When you receive a formal invitation for a social engagement, proper etiquette requires you to respond. If you will not be able to make the vent, or you simply do not wish to go, you may feel uncomfortable declining the invite. Luckily, if you follow these simple rules, you can rest assured that you have graciously responded, despite the fact you could not accept the invitation.
It is always in good taste to thank the hostess for inviting you to attend the party. Even if you cannot make the party, it was thoughtful of her to include you on the guest list. Be sincere when expressing your gratitude. You may also wish to add a pleasantry such as an invitation to get together soon, since you will be missing out on her company the night of the party.
Declining an invitation can be done without using lengthy excuses. Long excuses may sound fake, so keep it short and simple. You are not required to give a reason for declining the invitation, however, if you wish, you may give an honest, short answer. A simple, "I cannot make it, I have a previous engagement" is polite and appropriate. Refrain from giving a reason that may lead the hostess to believe that you have something better or more important to do.
Responding by the date requested on the invitation is crucial if the hostess has provided and RSVP date. If there was not a specific date mentioned, there are basic rules to adhere to. If the event requires you to travel a long distance by plane, train or bus,or if the event requires you to stay overnight, you should reply within 10 days of receiving the invitation. If the event is in driving distance but an hour or more away by car, you must reply within 10 days before the event. If the party requires no travel, reply within 72 hours before the event.
Keep your response tactful if you must decline an invitation to a party. It is rude to share with a hostess that you will not attend an event due to the fact that you have something more interesting to do. It is also inappropriate to decline after accepting the invitation because something else came up. If you cannot or do not wish to attend the party, for whatever reason, politely decline, keeping your hostess's feelings in mind.
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images