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If you are planning to decline a wedding invitation you recently received, you need to write the bride and groom or their families a brief note, informing them of your absence. For that, it is essential to learn how to draft a proper note to refuse the wedding invitation.

We can provide you with several examples that you can follow when you sit down to write the note to the couple on how you wished you could be there but cannot for some reason. Here are a few examples on how to decline wedding invitations gracefully, samples that you can follow:

Sample #1

Dear Samantha,

Ronald and I are regretful to inform you that we will not be able to attend your big day on the 9th of July because we have to fly out of the city to attend another key event. I really wish we could be there at your wedding. Sending both you and your husband-to-be lots of love and best wishes. As soon as you return from your honeymoon, let us know because we would love to take you out to dinner to celebrate your happiness.



Sample #2

Dear Boyd,

Thank you so much for inviting me to your wedding. Unfortunately, I already have other plans for that day but if I could, I would have loved to be there. I hope you have an incredible time celebrating this wondrous union of yours.

Your friend,


Sample #3

Dear Lisa,

I would like to extend my congratulations to you and Henry, but I regret to inform you that I would not be able to make it your wedding. I will be leaving the country on that day to attend my daughter’s graduation. When you return from your honeymoon, we should catch up and make a plan to celebrate your wedding.

Love always,


Sample #4

Dear David,

It is such a good feeling to learn that you are all set to start a new chapter of your life. All my best wishes and prayers are with you. I cannot attend your wedding but count me to be there with you in spirit.

With lots of love,


Sample #5

Dear Patricia,

Thank you so much for inviting me to your wedding. I am grateful to be included among your guest list for your big day. If I could make it to your wedding, I would certainly have loved to be there. Unfortunately, I would not be able to attend your wedding due to a prior commitment that I cannot decline. After your honeymoon, please get in touch with me because I would love to take you both out for a nice dinner.

Warmest regards,


These are five generic examples of how you should decline a wedding invitation. You can change the wording to make it more personal.

You can follow these tips to decline an invite to the wedding:

  • Do not wait for several weeks or one week before with the exception of an unforeseen event to decline a wedding invitation.
  • Meet them in person to tell them that you will not be able to attend their wedding due to a prior commitment, which you cannot skip and if you cannot meet them in person, you can call them up to tell them over the phone.
  • Send the bride and groom more than just a note to tell them that you will not be attending their wedding. You can send a flower arrangement, box of chocolates, or a bottle of wine with a note, congratulating them on tying the knot.
  • Do not delay going to the store to buy the bride and groom a wedding gift. You should start shopping for a wedding gift for them in advance even if you do not plan to go. Even though this is not necessary, it does not hurt to do so. The bride and groom will see it as a kind gesture from your side.
  • Just because you cannot attend the wedding does not mean that you cannot participate in other wedding-related activities. If your name is on the guest list of people invited to the wedding, you can attend the wedding shower or volunteer your time or services in other ways. If you are very close to the couple, you can even offer to host the bridal shower.
  • You can make an extra effort to remain in touch with the bride or groom or both, depending on your closeness to them. You can invite the mom of your friend who is getting married and her to lunch or invite both the bride and groom to lunch or dinner. By making an effort to stay in contact with them, they will know that you genuinely care about them and really wanted to attend their wedding. You can even offer to run last-minute errands and you should also ask them several questions to make them know that you are upset about missing their big day.
  • If you really want to attend the wedding, make the compromise. For instance, you have to go to two events in one night. With careful planning, you can attend both. You may not be able to be there for the “I dos”, but you will be there for the wedding reception. You will have to tell both parties the reason why you will be spending limited time at their event.

If a wedding is on the horizon and you know that you may not be able to make it because you have to be elsewhere that day, draft a wedding invitation to refuse the invite. The couple will understand because you will be making it up to them in other ways once they return from their honeymoon.

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