How to Leave a Wedding Early

It’s a magical night – for the couple – but after a long drive and an even longer ceremony, all you want to do is get home. So if you’ve ever wondered how to skip out of a wedding early, check out Modern Manners Guy’s 3 tips for polite departure.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #250


The other day a friend texted me from a wedding to ask about the proper protocol on bailing out a little early. He liked the couple, and the wedding was fun, but his issue was that he had a long drive home and was just exhausted.  No matter how beautiful the wedding, or how fun the reception, you will find yourself – at least once in your life – searching for a proper way to exit early.>

Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing: You received a wedding invitation because  someone who cares about you wants you to be there on their big day. A little guilt? Yes… but with good reason. There is nothing wrong with wanting to leave the festivities early, but you have remember that there is someone else to think about. And yet, you can’t stop thinking to yourself, “I gotta get out of here!”  How do you pull off the great escape? Check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for how to properly leave a wedding early.

Tip #1: The Babysitter

I’ll be the first to say it: I love my kids to pieces, but they have forced my wife and me to leave events early on numerous occasions. Sometimes leaving early is a blessing, but other times, like when my daughter threw up all over herself (and me) at a birthday party, I have no choice but to leave right away, even though I was enjoying the party.

See also: Children at Weddings

In any situation, good or bad, kids come first. So for a big wedding, Mrs. Modern Manners Guy and I always get a babysitter to watch the kids. The sitter is instructed to call us if anything comes up. I’m not talking about the kids whining because they don’t want to go to bed until we come home or crying because they got a paper cut. The sitter should be able to handle that without bothering us. What I am talking about is children being very sick, or something wrong with the house, or some other dire situation that needs our attention ASAP.

Getting a call from the sitter at a wedding is never fun. They never call for a good reason so as soon as you see the number on your phone, you know your evening is about to be compromised. Nonetheless, when you get an emergency call about your children or family and have to leave a wedding, it’s completely appropriate to do so. Don’t make a big deal about it but tell the couple that you have to leave asap due to a family issue that just came up. Make sure they understand how badly you want to be there but that this is out of your control. You don’t want to worry them though, so don’t delve into specifics.   

Now, if you are in the wedding, that’s another story. In this case, your date/husband/wife/etc. should tackle the situation at home while you stay at the wedding. If you have to divide and conquer, that’s totally okay. The person who is less involved in the wedding takes one for the team.

There is one more thing: If you have kids and they’re just fine at home, but you really want to leave the wedding early for one reason or another, the kids provide a nice excuse. Am I advocating lying? Absolutely not. However, if you and your spouse have young children and don’t get to spend much time together, and the wedding is a royal bore, a little white lie to sneak out early won’t hurt anyone. Just saying…