Most people sending written and formal invitation include an R.S.V.P. in their invitation. R.S.V.P. is an abbreviated French phrase, which stands for "répondez, s'il vous plait" or in English, "please reply". This is actually the host of the party's practical way of determining how many guests are coming and how much food and drink the host is going to prepare.
A person receiving a written invitation should be at least courteous enough to reply whether he is attending or not. Here are the steps on how to properly respond to a written invitation.
Read the invitation. Make sure you read the invite carefully. From the invitation, you could help you decide the right response for the invitation.
Decide whether you will attend the event of not. After reading the invitation, make a decision whether to attend the event of not. Before trying to reply, make sure that your decision is final. Some formal events take your words seriously. Finalize your decision first before doing anything.
Read the R.S.V.P. note written in the invitation. The R.S.V.P. note written in the invitation will tell you the details on how to contact the host. Either by telephone, emails or snail mail, you must follow the instructions stated in the invitation.
Provide a response to the host according to the R.S.V.P. note. After reading the R.S.V.P. note, you can now start writing your response. Your response will depend on what is written in the R.S.V.P. note. If the host asks you to send a written reply, use a blank card or personal stationery. Your response should only be brief and specific. You do not have to write a long letter about the reasons why you can't attend the event.
Send your response at least one week before the event. Make sure that you respond as early as possible, or at least one week before the party. Remember that the hosts will use this to determine the number of guests he/she will be expecting and at the same time, determine how much food will be prepared. If you respond just a few days before the event, the host might have to make few adjustments.
Remember that when you send your response letter to the host and make sure that your decision is final. It is very impolite to suddenly change your decision, especially if you suddenly decided not to go.
Understand what "Regrets only" means. Some invitations state a "regrets only" message. This means that the host only asks those individuals to reply if they think they won't be able to make it. If didn't respond to the invitation, the host will automatically assume that you will be there.
These are the steps on how to properly reply to a written invitation. If you are not going to attend the event, make sure you send a special note to the host indicating your reasons why you can attend the party. Remember that even if you are not going, you should still at least tell it to the host as an act of respect and consideration for inviting you.