How to Decline a Wedding Invitation

Avoid snubbing the hosts and the couple by turning down the invite with class.


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You Will Need

  • RSVP card
  • Handwritten note
  • Formal declination
  • Courtesy call
  • Gift


  1. Step 1

    Fill out the RSVP card

    Fill out the response card that came with the wedding invitation. If the invitation is addressed to two people and neither can go, write "two" on the "decline with regret" line.

  2. Step 2

    Include a note

    Smooth hurt feelings by including a handwritten note on the response card or a sheet of stationery. Be brief and honest about your reason for not attending -- or simply congratulate the couple and say you have a conflicting commitment.

  3. Reply that you are responsible for someone, such as a house guest or child, if that is why you cannot attend -- your host then has the option to invite them.

  4. Step 3

    Send a formal declination

    Write a formal declination if you lose the response card. Use wording similar to the wording on the invitation. Say that you regretfully decline their kind invitation on that date to the wedding of the couple.

  5. Step 4

    Drop it in the mail

    Send your regrets to whomever the response envelope is addressed. If there is no response envelope, mail your regrets to whomever the invitation cites as the wedding's host.

  6. Step 5

    Call hosts if changing mind

    Don't respond "yes" lightly -- the hosts will not look kindly on paying for a no-show. Have the courtesy of calling your hosts immediately if you must change your "yes" to a "no."

  7. Step 6

    Consider a gift

    Consider sending a gift to the couple even if you can't attend the wedding. After all, they invited you to celebrate one of the most important days of their lives -- you should reciprocate the kindness.

  8. The 2004 wedding of billionaire steel magnate Vanisha Mittal featured over 1,000 guests and cost an estimated $60 million.