Invitation Etiquette

five great invitation etiquette tips!

Receiving an invitation comes with some responsibilities. Follow the following invitation etiquette tips to continue to be invited.

1. RSVP Etiquette

Répondez s'il vous plaît - "RSVP" - French for please reply. When you see it, it means the host would like you to tell them whether you are attending. Follow the number one guest invitation etiquette rule and promptly reply (don’t wait longer than one or two days).

2. Response Etiquette

The invitation should indicate how to respond. Follow the instructions.

  1. No card to respond. Write a note to the host and send it to the invitation envelope return address.
  2. Card to respond. Complete the card and mail it in the envelope provided.
  3. Phone numbers. Call and speak to the host in person (don’t rely on voice-mail).
  4. Email. Send an email declining or accepting.
  5. Only regrets. Send a reply if you do not plan to attend. If you send nothing, the host is counting on you to attend.

Even if no reply is requested, good etiquette requires that you communicate your plans to the host (a call, text, or email will work).

3. Etiquette for a Change in Plans

If you’ve accepted, changing your response to no is only appropriate if you are ill, there has been a family death, or a very important, unavoidable conflict with your job. Let your host know as soon as you know you must change your response. Violating this rule is a big etiquette breach.

Never cancel just because you think you’ve been invited to a better party.

Never fail to show up without word.

Only change to an acceptance if you are certain the host will not be inconvenienced.

4. Bringing Someone Not Invited

It is best not to ask. The invitation will state whether a “+1” is welcome.

Dates. If the invitation states a plus one is welcome, provide the guest’s name in your response.

Children. The invitation will say if children are welcome.

Houseguests. Decline, but say why you are declining. The host will extend their invitation to the houseguest if they want to.

5. “Thank You” Etiquette

Thank your host at the party and again on the following day (a note or phone call is fine).