When Should You Cancel or Postpone Your Event?

To organize events is really a labor of love. Weeks of planning, and at times tears go into the event. Everybody wants his event to be huge success, however sometimes because of circumstances we cannot completely control, it is necessary to postpone or cancel an event. Ask any events management, no one likes to do this, and sadly there is not one piece of advice that applies to each situation. Here are some things to consider knowing when to cancel or postpone an event.


If the safety of the attendees can be compromised, it’s in your best interest to postpone or cancel the event. Excessive heat warning? Adverse whether condition? Potential tornado? Trust me; you would rather deal with a number of disappointed guests than dealing with the insurance agencies.

Social Cues

Nobody ever wishes for a natural disaster or a tragedy to happen, but they are clearly beyond our control. After a tragedy has occurred, many event organizers usually give people time to spend with the families and mourn the tragedy instead of attending events they had signed up for. It appeals to many people to postpone an event after such an occurrence and it is always considered a bad move if you move forward with an event.


If you think you cannot deliver on the ‘promises’ you made in your event prescription, it is always a good idea to postpone to a time that you will be able to deliver. For instance, if one week to your event you noticed that 50+ single ladies have signed up for the event and less than 15 single men are coming, just know that more than half of the ladies who bought tickets are bound to be upset. Here, it is better you decide to cut your losses on week out instead of disappointing a large group of your guests.

Notify Your Guests

If you end up having to postpone or cancel your event, it is crucial to remain in communication with the guests. A Cancellation Publicity Notice or a Postponement Publicity Notice needs to be placed in the media. This is done as early as possible, since many of your guests might have to cancel travel plans and hotel rooms. You have to send an announcement stating the postponement as well as the new date. It is common to include on the announcement the reasons for rescheduling.

Contact Your Vendors

Notify them that you are cancelling your event. You might be lucky that caterers haven’t ordered food but some deposits might not be refunded. Get an agreement with all the vendors and ensure they have approved receipt of the cancellation so that you will not be held accountable.

Contact Venue

Get in touch with the venue and let them know the cancellation or postponement. If the event is public tell them to take off event information from their websites, newsletters and marquees. Go around and remove all the fliers or signs about the event. Cancel any special promotions, commercials or radio advertising.

Unused Items 

Return any unused or unopened items back to stores, including things like entertainment supplies, decorations and party favors.


Issue refunds, if your event collected submission.

Kenneth Fabian, Founder & Owner of OGL Asia – a brand activation company specialising in Events, Exhibition and Design Communications since 1989. With 27 years of experience, Kenneth was able to gather the right contacts, strategies and resources to ensure an effective brand engagement.