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How to RSVP no to a wedding (without any drama)

*Ang Paos getting very expensive hor?*


If you’re reading this, chances are you’re on the receiving end of many invitations from friends who are getting married. Most times you’d happily accept the invitation, but sometimes there’s a reason not to. Maybe you have an inkling feeling that you’re just invited to fill up the seat, because you’re not even close to the couple (or worse, you know that other people got the invitation way before you did!). Or perhaps there’s a genuine reason why you won’t be able to attend their special day. To protect your friendship, here are some tips to decline a wedding invitation gracefully without stirring any drama.

Thank them for the invitation

It’s always good to start off with a positive note before breaking the bad news. Remember, at least you were thought about when they sent you the invitation. So that means something. No harm saying things such as:

  • Thank you so much for the invitation!

  • I am deeply honored to receive an invitation to your wedding.

  • Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! And thank you for thinking of me.

Explain, but don’t give stupid excuses

It’s good to give some context as to why you are unable to attend the wedding. Saying no without any context or reason might offend the couple or leave them wondering why you can’t attend.

If you have a legitimate reason (for example, being overseas, having to work shift, exam the next day, etc), state those reasons briefly and seek their understanding. Most people would be understanding. However, if you just don’t want to go, be kind and don’t give dumb excuses like “my dog needs to go to the groomer and they’re book up until your wedding.”

Pro-tip! Don’t be too vague about your reasons, at the same time, don’t go into all the details as well. Keep it simple, and respectful. Also, work commitments are considered as a valid reason. Just sayin’.

Offer to make it up to them

It’s sad to receive a decline to a once-in-a-lifetime celebration. So if possible, offer to make it up to them by bringing them out for dinner to celebrate it, or maybe buying them a small wedding gift.

Don’t wait till the last minute to say no

If you’re not planning to go, always make sure you let the couple know early (about 3-4 days after you receive the invitation) that you will not be able to make it. It will make their planning much easier. You have no idea how difficult it is to keep rearranging the table seatings so close to the date.

Try and attend the other stuff

If you’ve been invited to any pre-wedding events, make the effort to attend those and offer to help out with the wedding as much as you can. They might be super bummed out that you won’t be able to attend the actual wedding, but at least you tried your best.

How would you handle this? Share with us in the comment section. We’d love to know!

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