Public service announcement: Just say “no” to weddings

With six weeks to go before my wedding, I’ve come to a startling (for me) conclusion: I’m not at all upset by people not coming to my wedding. In most cases I’m perfectly upbeat about people declining. I am, however, upset by people not declining.

Before you think me heartless, let me explain.

It’s not that I don’t want these people to come to the wedding. If we didn’t want you there, we wouldn’t have invited you. Consider my post several months ago addressing wedding invitations: we had tons of people we wanted to invite but couldn’t, so you can rest assured if you got an invitation it was with good reason! The reality is that this is going to be a big wedding. We are filling this venue with people, and about 3/4 of them are coming in from out of town. This means that there’s going to be very, very little time for catching up with any one person in particular, and what tiny amount of private time we can carve out will almost certainly be with family.

It’s going to be roughly like this, Friday through Monday.

So if you’re not able to travel in for the wedding weekend, am I disappointed? Well, sure, it would’ve been great for you to be there. But we probably wouldn’t have really spent too much time together anyway, so the biggest reward would have been knowing you were there, and you being able to enjoy the celebration with 200 other people from all over. Particularly for those family and friends who can’t attend because of the expense of traveling to NYC (especially if you waited too long to make arrangements and now everything is ridiculously expensive), I’m not at all fazed by your decline. If cost is the issue, I’d even kind of selfishly rather you wait to use your rare NYC visit for a time when you can stay at our place and enjoy good quality time together, rather than being one of 150 out of town visitors who I’ll barely spend any time with regardless.

Here’s where I do get a little groomzilla: if you can’t attend the wedding, please just say so. I know it’s difficult telling someone that you can’t be there for their very special occasion. But doing so honestly and gently, as soon as you really know that you can’t make it, is greatly preferable to you reading and ignoring message after message for weeks on end.

Tip: iPhones and Facebook will betray you!

I know you don’t want to disappoint, and/or I know you’re hoping for a last minute miracle that will allow you to afford what was previously an impossible trip. But keep in mind that the longer you wait, the less likely it is that it’ll be affordable, and the more likely that your host(s) will be freaking out because they have a very important event coming up and no idea how many people are attending.

If you’re truly still trying to make it work, that’s awesome — keep your hosts informed so they know you’re still working on it. But if you clearly can’t attend, saying “no” directly is sometimes the best of bad options.

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