Editor’s note: As an etiquette guide, this article is based on opinion. It’s goal is to create a standard.
I’ve already talked about how to send out invitations but the other side of invitations needs to be discussed as well. Many people don’t know how to handle receiving an invitation.
First thing, always RSVP. If your host asks for RSVPs it means a confirmed guest list is essential to the next stage of their planning. If they didn’t, then it’s just a considerate gesture. Try not to give a maybe response and if you do, specify whether it’s a soft maybe, meaning you probably won’t come, or a hard maybe, meaning you probably will. Also, hold yourself to your response. If you say you’re going to come, then do.
If you say you’re not coming, give a reason. It needs to be honest but it doesn’t need to be specific. If the reason you decline the invitation would be rude to say, then your inattendance is rude.
If you have questions that weren’t answered in the invitation, feel free to ask when you RSVP. Otherwise, just give your host the information they ask for. After you give your RSVP, be sure to keep the information in the invitation at hand, you’ll need it later.
If there’s a dress code specified on the invitation, be sure to dress appropriate. Also, if any other etiquette is specified, be sure to observe that as well.
One thing most people are unaware of, not attending doesn’t exempt you from giving a gift. If you would’ve brought a gift if you’d attended, then send a gift if you don’t. When you send a gift try to have it arrive as close to the date as possible, and early is better than late.
One last thing. Be sure to thank your host for the invitation, at some point during the event itself.