This weekend I was torn -- do I go to the out-of-state wedding I RSVP'ed to two years ago, or do I stay home and deal with my leaky roof (courtesy of Ike)?
Well, I sucked it up and went to the wedding. It was my past experience, and love of good graces, that propelled me to attend.
When you respond "yes," to a wedding invitation, barring death or disease, the only right and good thing to to is to attend. The bride and groom, or their family(ies) have laid out money and paid handsomely for your food and liquor up front. If you don't show, well, yeah, they're stuck with extra food that they won't ever see, but more importantly, it's rude.
If something super major does prevent you from attending, for Pete's sake, call the bride or groom, or a friend who can get the message through, and apologize profusely, and explain what is keeping you from celebrating their joy. And then follow up with a hand written apologetic note (not an email), preferably in the form of a nice card or wedding card, and include a cash gift. It's the right thing to do.
Do not do what (yet another) one of my rude guests did: A young man named "Kyle" was invited to our shindig. He responded that, yes, he and his SO would be attending. Great! As the cocktail hour drew to a close, no sign of Kyle and his SO; their place card sat untouched. No phone messages came in from Kyle; we worried that perhaps he'd had an accident, or perhaps crossed paths with the aforementioned death and disease.
Days after the reception, still no word from our acquaintance. My spouse emailed the young man to make sure everything was all right. His reply came back, "We went to the mall, spent the whole day shopping and had so much fun! We were just too tired to drive to your reception."
That was it. No "I'm sorry," no "oops" -- nothing. Not even a card -- empty or filled with cash.
Notice I called this guy an "acquaintance" -- he surely is no longer our friend.