How to Cancel an Event (+ 5 “Event Canceled” Email Templates)

Learn how to cancel an event gracefully yet professionally. Use our "event canceled" email templates to notify attendees and maintain brand integrity.

Published on February 5, 2024 • About 6 min. read
event canceled

In an ideal world, every event you planned to host would go off without a hitch. But in rare cases, your team may have to make the difficult decision to cancel an event.

In this article, we'll cover how to announce "event canceled" the right way—so you can minimize any inconvenience for attendees or loss of trust in your business.


Livestorm helps teams collaborate and deliver memorable live or on-demand video experiences.

When to consider canceling an event

When your event marketing team is committed to running successful events, canceling should be your last resort. But in some situations, calling it off may be the best option.

Consider canceling an in-person or virtual event in scenarios like these:

  • Venue problems have led to serious technical issues. Canceling may also be the right choice if the venue has safety or comfort issues that diminish the event's value.
  • Schedule conflicts or travel delays will prevent speakers from participating in the event as planned. This reason holds even more weight for keynote speakers.
  • Bad weather or severe storms will likely put attendees or speakers in danger. You might also consider canceling if inclement weather will decrease attendance dramatically.
  • Low attendance will likely make the event significantly less valuable for speakers and attendees. In this case, canceling isn't your only option. See more tips below.
  • Health and safety concerns are likely to impact the event seriously. For example, the pandemic caused an event marketing trend that caused many event marketers to call off conferences and summits.

To make the right decision for your team, speakers, and attendees, consider the risks of cancellation carefully. If attendees or speakers depended on your event to make connections or get information, a canceled event could create a major inconvenience or compromise trust.

Calling off an event can also have a negative effect on partnerships, especially for co-marketed events. For in-person events, last-minute venue cancellations can lead to substantial fees.

Event canceled vs. postponed: When to reschedule an event

Before announcing your decision to cancel the event, ensure you've exhausted all other options. For example:

  • Could another speaker take the place of someone with a schedule conflict?
  • Could you move an in-person event to an alternative venue nearby?
  • Could you host a virtual event using different video conferencing software?
  • Could you promote the event on different channels to improve registration?
event marketer working on a laptop

Remember that cancellation is a relatively final decision that implies the event will never happen. Is postponing a possibility? Consider rescheduling if:

  • You can find another date that doesn't conflict with other major industry events. That way you can still hold your event without risking low attendance.
  • The original speakers can easily accommodate the rescheduled date. If not, you may be better off canceling the original and planning a completely new event.
  • The event content will remain relevant for the foreseeable future. If the material is time-sensitive, it probably doesn't make sense to reschedule the event.

Livestorm helps teams collaborate and deliver memorable live or on-demand video experiences.

How to cancel your event in 7 steps

Are you ready to move forward with an event cancellation? Follow these steps.

1. Discuss the decision with stakeholders

First, hold an in-person or virtual meeting with key stakeholders. While your events team may lead the meeting, they shouldn't be the only people in attendance.

in-person meeting

It's also a good idea to invite your level team so you can assess risks properly. You may also opt to invite speakers, especially if you plan to reschedule the event.

Come to a conclusion that everyone can agree upon. Ensure your decision and next steps align with your organization's event marketing strategy.

2. Create messaging with clear reasoning

Work with your events team to craft clear messaging about the cancellation. Use this general framework as a guide, and use the templates below for more specific messaging:

  • Start with a sincere apology
  • Briefly state the reason for the cancellation
  • Explain how and when refunds will be issued
  • Clarify whether the event will be rescheduled

Remember that the framework above is a good place to start informing attendees. When updating speakers or presenters, make sure to thank them for the time they invested and tell them how they can participate in the next event.

3. Send event cancellation emails to attendees

Once you've decided on a message, send it to attendees. The process for this step varies based on the event type (i.e., virtual or in-person) and the software you used for registration.

For example, if you use Livestorm for virtual events, you can easily create an email template to send to attendees. You can use dynamic copy to customize the template efficiently.

event canceled email template in Livestorm

Make sure to send this message before canceling the event in Livestorm.

4. Publish an "event canceled" announcement

Don't rely on email alone. To ensure that everyone affected knows the event is canceled, publish an announcement on your website, social media, and other relevant channels.

While you may change the wording slightly to fit the channel, keep the messaging the same. Share a brief apology, provide a clear reason, and clarify next steps.

5. Complete the cancellation via software or venue

Next, complete the cancellation process. For in-person events, follow the steps provided by the venue you booked.

For virtual events, the process is much easier. If you use virtual event software like Livestorm, you can cancel an event with one click.

event cancellation workflow in Livestorm

Alternatively, you can update the timing for the event if you already decided on a new date.

6. Refund ticket sales for paid events

If the event required paid tickets, take steps to refund them as quickly as possible. Contact your payment processor to complete refunds promptly so you can retain trust and avoid negative feedback.

7. Reschedule the event if appropriate

If you plan to reschedule the event, make an announcement as soon as you confirm a new date. Engage attendees who registered for the original event as early as possible in the process.

For example, you may want to extend a special early bird ticket sale or send an exclusive announcement to the event's original attendees. Using this approach, you can increase attendance quickly while building trust with your audience.

5 Event cancellation email templates

Can't figure out how to phrase your announcement? Use these event cancellation email examples as a framework for your own message.

Weather-related event cancellation email template

We're sending this message to inform you that we've made the difficult decision to cancel (event name). Weather reports for (date) reflect a high likelihood of (weather), and we must put the safety of speakers and attendees first.

We're as disappointed as you are about this turn of events. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this cancellation may cause. We look forward to welcoming you at next year's event, the dates for which we intend to confirm very soon.

Health and safety-related event cancellation email template

It's with a heavy heart that we must announce (event) is canceled due to (health and safety concern). We understand how important this event is for many (industry) business owners year after year.

While it won't be possible to host this event in person in (year), we're committed to hosting virtual events throughout the year. Please look forward to more details about these events. We hope to see you online.

Venue-related event cancellation email template

We regret to inform you that after careful consideration, (event) has been canceled due to (problem with venue). (Organizer) understands that this change in plans may cause significant inconvenience for your team.

We want to express how disappointed we are by this turn of events. However, these circumstances are beyond our control.

If you have any questions about how you can participate in our next event, please visit our FAQ page here: (link).

Event cancellation email template with refund information

With regret, we must inform you that (organizer) has made the decision to cancel (event). Unfortunately, (reason) will prevent us from holding the event as planned.

All ticket holders will receive a full refund using the original payment method within 10 business days. In the event that (organizer) is able to reschedule the event, all original ticket holders will receive a presale code for the purchase of a new ticket.

We thank you for your support and hope to connect with you soon. Please reply directly to this message with any questions or concerns.

Rescheduled event email template

We're writing with good news and bad news. First, the bad news: we've had to postpone (event). Due to (reason), we believe this decision is in the attendees' best interest.

Now for the good news: we've already secured an alternative date. (Event) will now take place exactly three weeks later, on (date). Sessions and speakers will remain the same.

Please mark your calendar to reflect this updated timeline. We look forward to welcoming you to (event). It's going to be an event to remember!

Livestorm for your next virtual event

When you host virtual events, you need software that adapts to meet your needs—including schedule changes. With Livestorm, you can host online conferences, webinars, and meetings.

Livestorm can simplify your virtual event workflow and help you leverage the latest event marketing trends by offering:

  • Email cadences to manage reminders, updates, and post-event follow-ups
  • Custom registration pages to streamline registration and improve attendance
  • Browser-based virtual event software that makes it easy for everyone to attend
  • On-demand recordings you can distribute to attendees and use for marketing
  • Integrations with marketing automation and customer relationship management tools