Top 10 ways to decline a wedding invitation

In the current situation of spiralling inflation and economic uncertainty, a wedding invitation dropping through most letterboxes is treated with the same dread and trepidation as a court subpoena. But relax and read on. Below we list the ten top ways to decline a wedding invitation.

As the beautifully designed silk-cardstock invite drops through your door bearing the “Please join us to celebrate etc. etc.” summons, you can see your remaining bank balance turning red with anticipated embarrassment.

According to a survey conducted by, 35% of Irish attendees at weddings expect to spend €1000, and a further 15% said they’d expect to spend €800. The remaining cheapskates said they’d spend around €500.

It’s not just the cost of wedding gifts; couples always seem to get married on a Saturday when the choice of sport is unbelievable on the television.

So, forget spending quality time keeping your sofa warm watching United grasping victory from the jaws of defeat and sipping from a can of Tesco’s finest and cheapest larger.

Instead, you end up eating soggy chicken, listening to drunken speeches, and dancing with geriatric aunts.

It’s an awkward situation; you don’t want to attend, but how to get out of it?

The solution can be simple: choose one of our Machiavellian false excuses below, avoid the wedding party, and still keep your friends.

Well, keep some of your friends, maybe not the happy couple, their family, the officiating priest, the hotel management, or anyone else loosely connected with the nuptials.

Here are the ten ways to decline a wedding invitation. So, to misquote Shakespeare, “read on Macduff”, but don’t say you haven’t been warned.

10. Become an organ donor – one of the best ways to decline a wedding invitation

Becoming an organ donor is an easy way to get out of a wedding.
Credit: Pixabay / sasint

Honestly, who can argue with, “Oh my God, I’d love to come.

“But that’s the Saturday little Jimmy, you know the kid with the (make up some Latin-sounding medical condition), is scheduled for surgery. As I’m his closest blood type match, his doctors want me on standby.”

You can insert a few gentle sobs when you offer up this fake excuse here.

9. Get arrested in Prague – you know, these things just happen sometimes

Getting arrested in Prague is one of the ways to decline a wedding invitation.
Credit: Pixabay / 4711018

These days, it seems to be de rigueur to hold the stag or hen night in Prague or some other far-flung exotic location.

OK, going to a hen or stag is also expensive, but at least it can be money well spent.

More importantly, at least you’re spending it solely on yourself, not buying pints for some long lost Culchie cousins.

No, our advice is to go on the stag, spend the money on cheap foreign beer, go to a lap-dance club, and have a bag of the local equivalent of curry chips.

Then, get into a fight with a few carefully chosen soft locals and get arrested.

Not as good as a Saturday night on the beer at home but with any luck, you’ll end up a guest of the Czech Republic for a few weeks.

The Czech Republic prison service is not generally known for its prisoner care, but at least you’ll miss the wedding.

8. The invisible friend excuse – you’ve just got a conflicting commitment, sorry

Enlist the help of your invisible friend.
Credit: Pixabay / mohamed_hassan

Everybody should go through life with an invisible friend. A friend whose non-existence is a closely guarded secret known only to you.

This non-existence friend can be used to get you out of all sorts of tasks and functions you might not want to attend.

You really should have one at this stage; if not, start inventing him or her straight away.

So, you get the invite and accept but on the wedding day, guess what? Paddy the Invisible is involved in a serious accident and in a coma, and sure you just have to be there.

You’ve found yourself in a tricky situation, so one can argue with this fake excuse!

7. The Love Actually excuse – an iconic movie scene

Remember the scene in Love Actually, starring Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, when the guy who secretly loves the girl about to marry the other guy arrived at the girl’s door bearing cue cards professing his undying love for the bride?

Be that guy. Or, at least profess your love for the bride to be, and you’ll be guaranteed to have your wedding invites rescinded. You’ll either lose a friend or score. Either way, you’ve escaped the wedding.

6. Use number seven above on the Mother of The Bride – you won’t have to make the big day

Hitting on the Mother of the Bride is one of the easy ways to decline a wedding invitation.

Number six is a variation on number seven above, except this time, you arrive at the Mother of the Bride’s house professing your undying love for her.

This time, if you’re unlucky, you end up with a more mature and experienced lover and lose two friends. Still, at least you avoid the wedding.

5. Develop an intolerance to everything – you’ll be too difficult to cater for

No one will want you ruining their big day with your impossible dietary needs.
Credit: Pixabay / Goumbik

Become a vegetarian-vegan-celiac that is intolerant to nuts, milk, fish, tea, and coffee.

You don’t actually need to become one, but when you’re out with couples who you suspect are thinking of tying the knot, pretend to be.

You’ll be a bad wedding guest with those dietary requirements. So, you can stay at home, watch the match, sip your beer, and enjoy your Supermacs takeaway.

4. Become a devil worshipper – you won’t be allowed in the church

Becoming a devil worshipper is one of the ways to decline a wedding invitation.
Credit: Pixabay / phmaxiestevez

Don’t worry, you don’t have to start worshipping the Dark One. However, it would help if people, especially those about to be a newly-wed happy couple, think that you might be.

Let’s face it, no couple who has just walked the plank of matrimony – sorry, we meant just happily walked down the aisle – will want you on their wedding list.

It’s easy, start wearing black, get plenty of body piercings, set up inverted crosses around the house, and perhaps vote Fianna Fail.

3. Get yourself barred from the venue – one of the easiest ways to decline a wedding invitation

You could always get yourself barred from the venue.
Credit: Pixabay / StockSnap

This one carries a modicum of risk as you might find yourself with a lifetime ban from the hotel venue.

Either the hotel is in your hometown, and who stays in hotels in their own town? Or the hotel is in a town miles away, so that doesn’t matter as you need never go back there.

The plan involves visiting the hotel a few weeks before the wedding and having a slap-up meal before simply refusing to pay.

The management will throw you out and ban you from the premises. At this stage, you’ve got a great excuse for not attending the wedding.

Not only have you saved the cash on the wedding, but you’ve enjoyed a lavish meal on the house. We think its worth the extra effort, to be honest.

2. Watch Bourne Identity – time to disappear

Take some tips from Jason Bourne for ways to decline a wedding invitation.

Change your identity; think about it. It’s not as if we all couldn’t do with a new identity every couple of years. Take Jason Bourne as an example just disappear.

Borrow as much as you can from a few banks, max out as many credit cards as they’ll let you, and invest in a false passport.

Then, tell your boss exactly what you think of him as you drive to the ferry in your hire-purchase Ferrari.

Drive to some sunny Greek Island and run a surf shop with the ill-gotten gains of your old name.

It might seem a bit extreme, but look at the girl Jason ended up with, and you will be avoiding the wedding as you and her lie on the beach sipping margaritas.

If you require details on obtaining a false passport just contact your local Sinn Fein representative. No matter what, it’s much easier than offering an explanation in person.

1. Enlist in the Ukrainian Army – a surefire way to get yourself removed from the guest list

Tell your friends you're enlisting in the Ukrainian army.
Credit: Pixabay / Defence-Imagery

Not only will this get you out of attending the wedding, but if you play your cards right, all your mates will throw a great big going-away party for their hero mate (that’s you).

So, what you do is tell everyone – shyly, of course – that you’re heading off to Ukraine on the day of the wedding. Ah, the pity of it.

Part two of the plan is to wait a few days until after the wedding, then let it be known that you failed the Ukrainian Army medical.

Above, you have ten perfectly plausible excuses to decline a wedding invitation for a ceremony that you don’t want to attend.

You may lose both friends and family and be banned from hotels and churches. So, you need to consider carefully whether or not it’s worth it.

That’s completely up to you, but, in our opinion, it definitely is. Go on, give it a try and let us know how you got on.

Notable mentions

There are plenty of easy ways to decline a wedding invitation.
Credit: Pixabay / Pexels

Plan your own wedding for the same day: Planning your own wedding for the same date might take a bit of extra effort and cause some controversy in your mutual friends. However, at least you’ll have a good excuse.

Say you’ve got COVID: Realistically, no one is going to want you around their grandparents if you’ve got a contagious virus.

Do a Granda Joe: In Derry Girls, Granda Joe couldn’t remember the woman who recognised him on the train. So, to avoid the awkwardness, he came up with the perfect excuse. Instead of admitting he couldn’t remember her, he said he had dementia. No one can argue with you ‘forgetting’ the date of their wedding if you use this excuse now, can they?

FAQs about ways to decline a wedding invitation

How do you politely decline a wedding invitation?

Excuses ten and eight are probably your best bet for declining a wedding invitation politely.

How do you politely decline an invitation without giving a reason?

If you don’t want to come up with a reason, we think the easiest way to avoid the wedding would be number two.

How do you tell a friend you can’t make it to their wedding?

Any of the excuses listed above will easily get you out of attending your friend’s wedding. We just can’t promise you’ll continue to be friends afterwards, though.