see it clearly
Learn more

Breaking the Engagement

Recalling the Wedding Invitation

A sudden death in the family, illness, accident, or other serious happening, warrants the recall of wedding invitations. The parents of the bride should immediately notify guests of the postponement of the wedding, by issuing printed cards.

Breaking the Engagement

A good size for these cards is three and a quarter inches in length by one and one-quarter inches in width. The text is usually voided in this manner:

Owing to the sudden death of Mr. Henry
Robert's father, Mr. and Mrs. James Curtis are
compelled to recall the invitations for their
daughter's wedding on Thursday, February the

Mr. and Mrs. James Curtis beg to recall the
invitations issued for the marriage of their
daughter, Grace Helen, and Mr. Henry Roberts,
on Thursday, February the fourth.

Breaking an Engagement

A broken engagement is always embarrassing for both the young man and the young lady. Friends, if they are truly well-bred, will not ask questions, and relatives will not demand explanations. The obligations which such a situation entails are unpleasant, but it is infinitely better to go through the ordeal than to face a marriage which is certain to end in disaster.

At such a time it is important for the young lady to have the utmost dignity and self-possession. She is not expected to make any announcement or offer any explanations. If a reception has been scheduled, her mother sends brief notes or engraved cards to those who have been invited, informing them that the engagement has been broken. The young lady, if she wishes, may confide in her intimate friends; but to be bitter, to condemn her former suitor in any may, to suggest that perhaps he was not all that she thought he was at first, not only reflects on her own good judgment, but is very poor form and shows lack of delicacy.

If the announcement of the engagement has been made in the papers such a notice as this might be inserted in the name of the person or persons who first made the announcement:

Mr. and Mrs. C.D. Simmons announce that
by mutual consent the engagement between their daughter
Agnes and George Francis Richards
is at an end.

If invitations have been sent out a similar announcement may be dispatched to each intended guest. These should be engraved on white cards of the size recommended by the stationer.

If the engagement was announced only to intimate friends the bride should send each of them a note stating that the engagement is at an end. It is much better never to give an explanation. Such occasions as this must have given rise to the proverb, "Least said, soonest mended." Even to the bride's dearest friend the following note is sufficient:

Bellevue, June 1, 2001

Dear Ruth:

Since I wrote you last week something has happened which has made George and me reconsider our engagement. You will therefore please disregard the invitation for Thursday afternoon.

Ever sincerely yours,
Margaret Franklin.

Returning Gifts

When an engagement is broken off the young people return all expensive gifts and all letters that have passed between them. The young lady always, of course, returns the engagement ring.

If wedding presents have been received from friends these also must be returned with a brief note explaining that the wedding is not to take place. It is necessary to thank the donor as warmly as if nothing had happened.

Wedding Invitations

It takes a great deal of courage to face the situation bravely and to go through it without a sacrifice of dignity. One thing must be remembered: Don't be afraid of what people will say. It is not their happiness which is at stake.

When Death Intervenes

Often a death in the family occurs when preparations are under way for a wedding. If the death is that of a parent or very dear relative the wedding should be postponed, if circumstances permit, as a mark of respect and sincere sorrow for the deceased. But if the wedding must take place as scheduled, or even two or three months after the death, good taste and delicacy demand that it shall be quiet and simple, with only a few near relatives and friends present.

If the ceremony is performed in church there should be no garlands of gay flowers to strike a festive note. A bit of fern or other green foliage here and there is sufficient decoration. The bride may have one bridesmaid and a maid of honor-but an elaborate bridal train is considered poor taste within six months of a dearly beloved one's death. The ceremony itself is dispatched with expedience and rapidity, yet without any semblance whatever of haste.

Whether it is held in church or at home, the wedding during the period of mourning is characterized by a solemn simplicity that has none of the triumphant joyousness of the elaborate wedding. And still the occasion sacrifices none of its happiness, for sorrow brings to human nature the same mellow sweetness that the flight of time brings to un-tasted wine.