With as many as 2.5 million weddings expected to have taken place in 2022, wondering if there’s a polite way to decline a wedding invitation amid ongoing inflation is a valid thought.
If you are unable to attend a wedding due to personal financial circumstances, here’s what you need to know about respectfully declining an invitation.
Most wedding invitations will include a timeframe in which guests must RSVP. This helps the couple or host determine the headcount of guests, along with any plus ones, who will be in attendance at the wedding.
Chrissy Wolfman, owner and principal planner of Plan to be Wowed, recommends responding quickly and within the timeframe requested by the couple or host.
While you do not need to provide a specific reason, Wolfman said if it’s a close relationship it’s a good idea to call the couple directly to let them know while still following up with the RSVP.
A swift response is also important for any invitations sent out to those who will be members of the wedding party. Katie Brownstein, resident wedding expert at Joy, said guests and members of the wedding alike must be upfront in their communications with the couple and let them know as far in advance as possible what they are able to commit to.
Determine Where You Can Commit
What if you have enough in your budget to be a member of the wedding party and attend the wedding, but not enough to afford going to wedding showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties? Brownstein recommends discussing with the couple the events you know you can commit to attending as soon as possible rather than waiting until it’s too late.
As you figure out what you can do at each wedding you are invited to attend, don’t be afraid to say no. This is especially important if wedding invitations and their various commitments start to feel overwhelming or financially impossible to manage on your own.
“The worst thing you can do is overextend yourself and attend wedding events that do not make sense for your schedule or your wallet,” Brownstein said. “Prioritize the people who mean the most to you. Couples want what is best for their loved ones and will understand not everyone can attend their big day.”
Offer To Lend a Helping Hand
Maybe you can’t commit to being a member of the wedding party or participating in all of the wedding day’s events. Are there any other alternatives in which your skill sets could be put to good use?
Ty Wilson, co-founder of CustomMade, said those close to the couple may be able to help out with wedding planning or day-of duties. A few examples include making decorations or favors if you’re creative, helping set up tables and chairs and assisting with any seating chart needs.
These alternatives, Wilson said, give you the chance to be involved in the big day even if you cannot attend the event. (And many hands make light work so the couple will likely be thankful for your assistance!)
Offer Your Congratulations and Well Wishes
“Just because you can’t attend the wedding doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express your excitement for the couple’s big day,” Wilson said.
Wilson recommends sending the couple a card or note along with your congratulations and best wishes for their future together. Be sure to thank the couple for inviting you and tell them how much you appreciate them reaching out.
Go the Extra Mile After the Wedding
You might not be able to attend the wedding or reception, but this does not mean you can’t take the newlywed couple out to celebrate after their wedding day.
“If you live within close proximity to the couple, offer to take the newlyweds out for drinks or a meal after the wedding,” Wolfman said. “This extra effort shows you want to find a way to celebrate them and their marriage and hear all about their big day.”
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