What if the Wedding is Cancelled?

woman-signingNo one wants to ever talk about the possibility of a wedding being canceled, but for a variety of reasons it can – and does – happen.  There are guidelines we can share with brides to handle this difficult time in as pleasant and civil manner as possible.  Everyone involved finds planning a joyful occasion but no one ever plans to cancel or postpone that event.  Our experienced consultants can ease the stress and guide your moves to handle the situation with dispatch.

If a formal wedding is postponed or canceled after the invitations have gone out, all invited guests must be notified as soon as possible.  When time permits, this is best done with printed cards, rush-ordered from your stationer.  Here are some samples:

  • If there has been a death in the family, the card would read:

Mrs. George Franklin Davis
regrets that the death of
Mr. Davis
obliges her to recall the invitations
to the wedding of her daughter
Saturday, the second of April


An invitation recalled in this manner just indicates that the wedding will not take place as originally planned.  It may take place as a small family ceremony since a large wedding may be considered inappropriate.  The couple may wear their formal attire but they will usually have honor attendants only.



  • If a wedding is postponed and a new date is set, new invitations may be sent out with this copy:


Mr. and Mrs. Douglas John Smith
announce that the marriage of their daughter
Carolyn Jane
Edward Patrick Murphy
has been postponed from
Saturday, the 11th of May
Saturday, the 25th of May
at four o’clock
Grace Presbyterian Church


  • If the wedding is canceled, invitations need to be recalled promptly with an engraved or printed card which reads:

Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Benjamin Clark
announce that the marriage of their daughter
Eileen Marie
Harold Robert Smith
will not take place.


If time is short, invitations may be recalled by personal notes or phone calls.  Notes should be patterned after these formats and signed by the person issuing the invitations.   Phone calls should be made in the name of the bride’s parents.  Reasons other than death or illness in the family are not usually mentioned.


  • What do I do with the gifts I have received?

When a wedding is merely postponed, send an announcement to all the guests, keeping the presents you’ve already received.  When a wedding is canceled, however, every gift – even those that have been monogrammed – must go back to the person who sent it.  A note expressing gratitude and explaining that the wedding will not take place should accompany the gift, but you do not need to give a reason for the cancellation.


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