I Really Can’t, But I Have To, Should I?

I’m going to use myself as an example for this blog.  I’ve spoken before about how being a member of the bridal party or simply being a guest can tighten your wallet.  Because weddings mean so much to the people involved (obviously) it’s easy to feel bad about not being able to participate in every pre-fete that comes up. 

That's where the "I really can't, but I have to, or should I?" question comes up. How do you let your friends and/or hosts know you'll be absent without feeling bad or coming off as insensitive?

Honesty is the best policy.

Of course if I was able to, I’d dote upon every bride-friend I have.  I'd travel here and there to be with them along this fun journey of parties, showers, and celebrations, but realistically, I can’t. I simply can’t afford all of it right now and I’m not ashamed to say it either. 

I have three weddings back to back this Spring.  Two of them require me to travel back to Washington, DC.  What does that mean?  It means I’ve had to re-evaluate where my money is going to be spent. Because I'll  be traveling to attend the weddings, I’ve let my friends know that I’m unable to attend their Bachelorette parties. And guess what? They totally understand.

Some possible responses:
  • Thank you so much for inviting me to attend your [event] and for thinking of me.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it, but I'm wishing you all the fun in the world! Can’t wait to see you soon!
  • I’d love to be able to come to the [event] but won’t be able to make it!  Thank you for the invitation and I’ll see you at the wedding!


I’ve heard stories where brides AND maids of honor get upset when the people they invite to these shin-digs are unable to come. In fact, they get down right defensive.  But think about the reasons why- a lot of the time it’s because of money.  Money can be a touchy subject for people and they may not want to simply say “I can’t spend that much money right now” or "I can't afford it."

It’s not that you or your wedding isn't important to them, it’s just that they may not be able to afford all of the fun- that includes other weddings they've been invited to in addition to yours.   Simply take the “regrets to inform” decision they have made and tell them you’ll miss them, wish they could be there, but you're so happy they’ll be at the wedding. That’s the point right?

For those who have to break the news, be direct, but be sensitive. Apologize for your absence, but end on a positive note by wishing them the best!  For those receiving the news, be graceful and accept the decision that has been made. It's not a personal jab, just an honest choice.


Photo Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures