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How to (Politely) Reject a Wedding Invitation

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Weddings are delightful events and, for the most part, the people who are invited to attend are eager to do so… right? Believe it or not, sometimes that’s not always the case. Read on…

A wedding guest asks: “I just received an invitation to a wedding and I don’t want to go. Are there justifiable reasons for turning down an invitation? How do I do it politely? Do I have to send a gift anyway?”

(See answer on next page)

» Read more about turning down a wedding invitation
» Read more from The Wedding Guru blog
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» Hudson Valley Weddings 2011
» View our Wedding Guide

 

Dear Valley wedding guest: Yes, there are justifiable reasons to say “no” to a wedding invitation! Here are some examples:

  • It’s a destination wedding and you can’t afford the traveling expenses*
  • It’s a formal event and you can’t afford the formalwear*
  • The bridal couple are merely acquaintances (your relationship isn’t strong enough to justify an invitation)
  • You’ve already attended one (or both) of the couple’s first/second weddings
  • You really aren’t fond of the bride and/or groom

There’s no law that says you have to send a gift if you’re not attending a wedding. Listen to your gut. If you feel you should send something because of your relationship to the couple, then you probably should. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable making a charitable contribution in their honor — one that doesn’t list the dollar amount you donated.

As for declining the invitation, the good news is that none of the above reasons needs to be stated to the couple when you R.S.V.P. According to wedding etiquette, the appropriate negative response to a formal wedding invitation is simply to say you regret you are unable to accept the invitation. That’s it!

If the bridal couple asks “why not?” just say, “Thank you for inviting me, but I cannot attend.” You’re still polite, but you shouldn’t have to make an excuse — or worse yet, lie.

*(P.S. If your reason for not attending is a money issue, perhaps you can pare down the gift you’re giving so that your budget isn’t blown. Any thoughts?)

» Read more about turning down a wedding invitation
» Read more from The Wedding Guru blog
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» Hudson Valley Weddings 2011
» View our Wedding Guide

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