Remember on NYE when everyone was convinced 2020 was going to be our golden era? We all rocked the flapper dresses, gulped the champagne, and decided that this decade was made for us. Yeah, that didn’t exactly work out the way we thought, and for anyone with plans to wed in the new decade, it’s been an absolute nightmare. With restrictions and health concerns due to a literal global pandemic, a large percentage of weddings since March have been postponed, scaled down, or ultimately, canceled.
Now, as the country begins to open up, it’s sort of tricky to tell whether or not it’s okay to move forward with wedding plans. And while it’s confusing for newlyweds, it also poses a difficult choice for guests who still make the cut on reduced guest lists. Whether you’re a frontline worker, have a compromised immune system, are looking to protect your family members, or just don’t feel comfortable being in crowds yet (since, you know, it’s strongly advised to still adhere to social distancing measures until a vaccine is developed, which could take up to 18 months), deciding not to attend a 2020 wedding is a big—yet totally warranted—decision.
While couples planning weddings should think long and hard about their celebration, ultimately, guests have the choice of whether or not to attend. And if you’ve decided to RSVP “no” to events in the near future, here’s how to do it tactfully in a way that hopefully won’t ruin your relationships.
Tell Them At The Right Time
Just like with everything wedding-related, telling someone you’re not going to their event needs to be done at the right time. If you haven’t received an invitation yet, just wait. There’s no need to hit them with a barrage of texts yet. Once it’s time to RSVP, evaluate your relationship to figure out the best way to break the news. If it’s an acquaintance, a simple “regret” with a nice note about hating to miss it should suffice. If they’re a closer pal or you’re *gasp* in the wedding, it will take a little more finesse to tell them the news.
If you happen to be in the party (ugh), bring up your concerns ASAP—you don’t want to lay this on a bride the week before her big day. If you can discuss it before ordering a dress, all the better so you’re not stuck with a $200 baby blue chiffon gown you’ll never wear in your closet. In the normal world, after committing to being in a wedding, it’s majorly f*cked up to back out. Now, however, is a different story. Tell the truth, offer a solution (like attending virtually, of course), and continue to remind them how much they mean to you.
Be Honest (But Not Too Honest)
Chances are, the couple has thought through their decision extensively. While it’s risky to have a large-scale event right now, if they’re adhering to their state’s restrictions, there’s not much you can do. Gotta love Florida and Texas! That said, there’s no reason to lie or be unclear about why you’re missing their big day. Tell them you don’t feel comfortable, express your concerns if you must, then wish them the best. While you might want to send a five-page long text rant, it’s best to keep things short, simple, and polite.
Support Them As Best You Can
If you’re close friends with the couple or in the wedding party, your decision might be met with some serious guilt-tripping. Whatever your relationship is, that’s not a reason to put yourself, your loved ones, or other people at risk, no matter what the to-be-wed couple says. Once you decide not to attend, stand firm in your decision but offer additional ways you can help. Maybe that means offering to be there for them in other ways, like organizing streaming links or sending out favors to virtual guests. Just because you’re not going to be there IRL, it doesn’t mean you can’t assist the (most likely very stressed and upset) couple.
Send A Gift
Maybe I’m just a sucker for glitter cards and giant bows (I blame my sorority days), but gifts are truly my love language. And when it comes to weddings, it’s the love language of every single couple out there. No matter how much they insist that they don’t need gifts, that they don’t want gifts, send them a GD gift. This is doubly important if you’re not attending the wedding and even more so in the time of corona. Odds are that $200 check will mean more to them now than ever.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Okay, the couple probably wants you to feel at least a little guilty. Ultimately, however, this is a very stressful time for everyone, whether you’re getting married or not. While there are complicated decisions and not-so-great solutions on both sides, at some point, you just have to commit one way or another. Be kind, be respectful, and be ready for some really raging baby showers for all of the corona couples in a few short years. Trust us, they’ve earned it.
Images: Victoria Priessnitz / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram