How do I handle the Uninvited Guests and more?
Ever wondered how to politely decline an invitation, be it to a dinner, wedding or other function? Express gratitude and follow with a brief but sincere explanation. As a sign of genuine interest in the success of the event, follow-up with a brief phone call or email to the host or hostess after the event. Sounds simple and straightforward enough right? Elizabeth Harrell in 5 Steps To Politely Declining Invitations, How To Decline An Invitation And Get Invited Back suggests to
“always begin with some version of “Thank you so much for your invitation.” Express gratitude for being thought of and when possible, transition quickly into a brief explanation of why you can’t accept (see Step 3). Some specific phrases that work well to express thanks include:
*I really appreciate you thinking of me but…*I wish I could, however…
*Your invitation means a great deal…
*I would rather be at your party but…”
Better late than never – Even when you are late in responding, it bodes well, rather than be construed as a total lack of consideration and snub, to call and explain the late response rather than no response at all.
But then there is the flip side. People you can’t invite or others that have invited themselves without you extending an invitation. For the sake of discussion, both categories would be classifed as the Uninvited Guests.
Question – What are dipolmatic ways of handling such delicate situations? A lot may be riding on how you communicate your “Not this time, maybe next or maybe never”. Ariel Meadow Stallings of Offbeat Bride suggests to blame it on the budget:
“Due to tight limitations on our budget, we’ve had to be pretty brutal in chopping down our guestlist. I’m so sorry that you can’t be there with us on the day, but we look forward to catching up afterwards!”
“There are so many people we would love to have been able to invite, but we’re trying to keep our wedding small. It means so much to me that you’re interested, and I sooo wish I could have everyone there with us!”
All in all, it is important to address it immediately and not let it linger. Be prepared to stand your ground but at the same time find a balance. The bottomline is these are friends, family members and well-wishers that would love an opportunity to celebrate with you.
Balancing act all the way – One way to do this is to clearly convey your appreciation for their love and concern:
“It means so much to both of us that you want to be at the wedding” and “It’s so disappointing that this won’t work out — I’m so glad you got in touch” can go a long way towards softening the blow of what boils down to, “You can’t come.”Offbeat Bride.
Do not be fooled there are so many other variations on the Sticky Situation with the Guest list and Reception. Do you invite them because they invited you; whom do I invite from work; are children allowed or not; you received a gift from someone you were not going to invite– what to do?