There are multiple reasons why a wedding may be called off. Often, it’s because one party has fallen out of love with the other. Maybe one partner just isn't ready. Other times, it's because there's infidelity in the relationship. And sometimes, calling off a wedding is something you do for completely bizarre reasons like not being able to answer a math problem correctly.
Regardless of the "why," it can be utterly devastating when you’re the one being broken up with—especially if you didn’t see it coming. You’re dealing not only with the emotional turmoil of the end of a serious relationship: you also have all the stress associated with the logistics of canceling a wedding. Depending on how far into wedding planning you are, you likely have vendors to cancel, people to notify, new living arrangements to figure out...and you’ve got to get it all done pretty quickly.
Agreed, it’s tough to push through such a major heartbreak: but it’s not impossible. Here are seven ways to survive the hurt of a "wedding that almost was," do some much-needed self-care, and check off those major to-do tasks.
1. Let yourself grieve.
First of all, it's important to remember that you're experiencing a type of death: that is, the death of a dream. This is the probably the worst kind of breakup a person can ever experience, because it signifies the end of a future life you envisioned with your partner. So let yourself grieve over it. Don’t feel required to put on airs, or to pretend you're doing fine if you're not. Let it all out.
2. Try to create a plan of action as soon as you can.
Unfortunately, time is of the essence when an engagement or wedding has been called off. So you're going to have to do a few things as quickly as possible. Among other logistics, there are vendors and loved ones to be notified, and decisions to be made about living arrangements (assuming you already lived together, or purchased or rented a new place to live). You will also need to decide what to do about the ring. But don't feel the need to bear all the workload: come up with a list of "to-do" items and split them in half between you and your ex.
3. Notify your closest friends and family members, and feel free to delegate.
If your loved ones aren't already aware of your breakup yet, this is the time to notify them, and to take full advantage of their sympathy. Ask them to help you with your to-do list. They can assist with the really tough stuff, like contacting wedding guests (if invitations already went out) and returning any shower and wedding gifts.
Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of EtiquetteExpert.com, told Time , that you don't need to explain why the wedding is called off to your wedding guests but you should let them know ASAP. “The faster the better, like ripping off a band-aid,” Whitmore said.
4. Find ways to soften the financial blow.
It's likely you won't be able to get out of some, if any, vendor agreements. But there are ways to recoup some of the cost. You can resell your wedding gown, for starters (you may want to ask a friend or family member to do the legwork, though, if you can't bear to look at it). Or consider contacting a cancelled wedding brokerage, which (strange but true) can help you find a couple to take over any outstanding contracts and bills.
5. Take the honeymoon.
If your honeymoon is already paid for, why not go away on your own, or with fun and supportive friends a la Sex and the City? Provided you're not going to be surrounded by a bunch of newly married couples on vacation, a getaway may be just what you need to clear your head. Plus, this is an opportunity to create some new positive memories that don't involve your ex.
6. Deal with your pain in a creative way (or, throw a party).
Shelby Swink did it: when her ex broke off their engagement five days before their wedding, she decided to do a fun "trash the dress" photo shoot surrounded by close family and friends. Similarly, Marilyn Chivetta turned her heartbreak into something positive: when her wedding was called off, she decided the plans were too far along to cancel everything...and instead decided to throw a Broken Heart Ball, with an open invitation to the public.
7. Do all the other things you would normally do after a "regular" breakup.
Look for inspirational quotes that speak to you. Or go online for advice on how to deal with heartbreak. There are tons of resources out there to get you through this difficult time. Keep in mind that it will take time to heal and start feeling better - but you will get there, promise.
Sending you much love and positive thoughts!
Images: Ben Raynal/Flickr; Giphy.com