What I learned from canceling my wedding

Guest post by ThisisHalloween

The invitations came back from the printer. They're everything I expected and more. The dress is hanging in the closet, tucked away in its garment bag. His vintage tuxedo looks dashing with the new vest and bow tie.

But oh wait… when is the wedding again?

Cancelling a wedding can be a hard thing to deal with, especially when it's due to a breakup. I consider myself lucky because my fiance and I are still together and very much in love. Right now, life is too complicated to add anything else that needs to be planned. Too many important people wouldn't be able to attend. And that jobless while in school thing… it kind of sucks. So, after canceling our wedding, with a heavy heart, I decided to take my obsession with list-making to another level. Here is a compilation of the lessons I learned in wedding cancellation…

1. If you are going to cancel your wedding, do it early (if possible)
Now, this doesn't mean be hasty. One fight or a little setback isn't necessarily a cause to cancel. Decide what's important to you and discuss it with your fiance. The deciding factor for us was the fact that key members of the family would not be able to make it out. Sure, we can party with other friends and family, but if those certain people weren't there, the day would feel empty. If you choose our route, you'll need time to cancel contracts and let family members know.

2. Take a good look at your budget
If you were planning a ridiculously expensive event and you, let's say, lost your job and were unable to pay for the wedding, a cancellation (which usually translates to lost deposits) could be cheaper, and less stressful, than trying to figure out a way to pay for it all. Then again, if you have most of your wedding paid for and good money invested into your wedding, maybe you could think about scaling back?

3. Your vendors are more awesome than you think
I practically had a panic attack when we decided to cancel our wedding. We really loved our space and our vendors, and didn't want them to blacklist us from ever having an event again. I wrote a detailed e-mail to each vendor. (Yes, personalized is the way to go. It's only polite). I explained to them that we were cancelling and stated our reasons why. No one freaked out! Remember that vendors are people too.

4. Communication with your partner is always key. Always.
I started having doubts about the wedding (not the relationship… the WEDDING) early on, but I knew I wanted to marry my fiance so I didn't say much other than “Do you like this venue?,” “Would you rather have German chocolate or pumpkin spice cake?,” etc. I thought I was doing him a favor by keeping my mouth shut when it came to my apprehensions. It turns out that, as the planning process carried on, we became more and more distant. Finally I exploded and screamed and cried and told him the truth about the way I felt. We ended up sitting down and talking for hours during our anniversary weekend. We discussed why we wanted to get married and laughed at ourselves for making this more complicated than it should be. We also shared our expectations of relationships and life. It was like getting to know each other all over again. We have been a lot more open in our relationship since then and have paved the way for future serious talks.

5. Online forums (including the Offbeat Bride Tribe) could be hurting your relationship
Yes. You read that correctly. I spent too much time online venting with my fellow brides, when I should have been addressing these things to my fiance. Sometimes, we need to vent and it feels safer to do so to a bunch of anonymous people than to blow up at the culprit. However, I tended to get the satisfaction of “Ahh, I feel better now. I'm not mad. It's all better,” or think “I don't want to bother him with another favor idea, I'll just ask the Tribe,” when in reality the problems were growing worse. Now I know that, if I need to vent, get it over with and then have a level-headed discussion with my fiance.

Also, there are a lot of us who are online every. single. day. Sometimes we need to back away from the keyboard and look our lovers in the eye. If you must do a search, write it down and look it up later. Just think, “My fiance is more important than knowing which appetizer the caterer will serve first. The menu will be there later. My fiance might not be.” Make it a habit to have one distraction-free night a month.

6. There is nothing wrong with wanting a wedding (or lack thereof)
Seriously, there isn't! So many people have said, “Why don't you just elope?” Because we don't want to! Our wedding will be the only time our families will ever be together at the same time. We want that chance. Throughout the wedding process people will *ahem* offer up their opinions. It's not their call. Do what's right for you. And of course, if that means ditching the wedding all together, so be it!

7. Just because you're not getting married NOW, doesn't mean you're not planning on getting married
I have a ring on my finger. People often ask, “When is the date?” I answer, “To be determined.” Most of the time they give you a funny look and disregard your commitment. The fact is, we plan on getting married… when it's right. When that will be, I don't know. I'm just so happy to be in love with a wonderful man who is in love with me. I don't need to be an offbeat bride. I'm okay with being an offbeat person in love with a bearded Irishman who happens to be pretty damn offbeat himself.

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