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Is It Rude to Decline a Wedding Invitation?

Kraft Vintage Flowers RSVP Cards

At Dotty About Paper, we often get asked about the right way to respond to a wedding invitation - and what to do if your answer is, unfortunately, ‘unable to attend’. It can be a tricky situation to navigate, especially if the invitation is coming from a close friend or a family member. Whilst we know the power of a good wedding invitation, we also know how hard it can be to say no to a gorgeous wedding, but we’ve compiled a few tips for you here. Read on to find out more!

Is it rude?

It depends on how you go about it.

Most wedding invitations will be sent between a month and two months in advance, so the bride and groom can nail down the guest list and start planning who will attend. It also means that if guests suddenly have to cancel, it doesn’t create a last-minute nightmare for those planning the wedding. If you have to decline a wedding invitation and you do so in advance, it’s not rude. Things come up and events clash. If you have to be somewhere else on the day, it wasn’t meant to be.

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Pink Country Flowers RSVP Cards

If you do have to decline the invitation, consider sending the RSVP back with a hand-written note explaining the situation. Or, if you’re in closer contact with the bride and groom, give them a call to say why you won’t be attending and give them your best wishes. You may want to send a wedding gift, even if you aren’t attending, to let them know you were thinking of them on their special day. A tick in a box can seem a bit cold, so letting them know personally is a great way to avoid hurt feelings.

Wedding Card - Floral Lettering - Happy Couple
Wedding Cards by dotty about paper

What shouldn’t I do?

If you can’t attend a wedding, don’t simply not respond to the RSVP. The invitations are sent out for a reason, and not returning yours could cause havoc for the people involved and make them chase you up to find out if you are attending. This puts everything on hold on their end and can cause resentment between parties.

Delicate Leaf Pattern Iridescent Wedding Invitation
Delicate Leaf Pattern Iridescent Wedding Invitation

Ultimately, the rules when declining a wedding invitation are simple. Be courteous and be personal. Respond to the invitation, whether you plan to attend or not and if you can chat with the bride or groom to explain why you won’t be attending.