In life’s journey, there are moments that can challenge our path, prompting us to reconsider the plans we might have held dear. Canceling a wedding is undoubtedly one of these moments—a decision often accompanied by a spectrum of emotions, from heartbreak to relief. If you find yourself seeking guidance on how to cancel your wedding and gracefully transition to a “just-us” elopement or intimate micro wedding, know that you’re not alone.
Life unfolds in unpredictable ways, and sometimes, circumstances lead us to reevaluate our choices. Whether it’s the profound loss of a loved one, familial difficulties, or unexpected illness, the decision to cancel your wedding is a deeply personal one. I want to approach this topic with the empathy it deserves, recognizing that those searching for guidance may be navigating challenging chapters in their love story.
Canceling your wedding doesn’t mark the end of your celebration; rather, it can offer a chance to plan a more intimate, authentic wedding experience. Recognize that the path forward can take various forms. If exchanging vows without your loved ones present feels inconceivable, a micro wedding offers a beautiful compromise between intimacy and tradition. Alternatively, eloping and later celebrating with loved ones at a reception provides another avenue to share your love story.
Let’s explore the steps to cancel your wedding and plan your elopement or micro wedding with intention. In these moments of change, there’s an opportunity to shape a new narrative—one that authentically reflects your love and commitment.
There are important steps and considerations when navigating the shift from a planned wedding to an elopement. Here’s a practical guide to help you through the process:
Start by having open and honest conversations with your already-hired wedding vendors. Share your decision to transition from a traditional wedding to an elopement or intimate micro wedding. To ensure clarity, follow-up any verbal communications with a written email summary. Discuss options with your vendors to determine whether they may still be able to match your vision for your intimate wedding day.
Your change of plans may bring up some anxiety or even loss for your vendors who were excitedly planning for your wedding day. If you have the capacity to “go the extra mile,” thank your vendors and acknowledge the effort they have already put into your plans. Doing so can go a long way in easing the transition for both parties.
Re-visit the contracts you’ve signed with each vendor. Review the terms related to cancellations and rescheduling, especially regarding any non-refundable deposits. Determine whether you can still use any of your deposits for your micro wedding or elopement. If so, begin the process of determining what changes will be required from your vendor to accommodate your new plans. And, if not, make sure you understand how your deposit and any liability for future payments will be handled.
Once you’ve determined the financial implications of cancelation and whether your vendors align with your intimate wedding vision, decide which vendors you want to keep for your intimate wedding day. Reach out to those vendors you want at your micro wedding or elopement, discuss their availability, and confirm any changes required to accommodate your new plans.
At the same time, make prompt decisions about vendors you no longer need. Communicate cancellations as early as possible, giving vendors the chance to adjust their schedules. Not only will your vendors be grateful for your consideration, but they may be willing to consider a partial refund of your deposit if they can re-book your wedding day.
Informing your guests about your changed plans is a crucial step that requires delicacy and consideration. To make the transition easier, you may want to explore ways to include them, such as livestreaming your intimate wedding or planning a later reception. Another heartfelt option is to gather personal letters from loved ones to read on your elopement or micro wedding day.
When possible, personally inform your guests about the changed plans. Direct and compassionate communication can soften the impact and loss that your guests may experience. And, if you anticipate challenging conversations, consider preparing a script to guide your discussions. Approaching this phase with thoughtful consideration and empathy can help foster greater understanding among your guests.
Planning your dream elopement or micro wedding offers an exciting opportunity to manifest a unique celebration of your love story. While shifting from a traditional wedding to an elopement may change some aspects of your wedding day, there is no need to sacrifice those things that mean the most to you as a couple.
Take a moment to imagine and prioritize the elements that are crucial to your micro wedding or elopement. A helpful exercise is for both you and your partner to separately list your wedding day priorities on paper. Afterward, combine your lists and work together to arrange them from the most to the least important. This process sets the foundation for creating a stress-free elopement or micro wedding that genuinely reflects your values and desires.
For more insights on how to plan your stress-free elopement, check out my other blog post!
Creating a budget for your elopement or micro wedding is a crucial step that enables you to plan a celebration that resonates with your values and aligns with your lifestyle outside of your wedding day. Begin by determining your absolute wedding budget limit, taking into account your current savings, potential savings from your ongoing income, and any contributions from loved ones. Don’t forget to consider existing debts and upcoming commitments, such as vacations or attending other weddings.
Once you determine your overall budget, break it down, allocating more funds to elements you’ve identified as high priority and minimal or no budget to those that don’t top your list. You may find it helpful to create a spreadsheet to track your spending. To help keep you on budget, I recommend creating three columns in your spreadsheet to track your estimated, modified, and actual costs.
Your estimated costs reflect the average expense for a given line item in your market, whereas your modified costs reflect the proposals received from vendors. Finally, your actual costs capture the invoiced amounts.
This strategic budgeting approach ensures that your elopement reflects your priorities while providing a clear financial roadmap. With your budget in place, you’re now ready to embark on the exciting journey of hiring vendors and bringing your dream intimate wedding day to life!
Consider hiring your photographer or coordinator (if you’re having one) first. Bringing these key vendors on board early can significantly lighten your stress load as they play a crucial role in the planning process. With a wealth of experience, we serve as valuable resources, providing vendor recommendations, location suggestions, and even tips for navigating sticky situations. Our deep understanding of weddings and elopements allows us to create a stress-free, seamless experience, leveraging our planning resources and expertise.
Selecting the perfect date and location for your elopement is a fun and essential step that sets the rest of your planning in motion. Depending on your priorities and preferences, this process can be approached in different ways.
If you already have a specific date or venue in mind, you may want to secure your ideal date and location before hiring your coordinator or photographer. This is especially true if your desired location has limited availability or you choose a popular wedding date.
On the flip side, if you want help exploring various dates and locations, consider hiring your photographer or coordinator first, so that they can help you navigate this big decision.
Weather: Take into account the seasonal weather conditions in Colorado. If you’re venturing deeper into the mountains, anticipate cooler temperatures. Similarly, for a spring elopement or micro wedding, be prepared for the possibility of rain or snow.
For an in-depth guide on the optimal seasons to say ‘I do’ in Colorado, check out my blog post linked below.
Accessibility: Evaluate the accessibility of your chosen location, ensuring a comfortable experience for both you and your guests (if applicable). When considering locations, be sure to keep in mind the impact that high altitude may have on your enjoyment of the day. To keep altitude sickness from impacting your plans, arrive a few days early in order to acclimate to new altitudes if necessary.
Seasonal Cost: Be mindful of the seasonal cost variations in Colorado. During peak wedding season (June-October), venues may charge a premium, and wedding permits for public lands may sell out early. Additionally, during ski season (November-April) the cost of accommodations may increase significantly, particularly in mountain towns. Be mindful of these fluctuations and contemplate them in your budget.
Availability of Desired Activities and Vendors: If specific activities or vendors are integral to your vision, consider their availability when finalizing your date and location. As mentioned, the peak wedding season is June-October here in Colorado, and vendors can book up far in advance. To secure top-notch vendors, begin planning early, particularly if you choose a peak season or weekend wedding date.
Now that you’ve set the stage for your dream elopement with a carefully chosen date and location, it’s time to consider the vendors who will bring your vision to life. Elopements and micro weddings are wonderfully unique, allowing you the flexibility to decide which vendors, if any, you’d like to include in your celebration.
It’s crucial to remember that intimate wedding days are one-of-a-kind experiences, and couples make choices based on their individual priorities. As I often emphasize, not every Pinterest trend or extra detail enhances your wedding experience. Your wedding day is a reflection of you and your partner, so prioritize what holds the most importance to both of you.
The beauty of elopements lies in their flexibility—there are no strict rules about which vendors you MUST hire. Your decisions should align with your vision and values. To explore more on potential vendors for your elopement or micro wedding, check out my Colorado vendor guide!
With the foundational elements of your elopement falling into place, it’s time to delve into the finer details. This phase involves considering things such as your wedding attire, accommodations, and travel arrangements.
As you select your wedding attire, factor in the practical aspects, especially if your elopement will take you off the beaten path. Opt for comfortable and sturdy shoes if your adventure involves traversing different terrains. For accommodations, consider the atmosphere that you envision—secluded and intimate or situated with easy access to conveniences.
When arranging travel, it’s a good idea to plan your arrival and, if applicable, your guests’ arrival a few days in advance. Unexpected travel hiccups can occur, and providing a buffer ensures a smoother elopement experience. This is particularly essential if you’re journeying to Colorado from lower elevations, giving you a chance to acclimate to the altitude.
Create a backup weather plan for your micro wedding or elopement. Nature has its whims, and, while you can’t control the weather, you can certainly be ready for it. Consider securing an Airbnb with ample indoor space or choosing a location with accessible shelter to provide a seamless transition in case of rain or inclement weather. Having a well-thought-out contingency plan allows you to navigate unexpected challenges effortlessly on your special day.
Whether you choose to embrace the elements, dance in the rain, or opt for an indoor celebration, having a contingency plan eliminates the stress of last-minute decisions. By planning ahead, you ensure that, no matter what comes your way, you’re prepared to celebrate your elopement or micro wedding with joy and adaptability.
If you decide not to proceed with your traditional wedding, you can choose, instead, to embrace an intimate elopement or micro wedding. This change can trigger a shift towards a celebration that authentically reflects your unique love story. Despite life’s unexpected twists that may have led you here, your journey can unfold in a way that aligns with your vision.
Your elopement is a unique celebration, not bound by strict rules or passing trends. Approach this process with clear communication, attention to budget, and the support of experienced vendors. Relish the joy of celebrating your elopement or micro wedding, knowing it mirrors your values and stands as a testament to your unique love story. Embrace the journey—it’s your love story, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, only the one that’s uniquely yours.