Nothing gets a party host more annoyed than a group of guests who have failed to respond to the invitation, especially if the host must pay a caterer per head or purchase supplies for a specific number of people. If you are unable to attend an event, send your regrets as soon as your plans are confirmed. Sending your regrets promptly is good etiquette; RSVP means "please respond" in French, after all. responding to an invitation is simple and takes only a moment of your time.
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Check the event invitation for the RSVP-by-date and other pertinent information. Send your regrets immediately upon receiving the invitation, if you are certain that you won't be attending the event. If you don't know whether you can attend yet, it's OK to wait until you're sure of your schedule, as long as you respond before the RSVP date.
Respond via the method indicated on the invitation. If there is a response card, check the box that says you will not be attending and put the invitation in the mail. If the event is for a close friend or family member, you also may want to phone him to explain why you can't attend and to express your thanks for the invitation.
Call or e-mail the host, depending on the information listed on the invitation, if there is not a response card. Thank her for the invitation and express your regrets for not being able to attend. There is no need to explain why you aren't attending, unless the host is close to you and will want to know why.
Respond online in the case of an electronic invitation such as an Evite. Simply click the link to indicate you will not be attending the event. Adding a short note thanking the host or explaining why you can't come is appropriate.
Contact your host as soon as possible, if your schedule has changed and you can make the event after all. Changing your RSVP from a "no" to a "yes" can be tricky, especially if the event is taking place at a restaurant or banquet facility. If your last-minute attendance will cause a burden for the host, stay home.
Tips and warnings
- A "regrets only" invitation indicates that you only need to RSVP if you're not attending. However, do contact your host as soon as possible, if you can't be there.
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