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How to Graciously Excuse Yourself from Going to a Wedding

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Peggy Post via The Emily Post Institute
Since it's Wedding Week, and since we're determined to cover every aspect of the nuptial experience, we figured it was only fair to discuss the very real phenomenon of wedding fatigue. If you've never experienced it, just wait: Eventually, on some broiling August day, you'll realize that you're about to drag a date across state lines to celebrate the enduring love between someone you barely know and someone you've never met. And you'll wonder: Do I really have to go to this?

Peggy Post, wedding etiquette expert and director of The Emily Post Institute, says you can indeed get out of attending a wedding with class and dignity—but you have to be careful about it. First of all, don't lie. "You can be honest very benevolently," Post says. And secondly, make sure you've got a good reason. You can't just blurt, "I really don't want to come to your wedding," but it's perfectly acceptable to say something along the lines of "I looked into it and I can't afford to buy a ticket and fly out to California."

Speaking of funding issues: If you're not attending the wedding because you're broke, do you still have to buy a gift? Post says you do, but you don't have to be extravagant. The gift is a sign of your affection for the bride and groom; if you feel warmly towards them, plan your budget accordingly. Save-the-dates usually appear six months before the wedding, so you should have plenty of time to set money aside.

There is, however, one get-out-of-gift-free card. "If you've really lost track of the person," says Post, "maybe it's your long lost friend from high school and you haven't heard from them in 10 years and the invitation comes out of the clear blue, you still want to RSVP and send a note or card, but you're not obligated to send a gift."

Other important things to keep in mind for wedding-skippers: You can always go to the shower even if you can't make the wedding. Showers are gift-giving occasions, so you do want to bring a gift. But if you can't make the shower, maybe sure you RSVP, but you don't need to send a gift. Post adds, "If you're invited to multiple showers, you can bring a gift to the first shower. but you don't need to bring a gift to the others. Be smart: You don't have to give five different shower gifts."

What if you're invited to be an attendant in a wedding and you can't handle it? "I say give it some really serious thought," says Post. "It's an honor, but it's also very expensive. Quite a few people say they just really can't afford it, but really try to make it work. Have a heart-to-heart with your friend—if you've been invited, it means a lot."

This of course, brings us to our last question. For the record, Post says she did indeed see Bridesmaids. She thought it was quite amusing.
· Peggy Post [The Emily Post Institute]
· All Weddings Week coverage [Racked NY]