When You Have to Decline a Wedding Invitation
What do you do when you have to RSVP ‘decline’ to a close friend or family member’s wedding? Sometimes life comes up and we can’t attend the special moments in our loved ones’ lives. Here’s how to handle it when you are expected to be somewhere, but you just can’t make it.
If it’s business… Your boss has made it clear that you presence is necessary at a conference or out-of-town trip. And as much as you want to go to the wedding, you have been working too hard for a promotion to have it all go to waste for one event. The best course of action is to call the bride or groom (depending upon which one you are closest to) and let them know that you won’t be able to attend (you should also fill out the RSVP card), personally. Let them know that it is business-related, and unavoidable, but that you can’t wait to see the pictures later! If they respond by suggesting to tell your boss to take a hike, well, that’s easy for them to say. Repeat that you wish you could come, but just can’t. The simple truth is that as important as this event is to the two of them, it isn’t worth sacrificing your future success.
If it’s money… Of course your favorite cousin had to have a destination wedding in Rio. Of course. And your paper-towels-for-coffee-filters budget doesn’t allow for a quick jaunt south of the Equator. You should call your cousin to let them know that you can’t attend, but don’t mention the money. Conversations like that can be awkward and can be difficult on even the closest of relationships. Simply tell them that you aren’t able to take that much time off, but that you want to celebrate with them when they return.
If it’s personal… Maybe you have just found out you are pregnant and your estimated due date is just a little too close to the wedding. Or perhaps you haven’t told your childhood best friend that you hooked up with the groom in high school. There are a myriad of perfectly legitimate reasons to not want to go to a wedding, even when you are very close to the bride and/or groom. And it’s probably better not to go into a deep explanation for most of them. Again, call or tell them in person. But, if you need to, make up an excuse. If you don’t want to spill the beans on your pregnancy just yet, tell them it is work.
While your loved one might initially be put out that you are declining, in the long run, they will understand. Make sure to convey how happy you are for them so they don’t feel slighted.