What I Learned from My Canceled Weddings

My fiancé Edwin is quiet, loves intimate gatherings, and thinks less is more. I am loud, have absolutely no filter, and believe more is more. After getting engaged in 2007, we decided to meet somewhere in the middle by throwing a sophisticated dinner party in Italy for our wedding. Contracts were signed, money was converted into euros and our wedding was set for Sept. 25, 2009 in San Gimignano, a small town in the heart of Tuscany, whose name I've always mispronounced (much to the dismay of our Italian wedding planner). 

san gimignano villa
San Gimignano Villa
Photo Credit: Exclusive Italy Weddings

We were beyond ecstatic with our choice, but we didn't tell anyone about our brilliant plan until a few weeks later, which is when reality set in. Try telling your aerophobic parents that they'll need to travel a few thousand miles in order to attend their youngest daughter's nuptials in a foreign country. After a few glasses of cabernet, it was clear to me that this wasn't exactly a bright idea anymore. Breaking the news to my in-laws proved to be just as challenging. They had a hard time accepting the idea of an intimate soirée; we truly did not wish to invite our entire neighborhood to the celebration. Besides, we'd much prefer to wed in the land of amore, rather than our hometown of Jacksonville, FL.

Edwin's parents agreed to pay for our entire wedding if we played by their rules, so pleasing them became my top priority. A free wedding was more than we could ask for—what could possibly go wrong this second time around? The opinions were, by far, the worst part, as whoever pays truly has the first (and last) say. The guest list soon maxed out over 200. Although this wedding no longer reflected our style, the loveliest detail of all was the venue we chose in downtown St. Augustine. Charming can't even begin to describe the nation's oldest city. But the further we progressed into this second wedding, the more we lost our voices, as well as our sanity. This wasn't our wedding anymore; it was Edwin's parents.

saint augustine
The Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine
Photo Credit: Gwendolyn Tunderman Photography

Then, the economy crashed and we were forced to cancel our wedding for the second time in less than a year. Heartbreak sank in pretty quickly. When everyone knows about your impending nuptials, it makes explaining the situation (which should be a private matter) all the more difficult. The best piece of advice that I can give brides who are going through a similar experience is to hold your head up: Job loss, money woes and a turbulent economy are the new norm. The faster you can let your guests know, the better, especially if they've made travel arrangements to attend your big day. Although you may lose your deposits, it's better to cancel your contracts sooner, rather than later, because those payments may increase in value as time goes on. I was surprised by how empathetic my vendors were. 

The biggest regret that I've had during our wedding planning is that we didn't stay true to our vision. Follow your heart (and budget) and everything will fall into place!

They say the third time is the charm...

— Angelica Bragg

the bridal detective
Angelica Bragg is a real bride and the blog maven of The Bridal Detective. She and her fiancé, Edwin Mirzayans (a published author), are planning a destination wedding at the Italian Lakes in Summer 2014. With a stunning backdrop and "la dolce vita" attitude, the couple's soiré
e will be intimate and romantic, all while celebrating two cultures. When the couple returns from their Italian road trip honeymoon, they will throw a glam after-party with all of their loved ones back home in Jacksonville, Florida.


Featured: David Tutera on How to Keep Your Reception Fun. See more Q&As with David