How To Decline A Wedding Invitation Politely

You have three considerations when learning how to decline a wedding invitation politely. This etiquette guide will help you construct the best wording if you don’t know how to decline a wedding invite. 

We’ll also set examples on what to say if you can’t attend a wedding. Then, please check how to fill out the wedding RSVP in case you can actually come to the wedding. 

how to decline a wedding invitation


Here Is How To Decline A Wedding Invitation Politely


Think carefully about your decision before contacting the couple

Before you message the couple about not coming to their wedding, ensure that you indeed can’t attend. You don’t want to confuse the couple because of sudden changes, not just because of decency, but also to not mess up their guest list and headcount. 

Think about declining the wedding invitation for a day or two before contacting the couple. You can also use this time to check if you really can’t come to the wedding because of multiple reasons. 

Perhaps you can’t go because of a conflict in your schedule, or you don’t want to. Then, assess your closeness and how much you know the couple to determine the best wording and medium to decline their wedding invite. 


Be straightforward with your reasons when declining a wedding invitation

After careful consideration, you can plan the wording for breaking the news to the couple. You want to be polite but also straightforward. 

When declining a wedding invitation, your relationship with the couple will dictate how you’ll tell them you can’t come. It can be replying on the RSVP card if you’re not that close or inviting them over dinner or via a phone call if you’re a friend or relative. 

Begin by saying your gratitude that they’ve invited you, then tell them a concise reason why you can’t come. In some cases, white lies are necessary to avoid misunderstandings, but never deceive or fabricate the explanation about why you can’t go. 


Consider alternative options if you can’t attend the wedding

Besides knowing the best way to turn down a wedding with the right approach and wording, you can do other things to show your support to the couple. After all, they did invite you to their special occasion, which means they appreciate your presence in their union. 

For example, you can figure out a way to be at the wedding even in spirit. Perhaps you can create a video message or forward a personalized speech to have your presence even if you’re not there. 

You can also still send a gift even if you’re not attending, then pen a sweet note with the gift to show your gratitude for being invited or even as a part of the couple’s lives. And finally, you can always set a different schedule with the couple, especially if you’re really close to them and would’ve wanted to come to their wedding. 


What To Write When You Can’t Attend A Wedding?

Understandably, it’s daunting to plan how to decline a wedding invitation to ensure that you’ll sound polite and grateful, especially when you’re a close relative or friend to the couple. So if you can’t attend their wedding, try the following tips to know what to write or even say if you decide to call or meet them instead of messaging them or writing to the RSVP card. 

  • Be upfront about your reason for declining; some reasons might feel awkward to say, or perhaps the reason should be kept secret first, so you can also be vague rather than blatantly lying 
  • You don’t need to write several paragraphs, but instead, focus on mentioning the reason for declining the wedding invite, then talk about how you’re thankful for being invited, and also offer some alternative ways to show support, whichever you choose


How do you decline an invitation politely example:

Choose the appropriate wording when declining a wedding invite based on your reason and closeness to the couple. 

  • Thank you so much for the invitation, but I regret to inform you that I can’t come because of prior commitments. Please accept my congratulations, and I hope we can see each other another time. 
  • I would love to celebrate with you, but I have some conflicting commitments to attend to. I appreciate the invitation, and I’m sending my best wishes to you.
  • Thank you so much for the invitation! It means a lot to me, but unfortunately, I can’t come due to a conflict with my schedule. Still, know that my love and support will always be with you. Best wishes!
  • I’m genuinely sorry that I can’t come to the wedding because of prior responsibilities. Promise that I’ll be thinking of you on your wedding day!
  • I am very sorry to say that I won’t make it to the wedding because of a commitment. I’m sending my best wishes to you, and I hope you’ll have the best day even if we have to celebrate from afar. 



And that’s it! We just learned how to decline a wedding invitation by confirming your decision, choosing the best platform and wording, and offering an alternative way to support the couple. 

It’s better to be upfront with your reason as long as you maintain politeness. And as for guests who can’t come but want to bring someone, read how to ask for a plus one to a wedding

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