Invitation Etiquette

June 04, 2012  |     |   0 Comment

It’s party season!  Weddings, office summer parties, gala events, backyard barbecues – the summer weather inspires and raises our mood to celebrate!  If you receive an invitation to an event, it is important to recognize that your invitation comes with important obligations.  Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure you are kept on the guest list:

1.  Understanding and Respecting a “RSVP”

“RSVP” is an abbreviation for the French term “Repondez s’il vous plait,” or “Please reply.”  Proper etiquette dictates that you accept or decline the invitation within a day or two of receiving the invitation.

2.  How to Respond to an Invitation

The invitation you receive will indicate the manner in which you should respond. If you receive an invitation via email, it is acceptable to respond electronically. If the invitation provides a number to call and contact person with whom to speak, ensure you call and speak to the appropriate person.  If you receive an invitation with a response card, fill out the card and send it in the mail. If the invitation indicates “regrets only”, this means that you reply ONLY if you cannot attend.  If your host does not hear from you, then he or she WILL be expecting you.  If an invitation does not request a reply, it is still polite to let the host know whether or not you will be attending by placing a phone call.

3.  Follow Through

Once you have accepted an invitation, it is considered bad manners to change your “yes” to a “no.”  It is only acceptable to do so in cases of illness, injury, family emergency, or an unavoidable professional conflict.  If you do find yourself in such a position, call your host immediately and explain your situation.  Canceling because you may have a “better” offer, are “too tired”, or “just not in the mood” is sure you get you dropped from future guest lists.

4.  Understand “Who” has been Invited

An invitation that has been extended to you indicates that YOU are the person that the host(s) want to invite, and no one else.  Some invitations may indicate that you can bring a guest.  When you reply to the invitation, it is important that you indicate whether you will be doing so by conveying your guest’s name.  Never ask if you can bring your children; if your children were invited then it would be indicated on the invitation.

5.  Keep it Brief

When you receive an invitation, you are not obligated to accept it nor to explain the reasons if you decline the invitation.  If you feel you must do so, it is best to keep your explanation brief.  Writing a polite note of regret goes a long way.

6.  Remember to say “Thank You”

When you are ready to leave a party, always remember to find your host(s) and say “thank you.”  It is also considerate to call the next day to do so again, or even better to write a “thank you” card and send it in the mail to your hosts.

By keeping the above tips in mind when you receive an invitation to an event, you will be sure to impress your host(s) and keep your name on the guest list.




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