Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

December 2011

Should We Call The Whole Thing Off?

It is months to your Big Day. The 50-table banquet has been booked. The ivory satin gown has been tailored to perfection. Even the Maldives honeymoon has been packed for. But you can’t shake off this feeling that walking down the aisle may be the biggest mistake of your life. Before you call off the wedding, take a deep breath, count backwards from 100, and consider again.

PART 1: Is it just pre-wedding jitters?

With wedding plans already underway, it’s inevitable that parents and best pals will try to talk you out of a cancellation. And it’s true that many brides- and grooms-to-be suffer from cold feet. So how should you distinguish between pre-wedding nerves, and something more?

Just a case of nerves!

Let’s face it: Planning a wedding is uber-stressful. For those of us without the privilege of hiring a wedding planner, juggling a day job (and parental expectations!) while dashing from vendor to vendor is par for the course. So if you’re frustrated with your fiancé, ask yourself if it’s really because you hate his guts or if it’s simply because you can’t squeeze into that gorgeous Vera Wang number. Call it off if it’s the former.

In the months leading up to your wedding, you might also be confronted by a spectrum of emotions. This is because reality has finally hit home. You’re starting to realise that you will have to live with this man forever. You might be annoyed at how he can’t even mail out the invitations on time, but that’s not enough reason to call the whole thing off.

Serious reservations

Chances are, you’re considering calling it quits because you’ve noticed some red flags in your relationship. It could be because he’s been blowing hot and cold. Or perhaps you accepted his proposal at a moment of passion – and now realise that a healthy marriage cannot solely survive on love. No matter what, examine these reservations carefully. Remember that you should never marry for the wrong reasons, like money or just because you’re hitting the big 3-0.

Consider sharing your fears with close friends to get a neutral opinion. Says Geraldine*, 31: “At 22, I was engaged to an older man I met in church. But shortly after saying yes, I started feeling uncomfortable about my decision.” The public relations manager talked about it with her mother and best friend, who both advised her to leave marriage until she had graduated from the university. “It made me realise that I was young and hadn’t even lived my own life yet. So I decided to end the relationship. I’ve no regrets – even now.”

Definite deal-breakers

Sometimes, calling off the wedding – and ending the relationship – can be a straightforward (albeit still difficult) decision. For instance, if you discover that he has been cheating on you or if there has been abuse of any kind – physical, emotional, verbal and sexual. If you’re facing any of these issues, cancel the wedding – you might be happier for it.

Cecelia*, 26, shares: “My boyfriend and I dated for a tumultuous four years. He has a way of putting me down in front of his banker colleagues. Although we quarrelled often, I didn’t think it was a big deal at first.” The administrator adds: “But when we started to plan our wedding, his bullying became more frequent. He decided everything, from where to host the banquet to what I should wear. I wasn’t happy during those months, and finally decided to call everything off.”

Go with your intuition

Socialite and reality TV star Kim Kardashian recently filed for divorce after 72 days of marriage to basketball star Kris Humphries. Apparently, there were red flags even before the US$10 million wedding extravaganza. Pals of the new bride claimed that she has been telling them that she didn’t want to go ahead with it, but felt she couldn’t turn back. So trust your intuition if something’s really not right… it’s better to cancel a wedding than to end up trapped in an unhappy marriage (or having to battle it out in the divorce courts!).

PART II: Do it right!

So you have decided to pull the plug. It might be a real headache sorting out the logistical mess. Follow these rules of etiquette to make sure you’ve covered all bases.

Contact the wedding vendors

Once you’ve made the decision not to go ahead with the wedding, inform your vendors immediately. This includes your caterer, florist, DJ, photographer, venue, among others. Ask about their cancellation policies – you should already have copies of these if you’ve signed formal quotations – and find out if you’re entitled to any refunds. You may not be able to get your deposits back, but you might be able to cut some losses if you send word early (or shed a tear or two).

Send a written announcement… and follow up with a phone call.

If you’ve mailed out the wedding invitations, it is best to inform your guests about the cancellation via a formal written announcement. You don’t have to explain why, but do follow up with phone calls to make sure no guest turns up on that day. Of course, printed announcements may not always be possible. For instance, the wedding may be called off only days before the actual event. If so, spread the news through phone and email so that there won’t be a case of guests turning up for nothing.

Return those wedding gifts

First, take down the wedding registry. But wedding presents might already have started pouring in, from kitschy couple mugs to those soft Egyptian cotton sheets. We hope you have the good sense to keep them wrapped and unused since you have not walked down the aisle yet. Well, now that you’ve cancelled the wedding, your guests are expecting you to send them back. Simply explain that you can no longer accept the wonderful gifts. If you have already opened the gifts, do send an identical replacement back.

Return the engagement ring too

And yes, you should be returning the gorgeous ring even if it sits oh-so-prettily on your finger. If you’re no longer getting married to the man, do the right thing and send it back. Oh, and we’re not talking about tossing it in his face.

Reimburse your bridal party

If the wedding planning had been in full swing, your bridal party might already have incurred expenses on their end. This includes those black suits and bridesmaid gowns, as well as materials for your gatecrashing. Do remember to offer reimbursements as a gesture of goodwill. They will thank you for it.

*Not their real names.