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5 Etiquette Tips For Responding To Invitations

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Have you ever gotten an invitation in the mail, whether to a wedding, a baby shower, or a dinner party, and done nothing about it?

Maybe you hung it up on your fridge with every intention of attending, or left if in a pile of junk mail on your counter and never thought of it again.

If the answer is yes, then regardless of your intentions, you are doing it all wrong.

When it comes to the etiquette of responding to an invitation, the easiest way to know what to do is by considering common courtesy. If you were planning an event and took the time to send out invitations, how would you feel about getting nothing but radio silence from your guests?

No matter what type of event, if a host sends out an invitation, you as a guest should take the time to respond.

Here are some of the ins and outs on how to properly respond to an invitation.

RSVP vs. Regrets Only

The first step to knowing how to respond to an invitation is to check the instructions provided.

If your invite says RSVP, or “respondez s’il vous plait”, then the host is asking you respond with either a yes or a no.

Additionally, the invite will include instructions on how to respond. Some formal invites will come with an RSVP card and envelope that should be mailed back to the sender. Other invites might include a website, e-mail, or phone number for RSVP purposes.

On the other hand, some invitations might have “Regrets Only” listed, in which case you don’t have to respond unless you cannot attend the event.

Responding In a Timely Manner

Once you have decided whether or not you can or want to attend the event, you need to respond promptly. Most invitations will list a date that you have to reply by.

This is extremely important for the host, so they can plan accordingly. If someone is planning for a wedding, they need to have an accurate number in order to plan for things such as seating, catering, and party favors.

If your untimely response causes problems for the host, it doesn’t only cost them valuable time, but potentially money as well.

In the case of weddings, it has become a common practice to have a website dedicated to the event. This makes responding to an RSVP promptly simple.

Not Sure If You Can Attend?

If you get an invite but just can’t fully commit to a yes or no by the RSVP date, then the least you should do is reach out to the host.

Give them a call and let them know about your situation and see if the RSVP can be flexible.

That being said, you should only do this in extreme situations where you genuinely aren’t sure if you can make it.

An example would be a work conflict or travel arrangement issues. You shouldn’t do this if you simply aren’t sure if you want to go or not. Delaying an RSVP because you are waiting to see if you get a better invitation to something else is poor etiquette.

Can You Bring a Guest?

If you have decided you’re going to attend the event, then your next question might be whether or not you’re allowed to bring a friend or date.

If the event you’ve been invited to allows a guest or plus one, then there will be an allotted space for you to provide the information. Just double check on whether there is a limit to how many guests you are allowed.

If the invite doesn’t say anything about a plus one, then you shouldn’t bring a guest. If it’s a close friend, then you could ask them for a clarification, but otherwise just assume guests are not allowed, and the invitation was for you alone.

Last Minute Changes

Understandably, sometimes things just happen. Whether it’s a family emergency or you get a bad case of food poisoning, canceling last minute can be stressful, for you and the host.

If something comes up and you can no longer attend the event, always call the host and let them know. Not showing up without any warning is rude and will leave the host wondering what went wrong.

On top of that, it’s a good idea to follow up with a note or phone call and apologizing for missing the event.

Being a Good Guest — And Host

If you receive an invite and follow these tips, then everyone will be happy, and you’ll most likely get more invites in the future.

And while it is important to be a courteous invitee, hosts should also consider these rules when planning their events.

You want to be clear and concise when it comes to dates, times, guests, and deadlines. Taking the time to design your own save the date or invitation to specifically tailor your needs will help ensure more confident RSVPs in a timely manner.

If you want people to respond to you, then take the time to respond to them. That way, everyone will be happy!

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