How To Decline A Wedding Invitation Politely, According To 9 People Who Have Done It

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It seems as wedding invites go, when it rains it pours. And while being asked to participate in someone's important life event is flattering, sometimes it's just not possible to get to them all. Life happens, and weddings can mean a lot of money and travel. But if you're concerned about how to politely decline a wedding invite, it's always advised to take a cue from people who've done it before, and have done it kindly.

As wedding planner Arielle Benard Jacobs tells Bustle, there is a protocol for these things.

"After you've declined the invitation via the couple's preferred RSVP method, you can politely send a text or mention it in person that you're so bummed you can't attend their wedding because of a work event you're required to attend, a long-planned vacation, finals or whatever it is [that's keeping you.]"

They likely won't be too distraught, Jacobs says. "Most couples plan for a certain amount of attrition. They know about 30% of their guests will not be able to attend their wedding for one reason or another. In fact, they're usually banking on it."

If you are in the position of needing to say, "sadly, no," to a couple on their special day, look below to see what nine polite, warm-hearted people said when they had to do the same.

1. Megan, 37

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"I've had to do it more than once. Mainly I express my heartbreak at missing their big day and let them know I exhausted every option to try and make it work but just couldn’t."

2. Donna, 70

"I just choose the regretfully decline box on the invite and write a small note wishing the couple the very best."

3. Aubrey, 37

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"[I say something like,] 'We love you both and are so happy for you. Unfortunately we don’t have childcare that weekend and the trip cross country is too much for us at the moment, but we’d love to have you over for dinner to celebrate once you’re back.'"

4. Mic, 38

"Well, last time I had to decline, I was pretty ill. So I wrote my buddy an email that just said, 'Man. I really, truly hate to miss it for you. These freakin' kidney stones :) God bless you both, and here's to at least 35 years!' He and I have a really light-hearted relationship, though, so jokes are on the table."

5. Lisa, 32

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"I send my regrets and a gift or flowers. And pro tip: usually if it's someone you can decline without too much guilt, they’re hoping you won’t come anyway. Money saved."

6. Susannah, 29

“I've had to do this so many times because I have so many cousins. I simply tell the truth: I can’t afford a ticket home to go to the wedding. I love you so much, and wish you all the happiness."

7. Jared, 32

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"I send a note and make a little joke out of it before simply saying that I regret I can't make it, especially if it is someone I have a repartee with. Something like 'I have severe wedding fatigue from seeing all my well-adjusted, attractive, and successful friends, of which you are one, getting married, and one more wedding will increase the length of my summer therapy sessions.' And then, I send a gift."

8. Dan

"I'm a professional comedian. To decline a wedding, all I tell them is that sadly I have to work, since most of my work takes place on weekends."

9. Misse

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"Adding a personal note to the reply card wishing the couple well is the nicest and politest response."

That doesn't seem so bad, does it? While you might feel a little guilty about declining the invite, or even truly sad to miss the event, just know that you can try to make it to all their anniversary parties in the future.