When it comes to calling off your wedding.

It’s not something every little girl dreams of doing but let’s face it; if the magic has fizzled away then there is no reason why you should keep your groom and the rest of the world for that matter, on a short string.

Calling off a your wedding for the sheer and simple reason of a change of heart or “cold feet” (as some like to label it) is an emotional roller-coaster ride.

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Yes there will be whispers and yes there will questions, “oohs” “ahhs” and your 60 year old aunt from your mother side saying “Back in my day, this would never have been allowed” while your 80 year old Gran comments: “Oh good riddance, I never like that twig man to begin with”. Whoever you decide to agree with, know that all the other people won’t be shy about sharing their opinions either – but that’s all they are and all they’ll ever be. Opinions!

There’s no right and wrong when it comes to all the cancelations and arrangements, you have to be a bulldozer, not the mean “step on everyone” kind but more the “push through” everything type. Things have to be done and the sooner you get everything handled the sooner you can get back to finding mister right.

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First and foremost your guests

Remember your guest plan everything around your day: plane tickets, where they’ll be spending the night, how and when they’ll be driving down. Don’t wait until the last minute!

If the invites have already gone out, then someone has to personally call each and every person on the guest list notifying them that the wedding won’t take place anymore. This is usually not done by the bride or groom (quite understandable). Close family like parents or siblings maybe even the maid of honour can step up to the plate.

There’s no need to explain to the guests why the wedding is being called off no matter how much people fish – all they need to know is that there won’t be a wedding anymore.

The rings

Should the bride call off the wedding and the ring was a gift from the groom then it would just be fair to give it back, especially if the ring is a family heirloom. If the groom called off the wedding then the right thing would still be to give it back (but if for some reason the groom was a jerk about the whole ordeal I don’t see why selling it at the closest pawn shop should be a problem).

If there are some legal deals on the ring, Caroline Krauss-Browne, an attorney in the matrimonial department at Tenzer Greenblatt LLP, in New York City says “In accepting the ring, the bride-to-be promises her hand in marriage. So long as she is willing to fulfil her promise, she has given consideration for contract. So if he breaks it off, she can keep the ring, but if she breaks off the engagement, she signifies that she is no longer willing to keep the promise, and in this case, she should not retain benefit from the agreement (the ring).” Caroline furthermore says “If the ring cost less than $2,000 a small-claims court is a fine forum to air your grievance.”

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Refunds, cancelations, deposits.

The closer you are to your wedding date, the less likely you’ll be able to get your money back. Vendors and venues might postpone bookings but accept the fact that deposits paid will not be refunded. An illness or death in the family or similar issues, might bare different consequences but for couples with cold feet or a change of heart the fees won’t be waved.

Remember establishments are just protecting their own businesses, so if there is nothing in the contract about a refund policy you might be out of luck.

The dress

This all depends on the state of the dress, if it hasn’t been cut yet then you might be in luck and able to negotiate a cancelation fee. Furthermore you have one of three options. One: sample sales; asking the shop to put your dress on display, two consignment shops or you can choose the charity donation route.

Yes the gifts have to go too!

All wedding, shower and engagement gifts received have to be returned even if they’re personalised. If you’ve used any of the gifts then best to just leave it as is. Include a little thank you card and that you appreciate the gesture. If your guests insist on you keeping the present there’s no need to look a gifted horse in the mouth.

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The honeymoon

Unless you requested a waiver (a fee you pay in advance which exonerates you from all or some of the cancellation fees up until 24 hours before the departure date) you might have some paying to do. According to Bob Chambers of CSA Travel Protection, “We aren’t able to provide coverage if there is a change of heart.” Bob says that one should always know what the cancelation fees and policies are before even making your bookings and always ask about the waiver.

I guess it’s safe to say that you need to be sure beforehand before the big “I don’t” bomb shell is dropped. Calling off a wedding is traumatic, emotional and scary. The most important thing to keep in mind is to surround yourself with people you know will support you throughout this period and not to worry about what the neighbours or will think – this was your decision and yours alone which means it’s all about your future, not your parents, siblings or friends. Chase the happiness you deserve and never settle for anything less than perfect, especially when it comes to the man you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.

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