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You Asked: She Canceled Her Wedding

Dear Sugar,

I was supposed to sing at a friend's wedding coming up this Fall. My travel for the wedding has already been booked, with the majority being nonrefundable. I just got an update from the bride-to-be that she's called off the wedding with no chance of reconciling with her mate. Do I count the $400 as a loss due to a good friendship, or do I ask for some kind of reimbursement during this obviously hard time?

— Singing Sasha

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Singing Sasha,

This is certainly a tough situation as far as proper etiquette is concerned. Wedding cancellations are rare, but they do happen. Though it's easy for the guests to feel stiffed, try to keep in mind that your friend is likely to be going through some very difficult emotions right now. I'm sure she feels absolutely awful and humiliated over the time and effort people have put into a wedding that will never be. Perhaps she'll decide to pay you back eventually, but I wouldn't pressure her in the meantime.

A $400 loss is a bummer for anyone, but I think in this case, that's just the way it has to be. I'm sure your friend is already dealing with huge costs in lost deposits, and I highly doubt that she can even afford to reimburse everyone who made travel arrangements. If she's a close friend, perhaps you should make the trip anyway to be by her side. If not, why not try changing your ticket to another destination — at least that way you can still get some bang for your buck.


Join The Conversation
rannew rannew 8 years
Came upon this recently and thought about some facts that might be missing: The duration of the trip might not have been long enough for vacation, but just long enough for the day of (less than 48 hours style) The location of travel might not be where the friend actually lived, so even more costs could have been incurred to "be with her" The amount of deposits the friend had might have been little to none at this point or refundable so the bride might not be out of any money The cost to start a new life (new apartment, etc.) may be covered The friend might not be having a hard time if it was her decision Also, just cause there is a contract doesn't mean that getting a refund from a friend wouldn't cause tension just the same I do agree that it was the purchasers fault for buying a nonrefundable ticket, even if you don't want to think that your friend won't go through with the wedding. Also, I agree that asking for the money might not be the best situation but its good to take care of your self as well.
Ster Ster 8 years
OP: don't ask for your money back, I completely agrea with Deanern. You spent this money as a gesture to your friend, asking it back would be insinuating you didn't get your money's worth. Her wedding is not some commercial event that justifies a reimbursement when the artist decides not to show. mkoessler: I actually find your situation to be completely different ... the wedding is still on, the bride just seems to be constantly changing the plans without properly informing you of what's going on. She asked you to be her maid of honour, which apparently is a pretty expensive affair and she doesn't seem to care at all about the effort and money you put into this. If you don't need the money, I probably wouldn't ask for it back. But I would have a chat with her, emphasising that you support her in whatever she decides but that it shows a lack of respect that she's happy to let you dole out money for something she thought she wanted for about 2 seconds. If she's this fickle, she should probably just organise everything herself.
lacrumise lacrumise 8 years
well if it is non refundable take it as a vacay and support your friend through this obviously hard time
mkoessler mkoessler 8 years
I actually have a similar situation going on right now...a friend of mine asked me to be her Matron of Honor about 7 months ago and I bought a plane ticket/dress/shoes/planned a shower and sent invites/bought favors....the wedding is July 26th and about 4 weeks before the wedding she tells me she may be calling it off. Then she tells me that they are eloping instead of having a wedding. SO we decide on not doing the shower since people aren't going to be invited to the wedding anymore. I still plan on flying there and spending time with her....I find out later that they are having the wedding for family only and she says she'd like me to be there if i want to (so I'm no longer in it) and I get an RSVP call for a shower that the mom's are throwing her instead. I don't want to add to her stress but I'm not sure what is going on and have spent around $700 on travel/dress/gift/and the shower that is no longer happening. I do not want or expect her to reimburse me but I've put a lot into her special day and now am basically not a part of it. Any thoughts on how to approach this situation?
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I'd say take the trip to be with her or take the time to take your own vacation. You can spend some more money to change your ticket or go to that destination and just vacation it up.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I don't think that I was trying to modify anyone's comment. I was merely pointing out that "WHAT KIND OF FRIEND ARE YOU?????!!!!" was probably a little harsher than it needed to be.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
lol . . .i like when people want to modify other folks comments. It's so American. I feel like this; if $400 was such a splurge, then maybe you shouldn't have been booking the trip. in all honesty. You can't afford to fly somewhere because you could pay a bill with the money instead, i would've never accepted such an invite. if you call yourself being a performer (i'm not sure if you're a semi-pro wedding singer, or just a good friend who has a nice voice), maybe you should have contracts on such matters. it's professional, and it's business. ex-bride won't be pissed about upholding to a contract (unless you are a big baby about it).
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
Wow, gossipqueen, harsh much? Yes, it would seem insensitive to ask for the money back, but not everyone has $400 that they can just lose. For me that's half my rent, or my car insurance, or my energy bill for the month. It's a big deal! She didn't write in asking for people to rip her apart, so maybe people should look at whether they're being insensitive too before ripping someone apart who was looking for advice on a tough situation. Sorry, rant over, it just really irks me when people feel free to throw insults around without all the facts. Hopefully people are nicer to you the next time that you have to ask for advice.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
The same thing happened to me, one of my friends cancelled her wedding and I had already bought my ticket. Instead of making a huge deal out of it. All the girls that were bridesmaids took her away for the weekend she was to get married. It was a lot of fun and we had a great time helping her forget what should have been going on!
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Ohhh Gossipqueen! i love the !@#$#$ it sounds like you used a word i like to use. ---- i'm just trying to figure out who the hell would even ask that question . . .like she's the only one who booked a flight. Like she's Beyonce booked for the event. Being able to sing "I Will Always Love" You does not justify this diva behavior.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 9 years
WHAT KIND OF FRIEND ARE YOU?????!!!! Her marriage dreams just felt apart...she's probably lost TONS of money...and the embarrasment of having to call a wedding off...OMFG! get a grip...your life is peaches and cream compared to hers right now...GO ON A VACATION you selfish !@#$#$!
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
This is my thing: If you weren't going to sing, weren't you more than likely going to the wedding anyways??? Usually, you can transfer the ticket to another destination. it's not that deep. yeah, your $400 bucks is gone, but look at her situation. -no refund on the location for the wedding -a sh*tload of flowers -a wedding dress -cake deposit, gone i can keep going... PLUS, she has to send out cards saying, "my fiance dumped me. there's no wedding. sorry you went out and bought us gifts. Sorry you have to stand in a line to return them." THAT alone will cut a gal in half. you're not the only person who paid for a ticket that has to change plans.
Jack-D Jack-D 9 years
My wedding was called off a few years ago and I needed my friends at my side. I know that $400 is a lot of money, but think of your friend. She was supposed to start her life with this person and now is not even speaking to them. I would still go and visit. She needs you right now. Period
Deanern Deanern 9 years
listen.. the 400 dollars would have been spent whether you went to the wedding or not, since it's nonrefundable. If you went to the wedding, you would have been fine spending the 400 dollars, but since the wedding is off, you feel you deserve it back. But it's important to understand that you feeling like the money should be reimbursed is more like saying "well i didn't get to have a good time at your wedding, so give me my money back" instead of realizing that the whole purpose of the wedding was for your FRIEND, so the 400 dollars was really just supporting her as a friend, no matter how things ended up-- not just to have fun as a wedding. For this reason, i don't think you should ask her this moment for money back, if at all. If she offers, then yes, but the money was sunk cost (money already spent, so you shouldn't make any decisions on it).
geebers geebers 9 years
I agree with everyone else- asking for your money back is really not the best idea. If she offers, great- but just let it go and try to get that money in other ways. I love the idea of visiting her -if it is too late or the day has passed- can you try changing it. Some extra fee may apply to change the ticket but at least you are traveling somewhere and getting SOMETHING out of it right?
lawchick lawchick 9 years
this sucks for you, BUT, it is not your friend's fault that you bought a non-refundable ticket. I have done that before and gotten stuck with it (mine was non-transferable, too) and will never buy that kind of ticket again. I think the poster who recommended using the ticket to just go visit your friend had a great idea!!
bonbonagogo bonbonagogo 9 years
As someone who's own wedding was canceled and who lost loads of money due to it, PLEASE do not ask for any sort of reimbursement. There may also be other sorts of costs getting her own place, new furniture, etc....What you REALLY should do is go and visit her that weekend. She will really need her friends around. No matter who called the wedding off or what a good idea it was, it's going to be a sad day. As happy as I was that I was no longer with my fiance, I was just so so sad the day of my wedding.
Sporky Sporky 9 years
I'm with plasticapple, take a vacation and make the best of it. If you can't, DON'T ask her, at least not now. If it continues to bother you, at least wait a little while and see how she's doing before you do that.
Indigo4320 Indigo4320 9 years
If you don't want to use the ticket to go see her, then change the destination. Get your money's worth out of it at least. But I wouldn't ask for reimbursement. As big of a bummer as it is to be out $400 because of a friends change of heart, you'd be putting your friend in a tough spot if you inquired about the chance of her reimbursing you.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 9 years
Nope. Shouldn't ask her. If a wedding is cancelled, the bridal party doesn't get reimbursed, and neither should you. Maybe you can call the airlines and change up the tickets to go somewhere fun or to visit family?
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
I agree with everyone saying use the tickets to visit her or go somewhere else. I also think everyone is being too harsh. $400 is a lot of money and who knows if you paid cash or put it on a credit card that you will now be paying interest on. I am stuck on this one. It is inappropriate to ask for money at this point in time. Just pray that it will come back to you. :shrug: Sorry not much help.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Just take a short vacation there! You might be able to adjust the dates of the trip. I would definitely still do the travel.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
I think that a lot of people are being too harsh on the poster. $400 is a lot of money to some people, and it sucks, REALLY sucks, that it's getting flushed down the toilet. I'd be really pissed off if that happened to me. But I still don't think that asking for the money is a good idea. I don't think it's as selfish as some people have said, but the friend is probably in a really bad frame of mind right now. I agree with the other posters who've suggested using the ticket to go visit her or trading it in for another destination.
jaxon jaxon 9 years
I'm with lolalu, a $400 plane ticket, at least to me, would be huge deal. It completely sucks your friend broke off her engagement but let's not assume she is so broken hearted that you asking her for yur money would kill her. Maybe it was HER choice and she is happy about it. If you were ONLY going to the wedding to sing, I'd ask. Not right away but I would. If you were an invited guest whether you sang or not then no don't expect to get reimbursed
lolalu lolalu 9 years
I don't think it would be selfish to ask for the money, especially in this economy every little bit counts. A $400.00 non refundable flight is a big deal. You should never feel bad for trying to take care of yourself financially. But with that being said I don't think your friend has any obligation to pay you back. Unless she offered to pay for, or chip in for your flight before the wedding was cancelled, she doesn't owe you anything.
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