Picture this scenario: an old friend has sent you a lovely invitation to their upcoming wedding. The location looks wonderful and you feel a flicker of excitement when you think about taking part in their special day. There’s a catch, however. The date of the wedding clashes with an important upcoming commitment that you simply cannot miss.


Unfortunately, calendar clashes are a fact of life and they can be frustrating and upsetting in equal measure. Declining a wedding tends to be especially difficult as the bride and groom may take your non-attendance personally.


There are ways and means to refuse an invitation gracefully and avoid burning any bridges, however. These include:

Respond as soon as possible

The quicker you respond, the more obvious it is that your other commitments are legitimate. Indeed, waiting around to RSVP can make it appear that you are holding out for a better opportunity. Try not to leave it any longer than a week to reply.


Send them something extra in your RSVP card

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As well as returning a completed RSVP card stating your decline, it is worth sending the happy couple a bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers with a message of congratulations attached. This is a great way to demonstrate that you value their friendship and wish them all the best for their big day.

Phone them up

Explaining that you can’t make a wedding over the phone is an effective way of demonstrating your sincerity and avoiding the possibility of hurt feelings. Whilst you do not need to give too much information about your other commitments, you should offer them some basic details. This will help to settle any concerns that you could be making up an excuse.


Get your wedding gift in early

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Send out a gift in advance of the wedding to demonstrate that you will be thinking of the couple on the day of the event.


 Try to get involved with other wedding-related events

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If your friend is holding a wedding shower or is planning a big day out to shop for wedding attire, try to get involved. This will allow you to stay connected to the event and show that you care for your friend despite not being able to attend the wedding.


Stay in touch

This one goes without saying but, you should try to stay in touch with your friend after sending out your decline. Keeping up to date with the latest wedding news will help to iron out any potential fractures in your relationship and ensure that you stay friends for years to come.