Wediquette Wednesday: What do I say to people who sent a ‘yes’ R.S.V.P to my wedding, then didn’t show?


Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: Last month, I got married. We held the wedding outside, kept it extremely small and practiced strict social distancing and mask guidelines per the CDC, state and city COVID-19 guidelines. We also streamed the ceremony for anyone who couldn’t or didn’t feel comfortable attending in person. Our safety precautions were spelled out on the wedding site, on all of the correspondence and we assured everyone who reached out with questions. Despite all of that, there were still a lot of people who didn’t show up, even though they said they were coming. We held the wedding at my parent’s house, so we only lost money on food and beverage, but more than that, we are hurt. What do I say to people who sent a ‘yes’ R.S.V.P to my wedding, then didn’t show?

Answer: It’s understandable that you would be hurt. It’s also understandable, given the advice of medical professionals, state and local governments and the CDC to stay home as much as possible and to avoid gatherings, that a lot of people are still not comfortable attending dinners, parties and weddings. It’s likely that your no-show guests said yes to attending the wedding out of obligation then later, began to feel anxious about it and couldn’t follow through. My best advice to everyone as we navigate the pandemic and all of the stress, anxiety, restrictions, isolation and confusion that have come with it, whether it’s about weddings or anything else, is to allow each other grace. We are all going through a tough time and may not be ourselves. It’s best not to say anything and if it comes up, be honest and say you were disappointed that you were unable to celebrate with them, but that you understand it’s a tough time right now and everyone has to do what’s best for them and their families. Then give them a mental hall pass. You can’t go wrong with kindness — especially now.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email



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