If you decide to cancel your wedding, here’s proper etiquette from Marcy Blum, president of Marcy Blum Associates.
Marcy has planned weddings and events for numerous celebrities, including Carl Icahn, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Salman Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi, Billy Joel and Katie Lee, Regis and Joy Philbin, and three members of the Rockefeller family. Given her deep industry experience, Marcy is widely considered to be an expert in contemporary wedding etiquette.
Let your guests know as soon as possible. If your wedding is called off after the invitations are mailed and time is running short before the planned date, then you – or a friend or a family member – must pick up the phone and call each guest to inform them of the cancellation. If time allows, it is also acceptable to send an announcement. It should be a simple printed card that says the wedding will not take place. No details necessary! Bridal Brokerage features an on-staff graphic designer who specializes in the rapid turnaround of wedding cancellation announcements. To contact Katie, email email@example.com
Gifts have to go back, too. All gifts – from toasters to flatware – should be sent back to the giver. The returned espresso machine doesn’t need an in-depth explanation, just a note saying that, under the circumstances, you can’t accept this lovely gift. If, as is increasingly the case, you have already used the gift, you must send an identical replacement or its monetary equivalent.
Yes, the ring should be returned to the purchaser. Of course, this is the crucial issue. Does the bride really have to give back that gorgeous rock? Hundreds of court cases have been tried on this subject and produced varied verdicts. Some judges ruled that the “donor” gets to keep the ring; others decided that it depends on who broke off the engagement. Personally, I agree with Jennifer Lopez, who returned a 6.1-carat pink Harry Winston ring to Ben Affleck in 2004. It doesn’t matter what the legal system says; propriety dictates that the ring should go back to the purchaser.
Reimburse attendants for their expenses. If your bridesmaids and groomsmen have already bought their outfits, reserved hotel rooms, or paid for airline tickets, you should pay them back. There’s no wiggle room on this one.