Shannon Tilley's strapless ivory bridal gown hangs in her guest-room closet as a reminder of the biggest day of her life—the day she decided not to tie the knot. Last-straw moment: Her fiancé had run to the store to pick up a few things for a dinner party they were throwing and came home hours later, drunk. She broke it off, and wrote an e-mail to family and friends.
A cancelled wedding is nothing new—10 to 15 percent are called off annually. But Tilley, a 36-year-old marketing manager from Atlanta, is on the cusp of a growing trend: women doing the walking. While numbers are hard to come by, wedding planners like Marley Majcher of The Party Goddess in L.A. and Erin Halley of Erin Halley Events & Productions in New York say 75 percent of back-outs now come from the bride—the same percentage, by Majcher's count, that came from the groom only a few years ago. Rachel Safier, who launched theregoesthebride.com—where thousands of women have shared their broken-engagement stories—agrees. "In 2003, when we started, most of the women had been dumped. But now the majority of dumpers are the brides," she says. While some blame the recession, Majcher sees another culprit: "The urgency for women to get married just isn't there anymore," she says. In other words, when the gal in the white dress earns as much as the guy in the tux, there's less pressure for her to sprint to the altar for the wrong reasons. Which gives her the freedom to marry for the right ones. Or not at all.
Check out our
Wedding Survival Guide to learn how to get through the madness in style—whether you're a guest or the bride.