How To Decline A Wedding Invitation After Accepting

If you’re interested in how to decline a wedding invitation after accepting, you need to know three etiquette tips to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. We’ll also provide polite examples to help you excuse yourself and decline a wedding invitation after accepting it. 

And speaking of wedding invitations, you must know how to use the response card correctly. For example, you might accidentally select yes instead of no, so please read how to fill out a wedding RSVP

how to decline a wedding invitation after accepting


Here’s How To Decline A Wedding Invitation After Accepting


Prepare a polite reason

Since you have already accepted the wedding invitation, you must prepare a reason before contacting the couple. You can write and lead it out loud first to know how it can be potentially interpreted. 

You don’t need to lie, but it’s better to pick polite wording when you decline a wedding invitation after accepting it. For example, you can mention that it’s a work matter that you forgot and only realized until now. 

Another potential reason the couple is likely to understand is if it’s a budget constraint or a family emergency. On the other hand, it would seem rude if you decide not to go to the wedding invite if you chose an event that is not of similar weight. 


Don’t be afraid to contact the couple as soon as possible

The critical point to declining a wedding invitation is to let the couple know as soon as possible. Understandably, you’re worried and nervous about breaking the news, mainly if you accept the invite beforehand. 

However, the couple will surely appreciate it more if they know about your final attendance as soon as possible. Then, they can contact the vendors with the final guest list, and it can potentially save them a seat or plate. 

Depending on the messaging limitations and availability, you can send a formal letter, text, or email to the couple. However, some might feel more at ease talking with the couple in person since it would be more genuine. 


Consider sending a gift

Another way to ease your worries and ensure that you’re still showing your support to the couple is by sending them a wedding gift. Note that you’re not giving a gift to bribe the couple or to expect them not to feel anything negative when you decline their invite after initially accepting. 

Instead, you’re doing what most guests who can’t attend the wedding typically do as well. You can even include a handwritten and genuine message to let the couple know you’re celebrating with them in spirit. 

There’s no need to write a long message or guilt-trip the couple. Be honest and make plans to meet with them after the wedding if you can commit. 

And as for couples who received something from a guest who declined their wedding invitation, you can read wedding thank you card wording for someone who didn’t attend


How Do You Politely Decline An Invitation Without Giving A Reason?

It’s hard to decline invitations, especially if you can’t give a reason due to personal matters. However, you don’t have to feel guilty, and you can still make the couple appreciate their invitation. 

Know that you’re also not obligated to give a reason if you’re uncomfortable. But instead, here are some tips you can apply when writing a message or talking to the couple who’s inviting you to their wedding and you can’t accept the invite:

  • Start by thanking the couple and acknowledging how honored you are that they invited you to their wedding
  • Use a simple but straightforward phrase like, “Sorry, but I won’t be able to attend.”
  • If the couple didn’t ask, you don’t need to panic and try to fill the moment with any words; if the couple pushed in asking for a reason, you can apologize again and say that you really can’t make it
  • You’re likely close to the couple, and that’s why they invited you to their wedding; therefore, they also know you and would understand if you seem uncomfortable elaborating the reason
  • You should still keep an open mind if the couple seems to get sad or disappointed; if you can genuinely commit, consider celebrating with them some other time


Is It Rude To Decline A Wedding Invitation?

It can be considered rude to decline a wedding invitation after accepting it, especially if you messaged the couple last minute. They might’ve finalized their guest headcount and paid for your plate.

Alternatively, they might’ve already cut the guest list and would have invited someone else. However, response cards exist, so anyone having a wedding expects that not everyone will accept their invitation. 

You can use the space on the card to say your reasons. Alternatively, you can message the couple to explain politely why you can’t attend. 


What Is A Good Excuse To Not Attend A Wedding?

Here are some polite excuses to decline invitations: 

  • Conflict with schedule
  • Family matters
  • Work commitment
  • Budget/travel limitations

However, know that you’re not obligated to explain why you can’t accept the invite if you’re uncomfortable. 



And that’s it! You just learned how to decline a wedding invitation after accepting it by preparing your polite excuse, letting the couple know as soon as possible, and sending a gift to ease your guilt. 

It’s essential to keep an open mind if the couple happens to be disappointed. Just remember to be sincere and never defensive.

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