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“Uncharted Territory.  Advice Needed ASAP”

“Uncharted territory. Advice needed ASAP”

That was the subject line of an email I just received.

The next one said, “Engagement over.  What are our contractual obligations?”

I called the mother-of-the-bride who sent me these emails immediately, and we discussed what happens next.  This is only the second time in over a decade that I have seen a wedding cancelled.  This one was scheduled for six weeks from now;  the other was only two days ahead.  What this always means is sadness and heartache, disappointment and hurt.  In neither case do I know the actual story, nor do I care to.  It is a very private moment.  But I have been involved both times with discussions about how to tell guests (phone calls with two days to go, a letter/email from the bride’s parents saying the couple has “decided not to proceed with their wedding plans.  This was a difficult choice, and we support their decision.  We greatly appreciate your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience)” for the one further out.  And, in both cases, the parents contacted the wedding professionals to see what, if anything, they could recoup, as almost all contracts say that no monies are to be returned.  This is fair, since the professionals have reserved the date.  However, sometimes there is some leeway.  The truth is that no wedding professionals I know want to make money from someone else’s pain…  and yet all have a business to run.

There was another email from the mother.  A gift had just arrived from one of the groom’s friends.  She asked if she should return it, give it to the groom’s parents, or give it to the groom.  My response:  “My first impulse is to suggest you return it to the giver with a note that the wedding is off.  Otherwise it might not get back to them, and at this point you don’t want people to think that the bride is keeping gifts out of spite.”  And then I added a follow-up email suggesting that the registries be notified and that no more gifts should be sent.

This whole thing is sad… even if it is better for the couple to be apart, this is a hard thing to face with the wedding date almost here.

I wish all the parties the very best.


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