A guest’s first duty is to respond promptly to any wedding invitation. Check your schedule and consult with anyone else included in your invitation, then make your response as soon as you can. If you cannot make it and regret promptly, the couple will have time to invite someone in your place if they wish.
When the invitation is addressed to you “and guest,” you must decide if you want to bring someone and let the host know. If you reply only for yourself, don’t show up at the wedding with a date or companion.
When an invitation includes an RSVP but no response card, you can reply in writing or by email. There are two types of response:
Formal Response: Written in the third person, this reply follows the wording of a formal invitation.
Mr. and Mrs. Harold McGowan
accept with pleasure
[or, regret that they are unable to accept]
your kind invitation for
Saturday, the nineteenth of June
Personal Note: Usually written to hosts you know well, a personal note should be brief but sincere.
Dear Ann and John,
Rob and I are delighted to accept your invitation to attend Margaret and Tom’s wedding on June nineteenth.
I am so sorry that I can’t join you and Max for your wedding. I have to be in Chicago on business, but you two will be first in my thoughts on your special day.
Love to you both,
If something unforeseen happens and you cannot attend a wedding after you’ve accepted the invitation, call the hosts immediately. Alerting them is the courteous thing to do. They will need to inform the caterer that you won't be attending or take the opportunity to invite someone else in your stead.
Read more wedding etiquette advice or buy the Book by Anna & Lizzie Post.