Don’t you just love the feeling of slicing open an envelope and carefully sliding out a personalised invitation with your name on it? Even better if it’s vellum, gilt-edged or embossed with a crest!
Even after all these years, and countless invitations, I still love that moment as the sharp opener slices clean the envelope to reveal its contents.
Those little moments of using my letter opener are becoming rarer and rarer.
Have you noticed an increased propensity for invitations to arrive by email?
Even wedding invitations turn up via email!
You can call me old-fashioned. I know electronic is better for the planet and more cost-efficient, but in my book, you can’t beat paper.
The days of snail mail envelopes are almost gone. Perhaps, in the not too distant future, they will be entirely obsolete.
Anyway, I digress.
No matter how an invitation arrives, it nearly always has RSVP on it (répondez s’il vous plait) and date to reply by. Of course, electronic invitations can get trapped in your spam filter or the junk mailbox, so you’re often none the wiser till it’s too late!
Responding is just plain good manners.
Yep! I can remember my grandmother always used to insist on Basildon Bond stationery to write RSVP’s and thank you notes. But, aside from not wanting to appear rude, there are other less obvious reasons why you should always RSVP.
#1 – Someone has thought enough about you to place you on their guest list. They want you at their event.
Give them the courtesy of knowing you appreciate being thought of. That’s the RSVP.
#2 – When we look at the business scenario – invitations are a way of saying “Hey, we value you. We’d like your company”. You’re being invited, you’ll be giving or gaining something from your presence at the event. Hopefully, you’ll do both!
Your RSVP, whether you’re accepting or declining, means you respect the business relationship.
#3 – If you repeatedly fail to respond, you could well find yourself scrubbed off the database permanently. When that happens, if you’re in business, it means the networking opportunities become more limited.
#4 – When you RSVP promptly (by the due date at the latest), you’re showing that you respect deadlines and value the organisers time.
Your appropriately timed RSVP is affirming that you’re a responsible and reliable person to deal with.
When sending an RSVP, if you need to decline, there is no need to go into any detail about why you are declining. A simple ‘regretfully unable to attend’ is usually sufficient.
If you are in the public eye or a position of seniority, you may well find yourself flooded with invitations.
Just because you’re invited does not mean you have to accept. It’s perfectly okay to decide what you will and won’t attend. Just make sure you RSVP to every single invitation that arrives with RSVP on it!
The easiest way not to forget is to do it immediately, or at the very least make a diary date and flag so you don’t miss it. It’s all too easy to forget when you get busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday living.
P.S. Emily Post has this to say on RSVP’s
Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.