Every woman who has received a baby or bridal shower invitation has, at one time or another, had to decline the invitation. This can be a touchy situation, especially if the honoree is a close friend or relative. It is best to be honest and polite. It is also best to actually respond to the hostess to decline the invitation. Simply not showing up is rude and can be hurtful.
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Read the invitation. Many shower invitations have instructions on how the hostess would like to be contacted. Most provide a phone number or an e-mail address.
Set aside a few minutes to decide how you want to phrase your regret at not being able to attend the shower. A simple, "I'm sorry, I will not be able to attend Suzy's shower," should suffice. Remember to thank the hostess for the invitation. If it is a close friend or relative, a reason needs to be stated. Remember to keep your response short, sweet and to the point.
Call, e-mail or write the hostess (depending upon the RSVP instructions on the invitation) and express your regret. If you would like, you can still send the honoree a present, which is recommended if she is a close friend or relative. Respond as soon as possible to help the hostess plan her event.