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What to Do if a Vendor Cancels

Don’t Panic (We Know, It’s Hard) & Follow These 6 Steps

It’s every couple’s worst nightmare: You've hired your wedding dream team and one of your vendors has to back out of your big day due to unforeseen circumstances. Although this is a rare occurrence, it’s no secret that the pandemic hit businesses in the wedding industry hard. And even with things back up and running, some are still dealing with labor shortages, price hikes, supply chain issues, and other concerns.

"There are so many reasons a vendor could cancel on a client these days,” explains Holly Gray of Anything but Gray Events. “I've heard from vendors this year who are suffering from death, loss, in the midst of a divorce, filing bankruptcy, and even closing their businesses completely.”

So what do you do if this happens to you? First, don’t panic (we know, it’s hard). Take a deep breath and follow these steps.

Newlyweds on the beach
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Carpenter Photography, Featured in Coastal Calling: Wild Romance by the Beach

Call your wedding planner.

One way you can try to avoid this from happening to you is by hiring a wedding planner. A seasoned professional will recommend vendors that they've been working with for years and trust to show up and do the job they signed on for.

Another perk to having a planner: If the worst-case scenario happens, they will be on hand to figure out the next steps. “See if there are modifications or alternations that can be made to make it work, and if not, come to the table with suitable replacements or solutions you can offer your clients to ease any tension, soften the blow, and allow for the best possible outcome for all,” suggests Gray.

Even if you haven’t hired a planner, don’t hesitate to reach out to one for help if your vendor cancels. They might be able to connect you with someone for a fee.

Ceremony set up outdoors
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Yale Photography, Featured in Classic Modern Romance with Playful Retro Touches

Read your contract.

You want to make sure you have everything in black and white before you sign on the dotted line with any vendor, including who will fill in for the wedding professional if they can’t cover the event for any reason. If there isn’t a cancelation clause in the contract, insist that it's put in before signing and handing in your deposit.

Check your wedding insurance.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that things happen beyond our control. While wedding insurance won’t take away the stress of having a vendor cancel, it can soften the blow to your budget.

wedding inspiration
Photo courtesy of Xo and Fetti, Featured in Sunshine & Youth Meets Spanish Design

Talk to the vendor.

If there isn’t any mention in the contract about who will replace your missing vendor, ask them to recommend someone who can fill in for them. A true professional will want to make things right, so they’ll do their absolute best to put you in touch with an alternate.

Reach out to your other pros.

Call your other vendors to find out if they know anyone who can fill in for your missing pro. Wedding professionals in different fields work together often so chances are good that someone can connect you with a great replacement.

Blue Wedding Inspo
Photo courtesy of Stetten Wilson, Featured in Sailing Into Sunset

Get on social media.

Facebook can be a great resource for finding last-minute professionals. Post your problem in local wedding vendor groups that can hopefully point you in the right direction.


Hero photo courtesy of Xo and Fetti

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