Wedding response card etiquette: How to decline

When sending out a wedding invitation, it should include all of the necessary information for the big day as well as a response card for the couple to track RSVPs. These matching cards should be included in the same envelope as the invitation, along with a pre-addressed and stamped envelope for easy return.

Response cards are typically included in the wedding invitation for a reason. These cards are used by the couple to determine which guests are able to attend and those who cannot. As a guest, you are not required to explain why you are unable to attend; the couple simply asks for a quick yes or no so they can plan accordingly. If you are unable to attend, do not feel that you need to explain why you will not be there to support the couple. If you are compelled to send a note, keep it brief and send your congratulations. While you can write directly on the response card, it is more formal to include your own stationary with a short note.

If you are unable to attend the wedding, etiquette suggests that you still send a gift – you are not required to, of course. You can easily find the registry information and still send a congratulatory gift directly to the couple’s home. If you do choose to send a gift, be sure to send a card along with the gift in which you can, if you choose, more fully explain your absence from the wedding ceremony and reception. With changing times, old rules of etiquette are being bent and relaxed to fit each individual couple.

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