What Is the Proper Way to Accept an Invitation?

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According to Emily Post, the proper way to accept any formal invitation is to use the same method in which the invitation was received. Whether accepting or declining the invitation, it is important to respond promptly.

Many invitations, both formal and informal, include the acronym “RSVP,” which is French for “respondez s’il vous plait.” In English, this translates to “please respond.” When responding to a written invitation, a written response is appropriate but may be in the form of a hand-written note or an email if such was provided. Many wedding invitations include an RSVP card, which should be completed and returned promptly via mail or hand delivery.

When responding to an invitation, be sure to say whether or not others listed on the invite will be attending. This includes a “plus one” invitation. When it is necessary to decline an invitation, sending regrets promptly shows the greatest courtesy and potentially saves the host both time and money. Some good phrases to use in a written acceptance may include:

  • “Thank you for your invitation …”
  • “Thank you for inviting me to attend the opera …”

When declining an invitation, some useful phrases might include: “Thank you for your invitation. Due to a previous commitment …” The formality of the written language used in any response should follow the formality of the invitation itself.