How to Decline a Family Wedding Invitation (Politely w/ Examples)

How to Decline a Family Wedding Invitation

If you need to decline an invite to a family wedding, you need to word it correctly so as to not offend the bride and/or groom.

Whatever the reason for not being able to attend, you should politely let them know and pass on your best wishes.

Here are some examples of how to decline a family wedding invitation and some good etiquette tips:

How to Decline a Family Wedding Invitation: Examples and Samples

Dear [name],

Thank you so much for inviting me to your wedding. I wish you both all the happiness in the world on your special day.

Unfortunately, I am not able to attend as I have prior commitments.

I hope you understand and I send my love to you both.

Best wishes,

[Your name]

In this example, you are thanking the couple for inviting you and wishing them well.

You then state that you have prior commitments and cannot attend. This is a polite way to decline the invitation without going into detail about why you cannot attend.

Dear [name],

Thank you for inviting me to your wedding on [date].

I wish you both all the happiness in the world on your special day, but unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to be there in person.

I send you my love on your wedding day.


[Your name]

In this example, you are again thanking the couple for inviting you and wishing them well.

If you don’t want to give a specific reason why you’re not going to be attending, this short but sweet note should do.

Dear [name],

I was so excited to be invited to your wedding on [date] but despite my best efforts, I’m not going to be able to make it.

I have to go to [reason] on this day and there is no way of me rescheduling, otherwise, I would have!

I’m gutted, honestly, all I can do is wish you the best possible day and you can be sure I’ll be thinking of you both.

All the best, and here’s to a happy future,

[Your name]

In this example, you have an opportunity to give them a reason for why you can’t attend.

If you already have something booked like another wedding, a holiday, a hospital appointment, or something else very important, you might feel better telling them.

Dear [name],

First of all, thanks for the invite to your wedding on [date].

However, of all the possible days you could choose to get married you choose the same day that I’m [reason].

I’m sorry, but there’s just no way I can make it, as much as I would have loved to come and celebrate with you.

As a result, I’ll just have to live vicariously through your social media and hear all about it when you get back.

Wishing you loads of love in preparation for the big day,

[Your name]

If the wedding date clashes with something you’ve already got planned that you can’t miss, then this is the perfect way to decline.

You might want to add a little joke in there too about how you’ll be living vicariously through social media.

This is a light-hearted way to end the note on a positive note.

Dear [name],

I was pumped to be invited to your wedding on [date] and am so excited for your big day.

There is some bad news, however, I’m not going to be able to make it.

I’ll be out of the country on [reason].

It sucks that I’m going to miss your wedding, but I’m sure it will be an incredible day.

I’ll be thinking of you, and when I get back we can celebrate properly.

Loads of love,

[Your name]

If you’re going to be out of the country or otherwise unable to attend due to an important commitment, this is a great way to decline.

You’re showing that you’re disappointed but understand that there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Related content:
Here is how to cancel plans to hang out with friends;
Tips for declining an invitation to a birthday party;
Examples of how to decline a job interview the right way.

Is It Rude to Cancel On A Wedding Last Minute?

If it was completely unavoidable, it’s hard to say it’s rude to cancel a wedding at the last minute.

But that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of money would have been spent on you attending and you’re going to be letting the bride and groom down.

One can only hope they are mature enough to understand and not let it taint their big day in any way.

If you have to cancel, it’s best to do so as soon as you know you’re not going to be able to make it and explain the situation in detail.

If it was something that could have been avoided and you’re having to cancel due to your own stupidity, for want of a better word, be prepared to have some making up to do!

Canceling on a wedding at the last minute is never ideal, but sometimes life gets in the way.

I can’t tell you what the right or wrong thing to do is, all I can suggest is that you own your situation and do the best you can.

Things to Remember when Declining a Family Wedding Invitation

I thought I’d cover some basic etiquette and things to remember when writing an email, text, or even calling someone and declining their wedding invitation.

You should always:

  • Be prompt about replying – the sooner you reply, the better. Wedding planners have meals, gifts, and other things to prepare based on the number of attendees.
  • Thank them for the invitation – even if you just aren’t interested, they still took the time to invite you. Thank them for the invite.
  • Keep it short and sweet – you don’t need to waffle on about why you can’t attend. Just let them know that you’re sorry but you won’t be able to make it.
  • Follow up after the event – even if you’re not that close to the bride or groom you should send a quick text, email, or even social media message to them after the event letting them know you hope it was a great day and that you’re sorry you missed it.

Even if you’re not attending the wedding, some kind of gift or a card with some kind words will go a long way.

It’s a way of being there in spirit and will make it clear that you wished you could have been there and are thinking of them.

Related posts:
What it means when a woman twists her wedding ring;
What it means when a guy is sliding his wedding ring on and off his finger;

Image credits – Photo by Wedding Photography on Unsplash

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