For today’s blog, I have invited a special guest to give us an insight into this rather ‘taboo’ and awkward subject. It’s hard to imagine but it’s reality – sometimes weddings get cancelled. By way of inviting someone who has the inside track on dealing with this harsh topic, I hope this information will be received in a positive way and ease the process for you.
Cancelling a wedding is an emotional event, whether you’re cancelling due to relational problems or just postponing because someone is ill or there is a death in the family. When cancelling a wedding, considerations of etiquette are definitely important. For instance, you’ll need to send notice to your guests about the cancelled wedding, and you’ll need to send all of the gifts that you haven’t already used back.
But no matter why you’re cancelling your wedding, one of your top priorities will probably be getting your money back. In the United States, the average cost of a wedding ceremony and reception is about $28,000, and in the UK, it’s about £18,500. Clearly, you don’t want to just toss all that cash out the window if you need to cancel your wedding. While it may not be possible to get back every penny you’ve already spent on the wedding, here are some tips for getting your money back:
Contact Vendors as Soon as Possible
The first thing you need to do as soon as it’s decided to cancel the wedding is to contact vendors. The sooner you contact your vendors, the more of your money you’re likely to be able to get back. You may want to look over your contracts with vendors before contacting them, just to see what, exactly, you signed up for.
Vendors like your DJ, caterer, and even your venue that probably wouldn’t have gotten full payment until they rendered services on your wedding day will normally just keep whatever deposit you’ve given them. You most likely won’t be able to get that money back, but you probably won’t have to pay them anything above and beyond the deposit, either, unless you cancel absolutely at the last minute.
Cancelling your wedding dress order can be a little trickier, especially if you’re getting a custom-made wedding dress. If the dress hasn’t been cut yet, you may be able to negotiate a small cancellation fee that will simply give the dressmaker some money for her time. If your dress is already made, or if you’ve had an off-the-rack dress altered, you may not be able to get your money back at all. One option, though, is to see if the bridal shop will sell it for you at a sample sale. You won’t get all your money back with this option, but it can be helpful.
Check with Your Credit Card Companies
Depending on the terms of service on your credit card, you may be able to get some money back for cancelled wedding items. If you don’t receive services or goods that you’ve paid for because of cancelling your wedding, your credit card company may actually give you back some of the fees. This is particularly true if you’re having a destination wedding, since many credit card companies offer travel insurance when you use a card to pay for major items.
If you’ve done your homework checking credit card reviews to find the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fee and the best travel cards, then you may already know the cancellation policies of your credit card. In some cases, though, these policies are similar to travel and wedding insurance. This means that if you’re cancelling because of disastrous events or even a death in the family, you may be able to get your money back. If one party just got cold feet, you might be stuck with the payments you’ve already charged to your card.
At any rate, it’s definitely worth checking with your credit card company. If you’ve been a great customer, you may be able to work with them to get at least some of your money back.
Sell What You Can’t Return
While you may not be able to return everything to get your money back dollar for dollar, you can probably sell a lot of the physical items you’ve already bought for your wedding. For instance, centerpieces, decorative items, flower girl and bridal dresses, shoes, accessories, and more, all sell very well on sites like eBay.
You can even sell an engagement ring on eBay or Craigslist, where you may get an even better price for it than you would get through a jeweler. Etiquette surrounding the rings is tricky, though. In a typical situation, according to popular site TheKnot.com, the person who calls off the wedding does not have the right to keep the ring or ask for it back. In most cases, the engagement ring is offered to the bride-to-be by her fiancé. If he calls off the wedding, she can keep or sell the ring, but if she calls it off, she has to offer it back to him. This is the case unless the ring is a family heirloom on one side or the other, in which case the ring must return to the family to whom it originally belonged.
Cancelling a wedding can be an emotional train wreck as well as a difficult process – both financially and according to etiquette. Remember, lots of people have cancelled weddings before you. This is good because it means that there are already certain rules and regulations in place for cancelling your wedding, but it’s frustrating because it means wedding vendors are very good at protecting themselves from having to pay you back. But by taking these three steps, you stand the most chance of getting at least some of your wedding funds back so that you can move on with your life.
Thank you to our Guest Blogger: Ashyia Hill is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey, where she helps people find the best credit card deals.