How To Decline A Wedding Invitation, According To An Etiquette Expert

Get a wedding invitation, in theory, is a wholly positive thing. Think about what this means: you mean enough to another human for them to spend a couple hundred on you to have a great party. However, once the novelty wears off, attending a wedding can feel like more effort than actually organising a wedding.

The envelope is suspiciously fat and is a tidy analogy for the excess and effort it takes to play a role in beginning a marriage that will, statically speaking, never last. But maybe we should stop being so cynical, wearing nice dresses and drinking champagne until 3am isn’t the worst way to spend a summer evening.


That said, according to research from nationwide, weddings cost the average attendee £377, not to mention the precious annual leave you have to take in order to attend. Saying ‘no’ (unless it’s family) seems a lot more appealing now, huh?

But saying ‘no’ is a lot easier said than done (wait, no it’s not, they’re the same thing!). It’s difficult to reject the offer of being a part of the most important day is someone’s life but when you realise that six of your summer weekends are going to be used travelling to various churches across the country, you’ve got to draw the line.


Writing for Refinery 29, etiquette experts at Debrette detailed what you need to know about rejecting a wedding invitation.

“Traditionally, a formal RSVP to a wedding invitation doesn’t require that you give a reason. Bear in mind, though, that, according to transition, those invited to a wedding should still five the couple a gift even if they’re unable to attend”. Thinking about it this way, a wedding invitation is like your friends sending you a bill for their happiness… selfish.

Another common incident is if there are attendees at the wedding that would make for uncomfortable encounters (an ex-boyfriend, for example), you can reject on the basis of not wanting to disrupt the event. “The couple will no doubt be grateful for your tact rather than be resentful of your absence”.


If you really want to convince yourself that you should miss the ceremony, you might have been on the “for-the-sake-of-it” invite lists. Either way, RSVP as soon as you can to save everyone a load of trouble.