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How to (Politely) Reject a Wedding Invitation

You’ve been invited, but you simply can’t afford it. You might despise the couple, or barely know them at all. Either way, here’s how to say ”no”

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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
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About This Blog

Tying the knot shouldn't put knots in your stomach, so whether you're the blushing bride, hubby-to-be, or even a wedding guest, The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis can answer all of your wedding-related questions.

This blog hails from, the one-stop resource for services and products, promotions and specials, a Regional Bridal Show schedule, Wed Shop, and links to money-saving and wedding-related Web sites.

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