How to Respond to a Written Invitation. Responding to an invitation properly demonstrates your good manners, and it is also a mark of respect and consideration for your host.
Read the invitation carefully. Often it gives a hint as to a preferred mode of response.
If a response card with envelope is provided, fill it out and send it off in a timely manner. If the invitation gives a phone number, call as soon as you know whether you will attend.
Use your personal stationery or a blank card to respond to a formal invitation that doesn't come with a response card. Write some variation of the following: 'Joseph Mackenzie and guest, Rachel Helfond, accept with pleasure the invitation to dine with the Stellmans on 15 June 2001.' Or if you cannot attend, send your regrets: 'I regret that I will not be attending the dinner party, as I must be out of town.'
Mail the response in time to assure at least one week's notice.
Keep in mind that 'Regrets only' means you should respond only if you do not plan on attending the event.
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RSVP is an abbreviation for the French phrase répondez s'il vous plaît, which means 'please reply.'
If you don't respond'unless specifically instructed not to'your host's horrified face shouldn't surprise you when you make an appearance anyway.