(Closed) When you respond No to an invitation…

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
662 posts
Busy bee

I’ve never written anything on the card but I’ve checked no on the card and then gave the couple a phone call to let them know why I couldn’t make it.

Post # 4
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

No .. I always figure the couple has much more on their minds than why I can’t attend.  At least I re turned the No rsvp

Post # 5
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

I would typically just tell them in person why. And how sad I am that I couldn’t make it. 

Post # 6
5967 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

No explanation necessary, however I would include a card with my gift telling them how sorry I was that I could not attend.

Post # 7
4046 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I wouldn’t, just because it wouldn’t be hard to word it so it wouldn’tsound callous. Like what would be a good excuse for missing the best day of someone’s life?

Post # 8
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

@Nona99:  —> THIS

Although I do seem to recall that way back when with my first marriage (circa 1980) that I did have some folks jot comments onto the RSVP Cards.

Of course, there were some far-off relatives who we never expected to attend… but it was nice when their RSVPs came in that they did more than just tick off the NO option (so sad we can’t make the trip… but please know we’ll be with you there in spirit)

Of course, like Nona99:  said, many of them also sent us Cards & Wedding Gifts as well… and again sent us their Regrets & Best Wishes.


Post # 9
1755 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@smiles4jo:  I never write on the card, however if I’m close to the couple, I’ll phone the bride or her mother and give the reason for my inability to attend.  Though I still send a gift.  If they’re nearby, I’ll deliver my gift and pay a social call before but not in the week before the wedding as so much is going on for them.  

Post # 10
10714 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

Every ‘no’ rsvp we got had a note on the back explaining why they couldn’t make it. I thought it was nice of them to let us know. One friend would still be on her honeymoon, my aunt had another wedding, my grandmothers best friend had her grand daughters wedding and another friend had a baby shower she had already planned to go to. I guess with the anticipation of getting another rsvp in the mail I was always expecting a ‘yes’ but the ‘no’ responses were sad, that one little sentence explaining why they couldn’t make it made it seem better somehow. lol

Post # 11
5494 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2011

I always write a little note on the RSVP card, especially if responding no. I usually give an explanation and wish the couple well.

Post # 12
963 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I don’t write anything. I feel like giving a reason is just an excuse for the bride to get pissed because she doesn’t feel like it’s a good enough reason. I see those kinds of rants on here all the time.

Post # 13
515 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I always write a note, as well. I may or may not give an explanation, but I always write a note congratulating them and wishing them well.

Post # 14
6256 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’d rather someone junk up the card with a good reason than to just think I wasn’t important enough.

Post # 15
1044 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

So funny. I just sent back a No response.

I wrote- Sorry guys, we love you! on the response card. They knew we wouldn’t be able to attend but I still wanted to say something. And we’re sending a gift of course.

Post # 16
1696 posts
Bumble bee

The proper way to reply to a formal invitation, is with a hand-written note on your personal stationery. If you are accepting, the minimal wording goes:

Miss Aspasia Phipps
accepts with pleasure the kind invitation of
Mr and Mrs Host
for the thirteenth of November.

If you are declining, the minimal wording contains an additional line:

Miss Aspasia Phipps
regrets to decline the kind invitation of
Mr and Mrs Host
for the thirteenth of November
due to a prior engagement.

“A prior engagement”, “ill health” and “inability to travel” are the socially acceptable reasons for declining an invitation. A note of regrets in which that last line is omitted, can properly be interpreted as a snub.

However, the reason that brides use reply cards instead of expecting guests to hand-write proper replies, is that brides expect guests to lack the rearing, knowledge, or stationery in order to know how to write proper notes. And sending reply cards further implies that filling out the reply card and sending it back is all they need to do — whether they are declining or accepting. It certainly would be nice if all guests wrote proper replies! I keep advising them to toss out the little card and send back a proper hand-written note on their own stationery, instead. But brides seem to like those little cards despite their representing an implicit snub to the guests who receive them. The only way I can think of combining using reply cards with expecting a more complete negative reply, is to add a few more check-boxes to the form, along the line of:


__ accepts with pleasure and would care for the

a) Steak    ___
b) Chicken ___
c) Fish       ___


__ regrets to decline due to

a) a prior engagement    ___
b) ill health                    ___
c) inability to travel        ___


I’m not recommending this — I am recommending guests’ sending hand-written notes. But I am a believer in avoiding mixed messages. If you are going to imply that they can’t be trusted to hand-write replies, you really cannot expect them to write an excuse for declining,

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