Monday, May 20

How to Call Off Your Wedding

If you can’t have a civil exchange with your ex, Leah Weinberg, a Queens-based lawyer and the author of “The Wedding Roller Coaster,” suggests having a mutual friend or a relative who has a good relationship with both parties handle the logistics of reaching out to vendors and guests. If the couple can’t agree on one person who should do that for them, then each person could appoint a personal “representative,” and those two representatives could then work together, Ms. Weinberg said. And if you have a wedding planner, most will handle vendor outreach if you ask.

“It’s helpful to have a buffer,” when you’re not in the right head space, she added.

Alerting your wedding vendors should be your first to-do. “The money you lose goes up the closer you get to the wedding,” said Cathy O’Connell, a founder of COJ Events in Palm Springs, Calif. If a couple is “thinking of canceling, they’re better off doing it sooner than later,” she said.

Couples should also know their vendors’ cancellation policies from the outset. “Understand the cancellation provision that their vendor has in the contract,” Ms. Weinberg said. There’s always a deadline after which you owe an outstanding balance, she added.

“I always encourage couples to explain to vendors that they are canceling the wedding because they are no longer together,” said Sara Bauleke, the owner of Bella Notte, a wedding planning firm in Washington, D.C. “You do get a sympathy nod.”

“Have a strategy for letting guests know,” Ms. Weinberg said. This is another task to consider outsourcing to a friend or family member. Whatever you do, do not delay telling your guests, who may have booked travel and lodging.

But, she added, “you don’t owe your wedding guests a huge explanation.” Write an email like you would a news release, she suggested, ending with something like this: “We appreciate you respecting our privacy.”