10 Wedding Wishes When You Can’t Attend the Wedding

Regardless of how much we want to make it to someone’s wedding, there are times wherein the circumstances simply do not allow it. Missing their special day can make both sides feel a little down. Sending a card with your wedding wishes is a way to show them you care even from miles away.

The best wedding wishes when you can’t attend the wedding contain the following elements:

  • A congratulation to the newlyweds
  • An apology for being unable to attend the wedding
  • A brief explanation of why you were unable to attend (Optional)
  • Expression of love and support for the newlyweds
  • A promise to make plans to catch up (Optional)

Examples of wedding wishes are provided below, as well as a step-by-step procedure on how to write your own wedding wishes. Additionally, tips to keep in mind are given which can make writing wedding wishes easier.

Wedding Wishes to Send When You Can’t Attend the Wedding

wedding letter wishes

1. “To Simon and Nora,

Congratulations on your wedding! We really wish we were there to watch you tie the knot. We wish you all the best, and we hope that you have the special day of your dreams.

Henry and June”

2. “To Alex and Sarah,

Congratulations, you two! We are thinking of you and celebrating your special day with you in spirit. We are looking forward to seeing beautiful photos from your wedding!

Philip and Margaret”

3. “Dear Amanda and John,

Congratulations on your wedding day! We are sending love and support all the way from Arizona to New York. Let’s have dinner and drinks the next time we visit, our treat — tell us all about your special day!

All our love,
Tim and Anna”

4. “To Joshua and Rebecca,

Congratulations on your special day! We are very sorry we couldn’t make it, mom was advised against long-distance travel by her doctor. Do know that we are there with you in spirit for your beautiful wedding.

Best regards,
The Dela Cruz Family”

5. “To Lea and Robert,

Congratulations! We are so sad we wouldn’t be able to make it to your special day, but we have the rest of our lives to celebrate your love and connection.

As always,
Jim and Sam”

6. “To Becky and Max,

Congratulations on finally tying the knot! Look at you two; it feels just like yesterday when you two were still pining for each other. The next time you come to visit us here in Alaska, let’s catch up over dinner and you can tell us all about your special day.

Ellie and Samuel”

7. “Dear Mr. & Mrs. Hayakawa,

Congratulations, love birds! We’re so sorry we couldn’t make it to your special day, our son caught the flu a few days ago and still isn’t feeling well enough to go. We are celebrating your marriage at home with a glass or two of champagne while dancing to ABBA.

The Tsukahara Family”

8. “To Riley and Dominic,

Congratulations on your wedding! I am so sorry I wasn’t able to make it to your special day, I had work appointments I couldn’t get out of. I am sending you all of my love and well wishes.



9. “To Peter and Natalie,

First of all, congratulations on your magical day! You looked gorgeous in your engagement photoshoot; I can only imagine how beautiful of a couple you were at your wedding. I am so sorry I couldn’t make it to your destination wedding; finances have been a bit rough recently. Do know that I was celebrating with you in spirit! Can’t wait to catch up with you soon.

Warm regards,

10. “Dear Kim and Nico,

Congratulations! We hope everything went according to plan and gave you enough beautiful memories to last a lifetime. We’re so sorry we couldn’t make it. We look forward to seeing all the pictures from your special day!

All the best,
Ramon and Lily”

How to Write Wedding Wishes When You Can’t Attend

pen letter

Address the Couple

“To (name of husband) and (name of wife),” is the aptest way to address the couple at the beginning of your wedding wishes. You may also use their surnames. The salutation “dear” can also be utilized.

Congratulate the Couple on their Wedding

A simple “Congratulations!” is the best way to start wedding wishes. Congratulate the couple on their special day and their union.

Apologize for Missing the Wedding

Being unable to attend a wedding ceremony is difficult for both the guests and the couple, especially if they have a close relationship. With that said, by saying “I’m so sorry I can’t make it to your special day,” you acknowledge that you wish you were celebrating with them instead.

State Your Reason

Missing a wedding ceremony is rarely intentional. There are plenty of reasons why someone cannot make it to a wedding, regardless of its significance and how close they are to the couple. Some reasons include:

  • Financial reasons – this is particularly common for couples having a destination wedding, such as national park weddings and adventure elopements. Travel and accommodation costs can quickly stack up depending on the location. Some people may not be able to afford a plane or train ticket.
  • Medical reasons – people can get sick and not recover in time for the wedding. Attending the event puts them and the other guests at risk. Likewise, people with disabilities or health conditions may not get cleared by their doctor for travel.
  • Occupational reasons – some people’s workplaces might not be flexible or giving. Their day off might not line up with the day of the wedding, or they could not get approved for leave. They may also have other appointments, such as conferences or interviews, lined up that they cannot miss.
  • External reasons – these are reasons outside a person’s control. These include inclement weather, passport and/or visa issues, logistical problems, and so on.
  • Personal reasons – besides those already mentioned, someone may not be able to attend the wedding because of personal reasons. An example of this would be prioritizing their emotional wellness.

This step is completely optional, as you can keep your reason to yourself if you prefer doing so. Regardless, unless you are a vendor for the wedding or you are part of the bridal party, do know that you are not obligated to attend a wedding if circumstances do not allow it. Writing wedding wishes and sending them to the couple will be enough.

Send Love and Support

love support letter

Tell them that you wish them all the best in their life as a married couple. Let them know that despite the distance, you are celebrating their marriage in spirit. It is important for the couple to know that even though you were not able to attend their wedding, you support their union and will be there for them.

Make Plans to Catch Up

You may also tell the couple how much you anticipate hearing about their special day, whether it be through the release of pictures or a day to personally catch up. Make dinner plans or invite them over for a meal sometime. Again, this step is completely optional and can depend on your closeness to the couple.

Use a Warm and Loving Signoff

The signoff is the closing of the wedding wishes. The most commonly used signoffs include “sincerely yours” and “respectfully yours.” However, there are other options for signoffs that can better convey your sentiments to the couple, such as:

  • Love,
  • All the best,
  • All our love,
  • Lots of love,
  • Best regards,
  • Fondly,
  • Warmly,
  • Yours,
  • Appreciatively,
  • Faithfully,
  • Warm regards,
  • With gratitude,
  • Affectionately,
  • As always,

Tips to Keep in Mind When Writing Wedding Wishes

person typing computer

Write Sincerely

As with any letter, you must write wedding wishes from the heart and be sincere in what you say. Genuinely feeling happy for the couple will translate to heartfelt words on paper.

Make it Short but Sweet

Wedding wishes do not have to be essays spanning multiple pages. Concise but touching messages are perfectly fine.

Consider Your Relationship to the Couple

Your relationship with the couple will influence the tone you use in writing your wedding wishes. Being a close friend or relative to the newlyweds may give you more freedom to be humorous and comedic. However, if it is an acquaintance or your boss, you may want to stick with a formal message.

Personalize the Message

In line with the previous tip, if you are close with the newlyweds, then you may insert some inside jokes or humorous sentiments. Tell them a brief but funny story that encapsulates their relationship, or recall a fond memory you have of the two of them.

A personalized message shows love and care and is a testament to your relationship with them. Moreover, it will make them feel special, and can more than make up for your absence on their special day.

Electronic Draft

In drafting your wedding wishes, it is best to use an online application or software. Through this, you will be able to catch any grammatical errors and promptly fix them. Making revisions is also easier, given that you can simply delete sentences you no longer wish to keep. This will save you ink, paper, and time during the drafting process.

Write Instead of Print

Once you are done drafting your wedding wishes, it is better to have them handwritten than printed. The additional effort will be well appreciated by the couple.

Understandably so, some people may hesitate to write letters by hand because they do not like their handwriting or fear that the lines of text will be crooked. The latter can be avoided by putting a sheet of lined paper underneath the paper you intend to write on. As for your handwriting, it would not matter much as long as the words are legible — the sentiment is what is going to be remembered.

Use Quality Stationery

blank paper

Using stationery with high quality not only results in an aesthetically better letter, but it also connotes your love and care for the recipient.

As for the writing tool, fountain pens are the best choice. Not only is a fountain pen easier to use, but it also gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of weight, diameter, and length. Because fountain pens require less hand pressure, your hand will not become fatigued quickly. Ballpoint pens are a good alternative. Black and blue ink are classic and elegant options.

The best papers to use have a watermark and a gsm of 100, which prevents the ink from showing through. Cream, ivory, and white paper are generally preferred.

Better Late than Never

The ideal time to send your wedding wishes is as close to the wedding day as possible. The perfect window of time is a few days before and after the ceremony.

However, you are still allowed to send your wedding wishes outside of that window of time. As the saying goes, it is better late than never. The sentiment is what matters the most.

Final Thoughts

To write wedding wishes when you can’t attend the wedding, start by congratulating the newlyweds for their union. Then, briefly apologize for your absence. If you are comfortable, you may also state the reason for your absence. Next, express your love and support for the couple. You can end the body of your message there, or you can make plans to catch up in the near future.

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