How to Decline a Wedding Invitation With Etiquette (2023)

how to decline a wedding invitation

Is it wedding season already? Are you getting swamped with invites from every corner? Perhaps you’re wondering how to decline a wedding invitation. There are lots of good reasons why you’d need to do so. They may relate to your financial situation, health reasons, or work. Or maybe you just don’t feel comfortable attending without a partner. However, that doesn’t mean that saying no is an easy thing to do. Since a couple is about to celebrate the most important day of their lives, they’d appreciate some etiquette in the matter. 

You’ll want to politely decline the invitation. Otherwise, you’ll just create some negativity in your relationship. That’s certainly not something you aim to do. You want to remain on good terms regardless of whether you’re able to attend their big day. 

Other than being courteous and polite throughout the process, there are some other things to keep in mind. Read on. We’ll explain all you have to know about declining a wedding invitation. You’ll discover the reasons many people give and some ways to keep the couple happy. Lastly, we’ll cover a whole list of phrases you can use to express your regrets. Let’s get the ball rolling.

The Most Common Reasons for Declining a Wedding Invitation

A wedding is a very special time as it is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the loving couple. It’s the day two people say “yes” to being together for the rest of their lives. Saying you’re unable to attend someone’s big day is difficult, but at times, it’s necessary. Whatever it is, you’ve probably got a very good reason to decline. Here are some popular ones:

  • Budgeting: Are you in a sticky financial situation? Maybe you are finding it hard to make ends meet. After all, all of us are suffering from the high cost of rent and groceries. 
  • Scheduling Conflicts: You may be a very busy person, juggling work and family among other things. Perhaps you’ve got a very important event on the day of the wedding that you can’t afford to miss. 
  • Emotional Reasons: Afraid of attending the wedding as a single person? It may be hard to deal with the stares and questions. But the couple may not understand what the big deal is. Explain your feelings as gently as possible.
  • Vacation Days: Seeing that many weddings occur between summer and fall, you may have used up all your vacation days. Weekday weddings are also getting trendy, contradicting your work commitments. In these cases, saying no is perfectly understandable.
  • Health Reasons: Weddings are tiring. If you’re suffering from illness or anxiety, they’re not the best situation to be in. There’s no need to be specific. It’s a private matter. If you’re close to the couple, explain your reason and they’ll understand.
The Most Common Reasons for Declining a Wedding Invitation
There are many reasons to decline a wedding invitation.

How to Decline a Wedding Invitation

Now that you are familiar with common reasons people aren’t able to attend weddings, let’s get down to the gist of this article: how to decline an invitation. Simply saying no isn’t exactly polite. Gently explaining your situation and reason is the best way to approach the issue. Here are some ways to do things the right way:

Reply as soon as possible:

Wedding invitations usually go out around two months before the big day. A couple wants to ensure that people have enough time to book their tickets and so on. If you can’t attend, inform the lovebirds as early as you can with the accompanying RSVP card. Give them ample time to make other arrangements.

How to Decline a Wedding Invitation
Send the rejection as soon as possible.

Send an email or a text message: 

For a slightly more personal touch, draft and send a polite email or text message that explains the situation. If you feel comfortable sharing the reason you’re unable to attend in your wedding decline message, do that. Otherwise, just express how sorry you are for having to say no.

Send gifts: 

Just because you cannot attend a couple’s big day, that doesn’t mean they should go without wedding gifts. Send one anyway to ensure they know how sorry you are. If you’re wondering how to reject an invitation in style, you’ll never go wrong with a gift. Scout the registry for something appropriate, and make it count!

Make a phone call: 

If you are more comfortable expressing yourself on the phone, decline the invite over a call. Naturally, you’ll want to speak politely and not rush the conversation. Explain your reasons and regrets, preferably in a quiet place. Don’t place your call in the middle of a subway station or when your kids are playing around you! 

Be honest

This point is sensible. However, it might be hard to do depending on the situation. If you value your relationship, honesty is surely the best policy. The couple will put themselves in your shoes and understand your reasons for having to say no. If you aren’t sure what to say, continue to the next section for some sample phrases.

Make an appointment to participate in another part of the wedding: 

For some couples, weddings don’t just happen over the course of a day. In some situations, they’ll have pre-wedding festivities. Perhaps you can attend one or two of them to show your support. If you’re close, consider attending the bride’s fitting or wedding shower instead of the big day.

Make an appointment to participate in another part of the wedding
If possible, arrange a time to attend another part of the wedding.

How to Decline a Wedding Invitation of a Family Member

Saying no to family is harder than someone that’s a mere acquaintance. This event is a chance to reconnect with people that matter in your life. However, there are just some weddings that you cannot attend due to personal reasons. So, are you wondering how to say no to an invitation from a loved one? Be honest and send a gift.

How to Decline an Invitation You Have Already Accepted

You may have agreed to attend a wedding. Nonetheless, life gets in the way. Here’s how to decline an invitation you’ve accepted. First, you must state your reason, and make sure it’s a good one! The couple will appreciate the gesture, especially if they’ve made arrangements to include you in their big day.

Handy Sample Phrases to Decline Wedding Invitations

Being unable to attend a wedding isn’t a nice situation to be in. However, you probably have a very good reason. Are you searching for the right words to say? Here are some polite sentences you can use. Choose the appropriate one depending on your case.

Handy Sample Phrases to Decline Wedding Invitations
Some popular wedding invitation rejection sentences.
  • Thank you so much for the invite. Unfortunately, I can’t make it to your wedding.
  • I really wish I could attend your big day, but I already made other plans I can’t cancel.
  • I appreciate the invitation, but I’ve got a few prior commitments in the way.
  • Congratulations! Unfortunately, I have to decline due to a scheduling conflict. 
  • What an honor to receive an invitation. However, due to personal reasons, I won’t be able to attend. 
  • I’m sorry. I wish I could come, but I’ll be away on that date.
  • I’m so happy for you! It’s such a shame I have a family event then, so I have to regretfully decline.
  • Due to unforeseen circumstances, I won’t be able to attend your big day after all. Congratulations.
  • I apologize. I’m facing some health issues that are preventing me from attending your wedding. 
  • I’m honored to be invited. Regretfully, I won’t be able to come as I’ve got an important work event that same day.
  • Thanks for the invite! Traveling to the venue will be a challenge for me. I’m sorry, but I have to decline. 
  • Nothing would make me happier than attending your wedding. However, I’ve got a doctor’s appointment I can’t reschedule.
  • I wish I could make it. Nonetheless, I need to be elsewhere that weekend.
  • I have a work event I can’t skip! However, I’ll be there in spirit, albeit not in person.
  • I’m so happy for both of you. I wish I could be there, but I can’t travel due to my illness.
  • Thank you for inviting me to your event. Due to financial constraints, I won’t be able to make it. 
  • My heartiest congratulations! I wish I could come, but I have a pre-planned trip I can’t cancel.

Express Your Regrets the Right Way

There’s no need to stress wondering how to decline a wedding invitation. As long as your reasons are sound, it’s all good. Now that you know what to say when you can’t attend a wedding, it’s time to make your move. 

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