People are waiting until they are older to get married, and they're having longer engagements — which is a good thing, as proved by ever-lowering divorce rates in states where couples take their time getting hitched. But whatever the age and length of betrothal, there are those who get engaged and, for whatever reason, decide to call off the wedding. And while this is generally seen as a sad occasion, the reality is that calling off a wedding is much better — for everyone — than getting married to the wrong person or when you aren't ready. And some couples decide that the idea of a wedding is so stressful that halfway through the planning (or later), they elope.

But depending on where the couple is in the planning process, that could mean losing serious cash on deposits for the reception venue and food, not to mention bride and groom's clothing, accessories and other wedding accoutrements. What is a couple (and/or their family) to do on the occasion of canceled nuptials? With wedding costs higher than ever, it can be a serious financial setback to say "no." 

Aside from donating the wedding dinner to the local homeless population (this heartwarming series of events, which the family dubbed the Fowler Family Celebration of Love, happened last week), there aren't that many options — until now.

Two startup businesses have recently teamed up to help make the best of what is a difficult situation. According to BusinessNewsDaily, entrepreneur Josh Opperman's I Do Now I Don't, a wedding ring and dress resale site, and Peter Ulrich, who recently founded Canceled Weddings, are working together to address all the needs for folks who have canceled a wedding — and offering great deals to others planning weddings of their own. 

OK, so there's an obvious supply (nixed nuptials) — and plain demand (bargain-hunting brides and grooms), but isn't it a little bit ... weird to buy someone's unused wedding? 

"The wedding industry is so focused on love and happiness," Mara Opperman, co-founder of I Do Now I Don't, told BusinessNewsDaily. "It's tough to break that barrier and get past the stigma of a secondhand wedding. But we've received so much positive feedback, and clients are really very happy."

Like used wedding dresses, the idea of reusing and, importantly, not wasting, is modern, and being ashamed and embarrassed about making a very human mistake or looking to do a great wedding on a budget is just old-fashioned. Not to mention that some of the weddings that are being sold at a discount come almost completely pre-planned, which can be a boon for couples who are overwhelmed by the idea of planning a wedding. 

What do you think of the idea of recycling a wedding? 

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

The upside of canceled weddings
Just because the nuptials are nixed doesn't mean all is lost.