Dear Mrs P
Thank you so much for inviting me to your daughter’s wedding. It was most kind of you. It is with regret, however, that I must sadly decline owing to an unfortunate and incapacitating condition which precludes my attendance.
I do hope you have a splendid day
And that would have been that until I accidentally bumped into members of the family out riding their bikes, walking the dog, or being engaged in some other activity which resulted in our paths crossing. They would have greeted me:
‘Hello, Jeff.’ (That’s as much as I usually get, but this time they would have gone on.) ‘I didn’t know you were ill.’
‘Well, erm, I’m not actually ill as such.’
‘But you said you had a condition.’
‘I see, and what sort of condition is it – if you don’t mind me asking?’
‘I have a serious allergy.’
‘Oh dear, that sounds awful. An allergy to what, exactly?’
And then they would have hurried off in a huff, congratulating each other on the fact that they’d never invited me to tea in the eleven years I've known them. It would have been very embarrassing.