Should You Postpone or Cancel Your Wedding?

Bride and groom on their wedding day at the beach

We never imagined a summer like this. A summer with few weddings and the black cloud of the pandemic hanging over our heads. Many couples have faced the troubling thought of moving their wedding or not having a wedding at all. We have spoken about how to communicate your postponed or canceled wedding to your guests and vendors, but today we dial it back to the founding decision: how to decide whether to postpone or cancel your wedding? (Or Zoom it! But we’ll get to that)

Reasons to postpone your wedding

Let’s talk about postponement first. You have probably seen many memes and campaigns across the wedding and events industry willing you not to cancel your day, postpone it. From an economics perspective, the small but mighty wedding industry is on life support and that is why we want as many weddings to go ahead as possible, whether it be on the original date, one year or two years down the line. 

That said, let’s take the business out of the equation and focus on you. Very few couples in the world have had to postpone or cancel their wedding for happy reasons (except, perhaps, pregnancy). Usually it is due to sickness, bereavement, money trouble, or, indeed, frighteningly fast spreading viruses turning our world upside down. In many ways, the worst thing about these hardships is their unpredictability. You could not have planned for this. You could not have willed it away with harder work or a positive attitude. These were the cards you were dealt and it feels so deeply unfair. We hear you and we’re grieving with you. 

Detail shot of bride holding bouquet

Your wedding is collateral damage in this mess and it can feel as if there is no point in even attempting to celebrate in such a tough time. But, see, that’s where you are wrong. We need things to look forward to. We need a light at the end of the tunnel. Knowing that something amazing will come eventually is how we get through the hardest of times. For many couples, deciding to postpone is securing that light. After all, you have put so much of yourselves into your wedding planning and you deserve to have your love celebrated in a glorious way. 

From a more practical lens, postponement means that you’ll likely not lose your deposits if you keep your vendors and venue the same for the future date.

Reasons to alter your wedding

Couple pictured on the stairs on their wedding day

Sometimes the issue is that in its current state, your wedding can’t take place or many you don’t want it to. For example, maybe you were having a destination wedding and you are unable to travel for the next couple of years. Maybe the calamitous event was your venue closing down. Or perhaps you lost your job and are unable to pay for the big wedding you envisioned. Whatever the case may be, the wedding as you planned it to be cannot happen in its form right now… so change the form! 

Zoom weddings and virtual events are sweeping the globe in a spectacular way. Why not postpone your in person celebration and take your vows online for now?

Maybe postpone your destination wedding as a vow renewal in two years time and have a small home wedding this year instead. In the case of money troubles, postpone a larger celebration to when you are financially stable again, and instead have a smaller, simpler wedding with your closest friends and family.

Giving up on the shape and size of your wedding does not equal cancelling it. Morph your wedding into what it needs to be so you can still have a joyous occasion with your loved ones. Also remember, who says you only have one wedding day! You can have multiple events in different locations and with different guest lists. Postpone one wedding and create another - why not?

Reasons to cancel your wedding

Okay, you have considered postponement and you have considered morphing your wedding into something else to make it work. What would be reasons to still cancel after all of the potential ways to pivot? 

Well, we don’t like saying them because these are the most heartbreaking, but they do happen:

  • You don’t want to get married anymore
  • You (or a family member) are extremely sick 

It cuts like a knife to hear those words but we must address them to make this article fair. If you are having a hard time in your relationship and need a break from each other then it makes perfect sense to cancel. The same goes for health. 

It is up to you how much you decide to disclose to your wedding planner, venue and vendors but providing a brief overview may be able to help in terms of waiving cancellation fees or potentially refunding deposits etc. 

bride and groom looking into each other's eyes at night on their wedding day

With friends and family, of course, tell them what you feel you need to. It’s very sensitive and perhaps you don’t want to go into detail with your loved ones, but you do have to say something as soon as you are able so that they are not left out of the loop for too long.

When it comes to the financials, you are more likely to lose your deposits with elected cancellations than forced ones. Ergo, say your venue burns down, the venue’s insurance would refund your deposit as it is a forced cancellation. If you could have had the wedding but you choose to cancel, this is an elected cancellation and vendors are not obligated to refund your money. They may do partial refunds as goodwill gestures but this is on a case by case basis.

Is it best to cancel or postpone your wedding?

We hope that this article has presented a balanced argument for your wedding planning, and helps you make a decision for you. Of course we are biased to postponing because we believe all love should be celebrated whenever it can! But whatever your reasons for postponing, altering or canceling, you don’t need to justify this to anyone. Your wedding is yours and whatever you feel is best is the right decision for you!

In order to have the perfect wedding, explore all our options of wedding veils, including our Lily veil, Iris Floral Leaf Veil, Camelia Veil, and more.

Olivia de Santos 
Olivia is a British wedding planner, writer and founder of the destination wedding planning company Nulyweds in Portugal. She is passionate about travel, weddings, beauty, cinema, horse riding and BIPOC issues. She lives in Portugal, and is in her element exploring the country to create unique, colorful weddings.

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