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Etiquette

Canceling Wedding to Elope? (VERY LONG STORY)

i am going to try to keep this as short as possible! Ever since my fiance and I had gotten engaged, we never wanted the big wedding. For starters, we were initially going to elope and then later have a reception when we were financially able to put one together. My family was very understanding, however, his family was very, very upset by our decision, so we decided to forgo that idea and just have a small wedding of 50 people. The problem is that neither of us really have the money ourselves to pay for a wedding, which is why we were eloping. My family is unable to help financially but his family, however, is willing and able to help as long as we basically jump through hoops in order to gain their help with anything. Since deciding to have the wedding, it has become beyond stressful because this wedding has become something that neither one of us really wants to have. We have had been insulted on numerous occasions by his family for not wanting to have a Catholic wedding, our choice of officiant, and finally things blew up last night when his parents invited every single person on his side of the family, WITHOUT EVEN CONSULTING US. After he talked to his family about how they are they are making things very stressful for us, his dad decided that it would be okay if we turned the wedding into the reception (since the venue has already been partially paid for), that he would take care of most of the reception costs (since we were only having the larger wedding to make them happy), and that we could go back to our plans on eloping. The problem is that we have already sent out the invitations, so everyone will be expecting to see a wedding. We are also 2 and a half weeks from the wedding. It is kind of a mess but I am also relieved. Any thoughts?

Re: Canceling Wedding to Elope? (VERY LONG STORY)

  • I agree- this is a bit tricky.

    I am sorry this is stressful for you and that you felt guilted into doing this larger wedding.

    You can cancel a wedding and re-marry at another time- that is not wrong. But it is recommended to cancel the entire event and plan whatever else you hope for on a different date- you are then free to adjust the guest list and venue plans as needed.

    Do you really want to go through with this reception? I understand, the in-laws were dictating your ceremony (which is something that should never happen, even if they are paying) and inviting a bunch of people you would otherwise not choose to host. But if you're OK with the in-laws throwing a reception for these people... why not have the ceremony as planned?

    At a minimum, you should send notices ASAP to all the invited guests telling them they are attending a celebration of your marriage and that you will be married at a private ceremony on X date. Give them the chance to choose to decline to attend. Be honest about your new wedding plans.


    auriannashort+sassyInLoveInQueens
  • Sorry, suck it up. You can cancel and elope, but 2.5 weeks before the wedding? Are you kidding me? No. Much too late. 
    InLoveInQueens
  • Just to clarify, 1. WE were the ones who paid for everything up to this point. They have not paid one cent for the wedding (nor have they helped with any of the planning of the event) because we told them we would rather not have them do so if they were going to hold certain conditions over us. 2. Most of our guests have not yet rsvp'd. Maybe 10-15 tops of the 50 people who were actually invited. I agree that canceling the entire event would probably play better to etiquette (we would only be losing a $200 deposit anyways) and then maybe having a small reception later, depending on what our families want to do. Again, we got lost in planning a wedding we couldn't afford and didn't want in order to please the in-laws. Anyways, his parents, the one who wanted us to have the big wedding, realized that it wasn't what we wanted and told us that we should cancel if we want. There wasn't any hard feelings behind the guesture. Just wanted to clarify. 
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Just to clarify, 1. WE were the ones who paid for everything up to this point. They have not paid one cent for the wedding (nor have they helped with any of the planning of the event) because we told them we would rather not have them do so if they were going to hold certain conditions over us. 2. Most of our guests have not yet rsvp'd. Maybe 10-15 tops of the 50 people who were actually invited. I agree that canceling the entire event would probably play better to etiquette (we would only be losing a $200 deposit anyways) and then maybe having a small reception later, depending on what our families want to do. Again, we got lost in planning a wedding we couldn't afford and didn't want in order to please the in-laws. Anyways, his parents, the one who wanted us to have the big wedding, realized that it wasn't what we wanted and told us that we should cancel if we want. There wasn't any hard feelings behind the guesture. Just wanted to clarify. 
    You can cancel, call up everyone and tell them the wedding will not take place as planned. But IMO I would not invite them to a "reception" later if you decide to elope (side note: it's not actually a reception, it would be a celebration of marriage party after you announce your marriage). 

    It sucks you got pressured into a wedding you're not happy with. But at this point you have invited guests, and you still intend to be married. If you don't want a big wedding you can cancel (and loose deposits and payments), but I wouldn't invite all these people to another event in the future to celebrate something they were invited to, then not invited to the actually ceremony where you get married. 
    All of this ^


    image
    STARMOON44charlotte989875Jen4948MesmrEwe
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited October 2016
    i am going to try to keep this as short as possible! Ever since my fiance and I had gotten engaged, we never wanted the big wedding. For starters, we were initially going to elope and then later have a reception when we were financially able to put one together. My family was very understanding, however, his family was very, very upset by our decision, so we decided to forgo that idea and just have a small wedding of 50 people. The problem is that neither of us really have the money ourselves to pay for a wedding, which is why we were eloping. My family is unable to help financially but his family, however, is willing and able to help as long as we basically jump through hoops in order to gain their help with anything. Since deciding to have the wedding, it has become beyond stressful because this wedding has become something that neither one of us really wants to have. We have had been insulted on numerous occasions by his family for not wanting to have a Catholic wedding, our choice of officiant, and finally things blew up last night when his parents invited every single person on his side of the family, WITHOUT EVEN CONSULTING US. After he talked to his family about how they are they are making things very stressful for us, his dad decided that it would be okay if we turned the wedding into the reception (since the venue has already been partially paid for), that he would take care of most of the reception costs (since we were only having the larger wedding to make them happy), and that we could go back to our plans on eloping. The problem is that we have already sent out the invitations, so everyone will be expecting to see a wedding. We are also 2 and a half weeks from the wedding. It is kind of a mess but I am also relieved. Any thoughts?
    You have several options:

    1.  Cancel the entire wedding.  Telephone people and send out cancellation notices tomorrow.  "The wedding of Bride's Full Name and Groom's Full Name will not take place as previously announced."  You must return all wedding gifts.  Now you are free to elope on a different date, and to send out marriage announcements.

    2.  Have a quick, simple ceremony at the reception.  Done.  You must hire an officiant.  I think this is a good compromise.  Send out cards if any new times or places are needed.

    3.  Just take a deep breath and go through with it as planned.  This is what I did.  My wedding day was not a pleasant memory, but my long marriage IS!

     A strong, traditional Catholic family is not going to be happy with anything except a church wedding.  This is not their choice to make, but their religious beliefs are what is behind the pressure.  I think understanding this might make it easier for you in future dealings with them.
    Catholic weddings are different from Protestant weddings.  The ceremony is regarded as a sacrament.  If a Catholic is married any other way, he is no longer in good standing with the church and cannot receive the host at mass (communion).  This is a very big deal, and it is hard to fix.  The family's objection is about their deep seated religious beliefs, and is not personal to you.
    Good luck to both of you, whatever you decide to do.


    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    short+sassySP29cowgirl8238
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    It sucks that you ended up planning and paying for a wedding that differs from what you want. But think about you're proposing and what it says to your guests. 

    You should just send them a card that basically says:  the wedding we have planned and invited you to in two weeks will no longer take place as planned. We intend to be married privately because we didn't want you there in the first place, but don't worry, we're still going to invite you to a party that is the same as the one we cancelled because gifts. 

    Honestly, what is the actual difference in going through with it as planned or having the same party later?  Note:  I called it a party because what you're proposing is not a reception. A reception is where you receive your guests and thank them for attending the ceremony/event.  This is not specific to weddings, church confirmations are followed by receptions, key note speakers often time attend a reception, award ceremonies have receptions, the list goes on. 
    image
    charlotte989875short+sassycowgirl8238
  • I don't understand how eloping within the next 2 weeks, then having the "reception" as planned is going to save you any money. Are the in-laws only willing to pay for this party if you elope first, but not if you have the ceremony that day? That doesn't make sense to me.

    The cost of a ceremony is ONLY the cost to pay an officiant. While fees vary, this is likely $50-$300. And you're still going to need an officiant if you elope, so where are you saving any money?

    A reception is a party immediately before or after another event, such as a wedding or an academic conference. The point is to offer hospitality to "receive" your guests for attending the event itself. A wedding reception is to receive your guests who attended your ceremony, the same way a welcome reception at a conference is to receive your guests prior to the conference itself, or a reception after an academic talk is to receive your guests who attended the talk. If it's not the same day, with the same guest list, it's not a reception. It's a party. And you can have a party whenever you please for any reason. 


    kimmiinthemittenshort+sassyViczaesarInLoveInQueens
  • So from what I'm reading, it sounds like you want to cancel the whole thing, elope, then work on saving up money for a celebration that would be far in the future, and not on the same date as the original wedding (since you don't have the money to pay for it now).  I think that's a smart idea, given your finances--no one should go into debt for a wedding.  In two or five years (whenever you can afford it), host a big get-together for both your families, and call it a day.

    That said, you're only 2 weeks away from the wedding!  I would assume most of your guests will have already bought plane tickets/hotel rooms by now, so it may be too late for them to cancel.  In that case, the nice thing to would be to continue on with your current plans.  All your guests will need to be hosted, but there may be cheaper alternatives than what you already have in mind (of course, it sounds like you've already paid deposits on everything, so you may be out of luck there).  If there's anything you haven't paid for yet--decor, limo, cake, etc--you could look into nixing it altogether or finding a cheaper alternative (ie, sheet cake from grocery store instead of fancy wedding cake; no centerpieces, or using dollar store flowers instead of a florist).  As long as guests are hosted properly for the time of day, you're golden.  Could you move the whole thing to a non-meal time and just serve cake and punch?  Changing the time of day is going to be easier on your guests, for the most part, than cancelling the whole thing.
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited October 2016

    Ok.. You're 2.5 weeks out - you've got time for a menu change... Cake & Punch - bonus points for some margaritas because y'all are making this teetotaler want to drink here...  Pizza and Beer is also another option to feed the masses on pennies.  All caterers have a "Budget option" meal (usually a chicken dish, pasta dish, or "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit" - which often is the most bang for your buck, but anyway..).. 

    What CMG said about Strong tradition Catholic families.  Cancelling because you wanted to elope in the first place and people who have made plans to attend be damned - BEYOND rude - and if only 15 have RSVP'd as coming I really don't see the issue with just going ahead. 

    Now - I'm guessing from what you followed with that none of the people FFIL invited have responded with an RSVP in any way and you have no idea who is or isn't coming or how you're going to pay for these meals.  Get this figured out, people plan funerals using many of the same vendors in 3-7 days, get organized.  It's only stressful if you let it be.  The simple answer is if your FFIL is paying for these added guests, you need to see the check presented to the venue or deposited in your account otherwise some harsh decisions need to be made along the lines of "cake & punch".  I realize nothing short of hopping a plane to Vegas this weekend is what you want, the reality is you compromised with your IL's, it's 2.5 weeks out, do what you can afford to do given that invites have already gone out and move on.  If FFIL invited guests without your/FI's permission and your venue cannot accommodate them, then it's up to FI to tell FFIL that he needs to call and inform them of the mistake and that they will be turned away at the door. 


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    short+sassy
  • *stuck in many boxes??*

    Cancelling this close is what you do when you catch your fiancé cheating, not what you do when you get overwhelmed with wedding planning.

    Your FFIL inviting extra guests is a very stressful situation! But it is his problem, not yours. Your FI needs to tell him to call those relatives back and explain he was mistaken, or he'll be the one to deal with the embarrassment of having them show up with nowhere to sit and nothing to eat.

    Plus even if you would be reimbursed 100% for everything else if you were to cancel now, eating that $200 venue deposit and saving up for an elopement and party seems like even more planning. You've only got a couple weeks to go, you can make it.

    Since you've said your FILs have offered to cover the cost of the reception ONLY IF you cancel the ceremony (which does not make any sense to me at all), then follow @MesmrEwe's excellent advice and rework your existing plans to fit a budget that you & your FI can afford.

    MesmrEweDrillSergeantCatOliveOilsMom
  • mollybarker11mollybarker11 member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited October 2016
    Correction: I misread the OP and now realize the FILs said they'd be ok if you cancelled the ceremony alongside their offer to cover most of the reception cost, not that you must cancel in order for them to contribute. Makes more sense that they just wanted to offer you an out after seeing how stressed you are! But again, it is not an appropriate out to take.

    If you're comfortable accepting their contribution, clarify how they intended to go about it. Are they going to take your contracts into their names and deal directly with the vendors? Are you going to show them the cost of each element and they'll write a cheque for the ones they want to cover?

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