Looking for ideas on how to tell your guests that you’ve cancelled or postponed your wedding (or another event), this post is where I give you a what-to-say template and a ‘how-to-say-it guide’. Keep reading.
While planning a wedding (or another event type), if you’ve already mailed out invitation cards and, for some reason, you have decided to either cancel/ call off or postpone, how should you tell invited guests?
And you wonder: when is the right time to inform them, what do you say; should you call them one by one or text them, or what?
Then, there’s the thought of: are you the only one who has ever postponed an event? You tell yourself that you’d feel a bit better to hear stories of other people who had also postponed a wedding/ event and also know how they handled it.
All that and more is what I will reveal to you in this post. I’ll share with you what to tell your guests and how to send the communication without appearing disrespectful or awkward.
In short, I’ll give you a sample event cancellation/ postponement template with word-to-word examples of exactly what to tell guests.
That’s not all, I’ll also give you the 10 wedding etiquettes you should follow to ensure that you’re announcing your wedding change of plans with grace and poise. Swipe/ scroll down to read on.
While planning an event or wedding and suddenly there’s a change of plans that could require a date change or cancellation, you’ll worry about two things – the booked vendors + venue, and your guests.
If you’d already booked vendors and venue (with payments), you’ll worry about how to deal with the venue and service providers to work out things or to get a refund.
While at that, if you had already sent out invitation cards, you’ll also worry about how to announce to guests, how they’ll feel and what to say.
I’m here to help you – I’ll be guiding you on how to deal with guests when your event/ wedding is postponed. Now, let’s get right into it!
Example Wedding Postponement and Date Change Or Cancellation Announcement Template
EXAMPLE EVENT POSTPONEMENT or CANCELLATION WORDING: One of the templates below is to tell guests you’re cancelling a wedding and the other 2 are for postponing a wedding.
This wedding postponement or cancellation templates can also be used for other types of events. Each one also works for any situation, either to announce cancellation or postponement. Enjoy!
a. Dear friends and family, we are postponing our wedding and will be in touch with new details, as soon as possible. We will let you know of the new date, as soon as it is confirmed. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you can make it on the new date.
b. Due to unforeseen circumstances [MENTION THE EXACT SITUATION, IF YOU PREFER], we have decided to postpone our wedding. It was not an easy decision for us. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please bear with us we confirm a new date with our vendors and venues and will let you know soonest.
c. Dear _____, due to unforeseen circumstances, we have decided to cancel our wedding. It was not an easy decision to make. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
The above wordings/ scripts are adapted from what I gave one of our readers (a groom) whose wedding was cancelled because his bride was too stressed to continue planning.
10 Wedding/ Event Postponement or Cancellation Etiquettes You Need to Observe
When informing guests, here are 10 wedding postponement etiquette to keep in mind:
1. Be Brief. No Stories
Do not say much. No long story needed. Just go straight to the point and tell them your event is postponed or cancelled (see sample wordings later, down below).
There’s no need to explain anything or provide details of why/ what happened if you don’t feel like doing so. You can if you like, but it is not necessary.
Just saying that ‘you have decided to push the date forward and will let them know when you pick a new date’ is fine.
2. Keep it Simple
No need for fancy wording in the way you announce that you’re postponing your wedding. Tell them as soon as possible, so that they can adjust their calendar.
3. Ensure Your Message to Guests Won’t Get Delayed or Lost
If your wedding date is near, you’ll want to be sure that the information reaches everyone. You shouldn’t be sending an email to someone that does not read emails frequently.
In a situation like that, I advise that you call or send SMS text messages to each guest you had sent invitations to. It won’t hurt if you use multiple messaging mediums to ensure your message reaches every guest.
4. When Should You Tell Wedding Guests that You’re Postponing Your Wedding?
Tell them immediately after you made the decision to postpone your wedding. Do not delay. Your guests honoured you by making room in their calendar to attend your wedding; maybe they even said no to another event in your
Therefore, you owe it to them to tell them as soon as possible so they can cancel their plans and reschedule things in their calendar.
5. If Your Wedding Date is Far Away
Inform guests with any/ all of these: email, text, call, WhatsApp. Be sure to use the messaging type they usually use, to be sure they will get it. Better still, you can use multiple mediums to inform every guest.
6. Send Handwritten Notes or Printed Cards to Older Guests
African/ Nigerian elders may feel disrespect if you do not tell them face-to-face or send them handwritten/ paper notifications.
Therefore, send paper-type communication to your older guests who you know would not like digital messaging.
Be sure to follow up with telephone calls for those living far from you.
7. If You Have Not Sent Out Invitation Cards Yet
You don’t have to inform any guests. In this case, the only people to inform are those in the know, such as your family members, close friends, bridesmaids and groomsmen.
8. For Wedding Cancellation Due to Breakup
Be polite and respectful to your guests by returning any cash donations and/ or gifts that you already received from them.
9. Say It With Cards
These days, as a result of many weddings getting cancelled due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus pandemic), ‘wedding postponement cards‘, also known as ‘change the date cards’ are becoming popular.
I particularly like the funny wedding postponement cards sold on Etsy, Minted, some online wedding stationery stores and some online stores.
You can get them in paper cards as well as digital cards (or wedding event postponement eVites). With cards like those, you don’t have to think about what to write.
All you have to do is choose the one with the perfect wordings for you and mail out (digitally or paper-print) to your guests.
10. Know When to Ask for Help; and Ask
Postponing or cancelling a wedding is something that should be done as soon as possible, to avoid losing more money from deposits already made. Ask for help.
Allow someone to help you do it if you absolutely cannot contact your vendor: Examples include a heartbreaking situation such as a recent loss in the family, a bad breakup, your fiance or one of your parents is hospitalized or bedridden.
It could even be due to other serious reason that you are not in a position to personally contact your wedding venue and vendors.
In such a situation, ask a trusted friend or family member to quickly contact your venue, vendors and guests for you.
Just give the person the notebook or document containing your venue and all vendors contact information, as well as a notebook containing your guest list with their names and contact information.
GUIDES & TIPS FOR DEALING WITH SUDDEN CHANGES IN WEDDING PLAN
Is your wedding affected by Coronavirus lockdown (COVID-19) or for other reasons, you’re changing the initial plan, these resources will help you navigate through and rise above it:
- How to Postpone or Cancel a Wedding Step by Step
- How to Re-Plan a Wedding After Postponement or During Lockdown – this post includes a List of Wedding Tasks You Can Do While Waiting or After Date Change
- How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety During Wedding Planning
You’re Not the First to Announce Wedding Postponement to Guests
It feels better to know that one is not the only one going through a bad situation, and also not the first. I want you to know that you’re not alone and it will be well with you again.
Follow the steps outlined above to inform your wedding guests, and follow up with your venue and vendors to reschedule to your new date. Here’s a true story of a couple that also went through wedding postponement.
So, some time ago, one of our readers had a last-minute wedding cancellation. His bride was planning it herself (didn’t hire a planner) and had been complaining to him how the stress was taking over her life.
She suddenly became too stressed and nervous about continuing with the wedding plans and decided they should cancel the plans at the time.
She wanted them to cancel the wedding immediately and later figure out a new date when to postpone the event. They had already paid for everything – from venue to vendors and had sent out invitation cards.
The groom was freaking out because it was a few weeks to their wedding and they did not know how to inform guests or what to say. He was even asking if people do cancel or postpone weddings (because he’d never heard of someone that did).
So, the groom consulted with me and I advised them on what to do, step by step. In fact, one of the wedding postponement wordings I shared (above) is adapted from the one I gave to them.
FACT CHECK: Uncertainties are Part of Wedding Planning
I want you to know that wedding postponement or even cancellation is not a new thing, and so you’re not the first. Your guests may even know someone who has gone through it before.
So, don’t stress about how your guests will feel when you tell them – they’ll not feel upset when you inform them that your plans and date have changed. They’ll totally understand. Our guide and what-to-tell-guests-template in this post will help you through.
Uncertainties are inevitable when planning projects, including weddings, and some can lead to postponement or cancellation. Maybe it’s a death in the family; maybe you broke up while planning the wedding; maybe your partner or very important family member suddenly gets hospitalized for a life-threatening health situation.
It could be the loss of a family member. It could be a natural disaster struck in your state/ country (earthquake, etc.) or maybe a pandemic (like COVID-19/ Coronavirus) that forced the government to put the country/ state on a stay-at-home lockdown and ban mass gatherings/ public events such as weddings.
When things like any of those happen while planning a wedding, it’s normal to be confused about what to do next, and that’s why I am making this post for you.
If you have a wedding planner, they’ll make the process easier, but if you’re planning it yourself, the tips explained above will help you handle it.
Recently, many weddings are being postponed due to Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Weddings are projects and like any other project, uncertain situations may occur during planning.
Some uncertainties can be prevented in advance but some are beyond your and your planner’s control – such as sudden death of an important family member, natural disasters (hurricane, earthquake, etc.), pandemic (e.g Coronavirus) etc.
Those types of uncertainties could require the couple to pivot or push forward the wedding date or totally cancel the event. If your wedding plans have been affected by some type of uncertainties, just know that you’re not alone and can also pull through okay like others who have been through a similar situation.
HELPFUL GUIDES FOR RE-PLANNING YOUR WEDDING
- How to Trim Down Your Wedding Guest List – especially if your wedding is affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic global and nationwide lockdown.
- How to Choose a Non-Clashing Wedding Date – things to consider when picking a new date.
- How to Plan a Simple Wedding in 1 Month (Planning Checklist)
- How to Plan Your Wedding in 6 Months or Less (Checklist)
- How to Plan Your Wedding in 3 Months or Less (Checklist)
Wrap Up: How to Announce a Wedding Date Change with Grace and Poise
No one wishes for it, anything could go wrong during the months/ weeks of wedding planning (before your big day), but there are ways to manage them.
With the tips in our wedding postponement or cancellation guide, plus the cooperation of your vendors, you can successfully manage to change your wedding plans and still have an amazing celebration.
While you’re informing your guests of your wedding postponement, do not forget to also tell all your vendors who will help you do a workaround or arrange any payment refund.
There you have it – NaijaGlamWedding’s guide to everything about announcing wedding postponement or date change to guests. I gave you the 10 etiquettes of graceful wedding postponement announcements. In addition,
I also shared a template with examples of what to say or write when informing your guests. Feel free to copy and use our postponement template as it is or modify it to suit your needs.
- What to do after announcing wedding postponement to guests? Here are the 18 Wedding Planning Tasks to Do After Postponing Your Wedding
That’s all on this topic. Now, it’s your turn to implement the tips in the post. Thanks for reading, and if this post has helped you in any way, all I ask is that you tell others about it and share it on social media. Oh, also subscribe to our GlamWedding newsletter and do follow us on social media.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you already postponed or cancelled your wedding or know anyone who did? What’s your story? Tell me about it in the comments section down below.