How to Refuse Wedding Invites


There are many good reasons why you may plan to decline a wedding invitation. Maybe you are busy that day, or it’s a destination wedding and you can’t afford to spend on far-flung locales, or any a myriad of other personal reasons. Saying no to a wedding invitation is a great task that should be tackled skillfully. Your refusal can annoy or offend your inviter. Here is intensively researched wedding RSVP etiquette to help you figure out how to politely refuse wedding invites.

Respond Immediately

Most of the wedding stationary has a RSVP request on them. After accepting a wedding invitation, you must respond to the RSVP request promptly. Many times people accept the invitation, but they do not reply the request. This is not proper RSVP etiquette and may cut you off from future guest lists too. If you have decided to decline the invitation, check the “declines with regret” box confidently. Respect your decision and be firm.

How to Decline Politely and More RSVP Etiquettes

Always respond to an RSVP invitation in the same manner as it has been received. If you get an RSVP online or via email, reply back in the same mode. Closely related inviters can be handled by making a direct call. It can also prove to be a good gesture. A formal wedding invitation should be replied to formally.

Simple Explanation

Sometimes RSVP stationery comes with an additional blank card where you can convey your apologies for not attending the wedding ceremony. Use blue or black ink and don’t forget to mention the date of the event. How to refuse wedding invites? Here are some examples:

Mr. Lee send his regrets as he is unable to accept this invitation sent by Mr. and Mrs. Steve to be organized on the 29th of August.

If you want to decline it and there’s not an additional blank note as mentioned, just go for a simple write up on a plain white or cream colored paper or card, write the note and send it to the host. It should be short and to the point. Sentences like “We have another business to attend that day”, or “We will be off to another town” are just enough. You can explain the reason of your absence “a bit” if the host asks you (which rarely happens). Even a situation like this can be ignored by referring it as a “personal matter.”

An informal invitation should be conveyed informally just like a letter but a concise one. For example:

Dear Jennifer,

Silvester and I are so regretful that we will not be able to make it to your very special day on 29th of August as we will be out of town to attend another important event. I wish we could be there too. Sending lots of love and best wishes for you and your husband. Will celebrate your happiness as soon as you are back from your honeymoon.



There’s No Need to Explain in Many Cases

For those who feel guilty about it, do not indulge in writing a long and apologetic note to prove your are dying to be there. It happens! People miss events they have been invited to attend.

Blunt Rule: Keep it Short

The host’s concern behind the RSVP request is to get a final headcount for the catering budget. It is not about the financial matters or other problems you are having in life. That’s why you should not think too much about how to refuse wedding invites properly or finding excuses or the reasons for justifying yourself. You should be strictly clear on your point. Keep it short just like this one:

More Examples:

Dear Sarah or Gilbert (to whoever you want to address in bride or groom) It’s such a nice feeling that you are beginning a new start in your life. All my prayers and best wishes are with you. I can not make it to your “big day,” but I will be there in spirit. With lots of love. Xxxx

You May Consider a Congratulations Note

Following the wedding etiquette, you may also write a special “note of congratulations” for bride and groom. If you share a close relationship, then you can also send a $25 gift card. Of course, this is all up to you and how close you are to the couple.

Is It Ok to Decline the Invitation at the Last Minute?

Sometimes, something happens and you decide to not to attend the wedding at the last minute. Does it seem ok to do this? What would others think of you after? It seems ok only if it’s a real emergency. Never think of it as a positive action. The hosts are spending so much money on you as well as on other guests. It would be so unfair to do this to them at the last moment. Once you have checked that “happily accepts” box, you should make every possible effort to be there instead of planning of how to refuse last minute.

Stick with your Decision

Once you have decided whether to accept or decline the invitation, don’t encumber your mind with the baseless thoughts like “should I”, “shouldn’t I”, “I can”, “I can’t”, “No! I am not free”, “yes I am free”. Get over all these thoughts and move on.

Advice! If You Are Closely Related

If the host is a closely connected person there are various things that you can do to make up for missing the celebration along with the congratulation note. A few of them include:

Plan Something Cool

There are so many cool things that you can arrange or plan for this newlywed couple. Firstly, you can buy them some special gift like a bottle of wine, a colorful bouquet of flowers, a registry gift, or some useful journal to accompany them on honeymoon. Opting for special gift certificates for spa or some exciting restaurant are also quite trendy and thoughtful gifts these days. Or you can buy the couple tickets to some great movie show in cinema. Choose what you think would be best for the couple.


Dine Out

Celebrate this wedding with a special dinner out night with newlywed couple at some fabulous dining spot. Spend some quality time with them. Laughing over wedding things or honeymoon incidents, share drinks, watch movies or look at wedding pictures together. There is so much that you can do to lessen the regret of declining the wedding invitation at that time and continue this relationship on good terms.