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Sending invitations

Responding to Invitations


Sending invitations

If he is lucky, a gentleman gets invited to a great many occasions. He may also throw a few parties and host a few events on his own. In either case, the sending out of invitations, or the receiving back of responses to them, is a major cause for concern. 

n  When a gentleman is hosting an event, he always sends out written invitations, at least 10 days before the response date listed on the invitation.

n  A gentleman knows that it is never correct to send e-mail invitations for a major social event, such as a wedding, a bar or bat mitzvah, or a major anniversary. Such occasions, even now, deserve the kiss of a lip along the edge of an envelope.

n  If he chooses to use e-mail to invite people for drinks, or some other clever, off-the-cuff event, he will be wise to follow up with a phone call.

n  Whenever a gentleman sends an invitation, via any means, he make sure to give the precise time and address of the party. He also makes sure people know what they are expected to wear.  “Casino Casual,” means almost nothing, as a dress code. “Sports coats; no ties,” makes all things clear.

n  If a gentleman expects people to respond to his invitation, he includes “r.s.v.p.” at the left bottom corner of the invitation. If he writes “regrets only” in the left corner, he expects only to hear from people who are not coming to his party. “Regrets only” is only useful if the party is large, and if no one is to be seated at a table.



Responding to Invitations

n  Whenever a gentleman receives an invitation, via mail or e-mail, he responds to it as swiftly as possible.

n  If an invitation is marked “r.s.v.p.” ( translated from the French as “Please reply”), a gentleman must write in, or call in, his response, saying whether he will, or will not be able to attend. If the invitation is marked “Regrets only,” he need only reply if he does not plan to attend the event. In either case, a gentleman is kind if he responds by saying, “I will be there,” or “I won’t be able to make it.”

n  A gentleman responds to an invitation in the style in which he received it. Thus, a response to a formal engraved invitation requires a handwritten response in formal style. If, in the invitation, Dr. and Mrs. Gratius Grantham Astrome requested “the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Myflannye Astrome to Esn. Cornelious Blank, U.S.N.” followed by a reception at the Ball Dome Club, on Friday evening, May 28, at 8 o’clock, a gentleman must respond, by hand.

His response, written by hand, must say, either: 

Mr. Gilbert Stone

is honored to accept Mrs.Astrome’s kind invitation

for the Ball Dome Club,

on Friday evening, May 28, at 8 o’clock

That way, he makes it clear that Mrs. Astrome knows he knows where he’s supposed to be, and at what hour. Or, if he must decline, he writes:


Mr. Gilbert Stone

regrets that he is unable to accept

Mrs. Astrome’s kind invitation

for Friday evening, May 28.

  Since he’s not going to be there, he need not add any more details.He only responds to the invitation for the reception, not to the invitation to the wedding. The reception is the party. The wedding ceremony is a sacred service, at which the head count, theoretically, is unimportant. 

n  E-mails are usually sent only to the most casual events, and they may be responded to, in kind.

n  “E-vites” are to be avoided at all costs. A gentleman responds to them, but only by a separate e-mail, or a phone call. He does not encourage this commercialization of common courtesy.

n  In all events, a gentleman never forgets the intention of “r.s.v.p.” Neither does he forget his responsibility to say thank you at the end of a lovely evening.

n  He may use e-mail to say “thank you” for a lovely evening – but only if he would have said the same thing, otherwise, by telephone.




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