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Pile of Wedding InvitationsMarriage ceremonies are usually joyous occasions that involve the closest friends and family members. It’s a time when two people pledge their love and agree to share their lives as spouses. Receiving a wedding invitation means that you’re special to the engaged couple and your presence is desired to help make the day truly special. For many invitees, a response in the affirmative is a no-brainer, but you need to decline. Is there a right way to do so? Here are some things to think about.

Easier Reasons To Say No

It’s easier to decline an invitation when you’re not that close to the couple. If you have a strong connection, it can be more difficult; however, there are a few situations in which a “no” is the right response:

  • Previous Conflict: If you have another event or wedding scheduled for the same time, this is a good reason to decline the invitation. You’re an amazing person full of talent and love, but you can’t be in two places at the same time.
  • Illness: You won’t do anyone any favors attending a wedding while sick. It’s a special occasion for the celebrants as well as invited guests. You’ll be miserable and you may cause harm to others if you’re contagious. During a pandemic, immunocompromised persons or those who are otherwise vulnerable should think carefully about not attending for the sake of their health.
  • Finances: Money can be a very sensitive topic, so declining due to finances may not be the easiest reason. The reality is that if you don’t have the money to attend, especially if it’s a destination wedding, you shouldn’t go into debt just to avoid saying no. Consider also that members of the wedding party are often expected to spend money on attire and other events. If it’s not financially possible for you to attend or participate, you should say so.

Harder Motivations for Declining

You may have a reason to decline that is more personal, subjective, or emotional. It’s important to recognize this and carefully consider how you respond. You should not feel obligated to do something that you don’t want to do, but a declination may strain your relationships, not only with the engaged couple but other loved ones also. You may not be in agreement with the union or this particular event may dredge up negative feelings. How you decline matters, so consider these tips:

  • Respond quickly: If you get a save-the-date card or other invitation, respond promptly and per the request. For example, if the couple is expecting RSVPs via a website, answer accordingly.
  • Decline lovingly and apologetically: Avoid curt responses or anything that could be interpreted as hostile. Consider couching your response with enthusiasm for the marriage. Apologize for not being able to attend, especially if you’re close to either member of the couple.
  • Attend other events: Maybe you can’t make the wedding but you can attend a bachelor or bachelorette event, bridal shower, or rehearsal dinner. If this is the case, let the couple know.
  • Buy a wedding gift: You may not be able to lend your presence, but you can send presents. If the couple has a gift registry, consider buying a present and having it sent to a listed address or to the venue of the wedding or reception, if known.
  • Be creative: It’s not advised to buy a gift that’s not on the registry, but there may be other ways for you to show support. Ask the person who invited you for other ways to be supportive. While it may not be the same as your attendance, it’s a great way to show that you care.

Marriage ceremonies can be some of the most festive and heartwarming affairs. However, attending and participating aren’t always an option. How you decline can impact your relationships with the happy couple, so be careful, clear, and intentional with your approach.

Category: Wedding Planning

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