1. All invitations, written or verbal, must be accepted or refused as soon as possible. To delay in replying to an invitation is to inconvenience your hostess, so always let her know promptly. If your plans for that day are unsettled or indefinite, an outright declining of the invitation is better than a complicated recitation of your indefinite social involvement. In refusing, it is sufficient simply to state that a conflicting duty or social engagement prevents your accepting. Once you have declined, you should not call your prospective hostess if by chance your own plans fall through.

  2. If your hostess wants you to bring a date or your roommate, she will tell you so; don't ask her. You are not at liberty to invite someone else. If you must refuse an invitation, don't ask for a rain check; it is presumptuous and impolite to do so.

  3. Invitations are either formal or informal. An informal invitation is usually in the form of a personal note written in the first person, and should be answered in the same manner. The answer, however, should deal only with the invitation and should not be expanded into a friendly letter.

  4. Another form of informal invitation is by telephone. It is an excellent idea to repeat all the essential information so that there can be no misunderstanding. It will sometimes happen that, not having your date calendar with you, you are unable to state whether or not you are free to accept the invitation. In this case, thank your hostess for the invitation, note the essential information, explain that you must consult your calendar, ask for her phone number, and promise to call her right back.

  5. When the invitation is formal, the acceptance or regrets must follow the form and phrasing of the invitation. The letters "R.S.V.P." stand for the French expression "Repondez, s'il vous plait" which means "Please Reply." "R.S.V.P." written on an invitation makes a reply mandatory. Your reply must be hand written in ink; do not use your typewriter.

  6. There are variations on the use of the R.S.V.P. abbreviation that are coming into widespread use, especially on informal invitations. "R.S.V.P. Regrets only" means that your prospective hostess is expecting you to attend unless you notify her that you cannot come. If you can accept, you need not reply; just be there on time for the party. If you send regrets, however, your reply should be in writing and in keeping with the formality of the invitation. Another form is "R.S.V.P. 463-6131." By this notation, the hostess is asking you to telephone her your intentions. Again, you should reply as soon as possible.


Captain and Mrs. John Smith

request the pleasure of

Mr. and Mrs. Wellington Brown’s

company at dinner

on Friday, the seventh of January

at eight o’clock R.S.V.P.


Mr. and Mrs. Wellington Brown

accept with pleasure

Captain and Mrs. Smith's

Kind invitation for dinner

on Friday, the seventh of January

at eight o'clock


Mr. and Mrs. Wellington Brown

regret that a previous engagement

prevents their accepting

Captain and Mrs. Smith's

kind invitation for dinner

on Friday, the seventh of January