Ending An Engagement

Ending an engagement is never an easy thing to do, but if you do have serious doubts, it is much better to call off the engagement.

The pain and embarrassment caused by ending your engagement does not compare to the pain of an unhappy marriage.

Letting the guest's know when ending an engagement

If you have already invited your guests, or you want people to know about ending an engagement, a short letter or card written by the girl's parents or by one or both of the parties concerned, explaining that the engagement has been canceled is sufficient (there is no need to give a reason for calling off the engagement).

Cancelling Invitations

You may have time to have these printed professionally or if the engagement is called off close to the wedding date, you may have to write (or print them on your computer).

The wording could read like this:

Mr and Mrs Steven Howe’s regret to announce that owing to …. the wedding of their daughter Catherine Anne to Thomas Richards has been cancelled/postponed.
If you do not wish to give a reason, use the words ‘unforeseen circumstances’ this should be sufficient. If there is very little time, make phone calls and/or emails.

If the case is a postponed wedding and if you already know the new date, this information can also be given.

The wording could read:
Mr and Mrs John Black regret that due to illness they must postpone the wedding of their daughter Claire on Saturday 18 June until Saturday 1 July at 3.00pm.

After notifying family and friends, the next step is to notify all vendors

If the wedding plans are already underway, make sure that you cancel everything you have ordered.

Start first by phoning your vendors and then confirm it in writing. Read all your contracts which should have a cancellation policy (it should detail the conditions in the event of a canceled contract) you may be entitled to a return of a portion or your deposit if the contact is canceled before a certain date.

You are not likely to get any of your deposit back if you have canceled close to your wedding date. You should also remember to cancel you honeymoon and the making of the wedding dress.

As mentioned above confirm the cancellation in writing this way you should not be charged for more than what you have already spent.

What to do with the gifts when ending an engagement

Strictly speaking, when an engagement is ended any wedding engagement gifts received (this includes gifts of money) should be returned to the giver, you may wish to check with the giver first before returning the gift so that you do not offend them. You should also send a note of thanks for their generosity.

What to do with the engagement ring

If the future groom breaks the engagement, he may choose to be gracious in allowing the bride to keep the ring. If the bride chooses to keep the ring, she may like to have the ring reset. 

If the engagement is broken by the bride, she should return the ring to the groom and his family, particularly if it is a family heirloom. She should also return any other piece of jewelery such as a family necklace or earrings.

If the couple purchased the ring together, they should come to some sort of agreement of what to do with it, just like any property that they have purchased together.