While you'd like to be present at every pre-wedding party, it isn't always an option.
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Credit: Vicki Bartel

Although pre-wedding events are very important to the bride and groom, most couples will be understanding if a member of the bridal party can't make every single one. Still, it's important to follow the proper etiquette protocols if you're unable to attend a pre-wedding event. Whether you're not able to make it to the bridal shower, bachelorette or bachelor party, or the rehearsal dinner, here's how to handle the situation with grace.

Make Sure You Meet Any RSVP Deadlines

"As a member of the wedding party, there is no need to fret if you can't attend a pre-wedding event," says Camille McLamb, founder of Camille Victoria Weddings LLC in Chicago. Instead of rearranging your schedule, let the couple know about your situation. And do so in a timely manner. "Let the couple know as soon as possible, and definitely be sure to meet any RSVP deadlines."

Make Sure the Bride and Groom Know That Their Wedding Is Important to You

Lauren Grech, CEO of LLG Events, says that though they'll be understanding of your absence, it's nice to remind them that being there to celebrate on the wedding day is important to you. She suggests reminding them that you're sorry that you can't attend the pre-wedding party, but you're more excited than ever to be by their side on the big day.

It's Wise to Send a Small Gift

When Grech can't attend an important pre-wedding celebration, she likes to send along a small gift, like a bottle of Champagne. Other options are to take the couple out to dinner to celebrate, plan a special night with them, or surprise them with a favorite drink or treat on the morning of the wedding. Katherine Frost, luxury wedding planner at A Frosted Affair, also suggests penning a note to go along with your gift. "Send a handwritten card explaining your sincere disappointment and why you cannot attend the event," she suggests, adding that including a bouquet of beautiful flowers in an especially nice touch.

Don't Ditch the Wedding Party Event for Something You Can Do Any Other Time

While the couple will understand you have to miss their pre-wedding celebration for an important obligation, there's a good chance they'll be a little upset if they learn you're skipping out on their party for something you can do any other time. "Don't ditch the pre-wedding event for something you can do any other time," Frost says. "Bailing on her shower for something you can do at another time, no matter how much you love it, will only make you appear selfish."

Don't Lie

"While you might be tempted to make up an iron-clad excuse for your absence, the odds are your trickery will be revealed at some point," Frost says. And when it is, the bride may forgive but she will never forget.


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