How to Turn Down a Wedding Invitation Gracefully

Etiquette, Invites & Stationery

Photo: Courtesy of Brides Fine Wedding Papers

Of course you want to attend a wedding to support the couple, but sometimes, it's just not in the cards. Whether the distance is too costly (that's why destination weddings are often smaller than most), or a last minute emergency pops up, not everyone can attend a close friend or family member's big day. If that's the case, you have to let the couple down gently and with tact. Here, our etiquette experts how to properly decline a wedding invitation or how to change your previous "Yes" RSVP at the last minute.

Can I RSVP no to a wedding because of the cost?
Yes, of course you can RSVP no for whatever reason you want. If it is the cost — a very understandable reason — just make sure not to include your excuse on the RSVP card. First, a reason for your "no" isn't required by etiquette, and it would only do more harm than good. If you feel like sending a gift regardless, by all means do, but don't feel any pressure to make it amount to your absence.

Can I change my RSVP at the last minute?
Only if there's a real emergency, you shouldn't be cancelling at the last minute — not only did the couple welcome you to celebrate a momentous occasion with them, they're shelling out a good amount of cash to have you there. If you must, though, be sure to send a gift with a heartfelt note, and maybe do something nice for the newlywed couple like take them to dinner to celebrate or host a small party of your own for them.

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