Everyone knows that to cancel coming to a wedding is less than ideal. So much planning and organizing, and money goes into planning a wedding ceremony and reception that last-minute changes in guest lists can through a wrench into things like seating charts, food, and more.
However, sometimes emergencies happen, and if you have to retract your RSVP at the last minute, it’s important to do so with as much consideration and respect as you can.
Firstly, you need to contact whoever is in charge of collecting the guests’ RSVPs. This could be the couple, or it could be someone close to them.
Either way, notify them first, as they are directly focused on the guest list. If the RSVPs are being received digitally, it’s important to wait on updating yours until you’ve spoken to the couple.
Next, it’s time to contact the couple. You may be feeling stressed about this task, but it’s important to remember to be honest, respectful, and kind. If one or both members of the couple is close family members or friends, it’s best to reach out to them with a phone call.
However, if they are too busy finalizing the details of their big day to answer their phone, a nicely written text message will also be acceptable. If you don’t hear back from the couple, make sure that they got your message by contacting someone at the bridal party and letting them know the situation.
When planning out your conversation or message to the couple, be sure to be mindful of the language that you are using. Word choice and language that is more formal will probably sound more genuine, and you want the couple to know that this was not an easy decision for you to make.
Be honest and explain why you are able to attend, but keep that portion pretty brief. You don’t want to make the situation all about you and your stress. Apologize not only for not being able to attend but also for canceling at the last minute. End things with your congratulations to the soon-to-be-married couple.
A couple of weeks after their wedding, send a message checking in with them. Be sure to continue to focus on them and their exciting new chapter rather than sulk to them about how you were unable to attend.