You walk to your mailbox, open up the little door and bring a stack of envelopes back into your home. You sort through bills and some junk mail and then, at the bottom of the stack of papers, you find an invitation. You’ve been officially invited to a birthday party, wedding or other celebration. Hooray! At the bottom of the invite, you see a note asking guests to RSVP before a certain date. Great, you think. You have a couple weeks to send your confirmation or regrets, right? Wrong. You actually need to send back that RSVP, ASAP.
According to Emily Post, you should really RSVP to a social engagement in a timely manner. That usually means within a few days of receiving the invitation, if not 24 hours. Everything about hosting a party comes down to numbers, from how many chairs to rent for a wedding shower to how many cases of beer to buy for a Super Bowl party. Making sure that you respond as soon as you can helps your host out immensely, and it helps you to fill out your own social calendar as well.
If you’re not going to be sure of your schedule until closer to that final “RSVP by” date, contact your host and send them a quick message telling them that you will send your confirmation or polite decline as soon as you are able to.
It’s also important to respond to an invitation in the manner that the host asks. If they send you a paper invitation and ask you to RSVP via a wedding website, follow those instructions. If they ask for regrets only, be sure to only give them a call if you’re not going to be able to make the event. Be sure to regard e-vites, whether they are via social media or via an email, as you would a paper or phone invitation. Not doing so is a major breach of online etiquette.
Responding to invitations as quickly as humanly possible is something that the most polite people do, as it is helpful for hosts and also crosses something off your “to do” list. Being sure you drop that invite card back into the mailbox within a day or two is an easy way to become the best-ever party guest.