’re looking into the eyes of your intended and are not confident about what you see, think carefully before proceeding.
Do you have any cancelled wedding stories to share? Please include your narratives here.