Invitation / Response / Decline

A. Invitations

In general, there are two types of invitations, formal and informal invitations. 

1. Formal Invitations

These are generally formal events such as receptions, dinners, weddings, banquets, etc. where the invitations are engraved or printed on a card - usually written in the third person with an R.S.V.P. notation. Should you wish to include a personal message, it can be written on the card or on a separate sheet of paper.

2. Casual Invitations

No more events require formal invitations. For more casual events, handwritten invitations can be more personal and sincere. You can include anything in your message but please ensure you have the following:

  • Invite the person to the event;
  • Provide the purpose of the event;
  • Include the appropriate dress code and if any preparation is required; and
  • Give details of the venue, date, and time of the event.

B. Invitation to Speak

It is also common to invite a speaker to a business or formal event. In relation to an invitation to speak, be sure to inform the potential speaker quickly that it is an invitation to speak. If you try too hard to promote your company or event at the beginning to make the invitation more appealing, it may look like junk mail with the invitation buried in the letter:

  • Explain to the speaker what the event is and why it is being held;  
  • Give details of the venue, date, and time of the event; and
  • Compliment the speaker of his or her credentials, but do not overdo it to make it sound cynical.

C. Declining an Invitation

If you are declining an invitation, first give your reason for doing so before saying no. This will help to blunt the rejection and ensure that the host will see your explanation:

  • Explain to the host why you cannot accept the invitation in a brief, courteous, and even apologetic manner. You are not obligated to give a detailed explanation which might make you sound defensive; and 
  • Express your appreciation for the invitation with a compliment or a polite comment to preserve the goodwill and to make it clear that you are not rejecting the invitation for any personal reasons with the host.

D. Accepting an Invitation

When you are accepting an invitation, first thank the host for the invitation and give confirmation that you will attend. If you need more details or have any questions, then you may ask in a separate paragraph. 


 Thumbnail Image Credit: TrulyOffice.com

Invitation to Board / Management Meeting
Non-director Invitee
Invitation to Speak / Panel
Invitation to Lunch / Dinner / Event
General Invitation
Invitation to Speak / Panel
Paid Honorarium
Invitation to Corporate Event
Conference / Convention / Summit / Congress
Invitation to Lunch / Dinner / Event
Formal Invitation
Invitation to Annual Dinner
Formal Invitation
Sponsorship acceptance
Apologies - Cancellation of Corporate Event
Last Minute Cancellation
Booking Enquiry for Convention
Enquiry by the Organiser
Copyright Permission Request
Acceptance of request
Invitation to Corporate Event
Grand Opening
Invitation to Corporate Event
Preview / Private Viewing
Invitation to Corporate Event
Talk by Distinguished Speaker
Invitation to Reception
Formal Invitation
Invitation to Speak / Panel
Paid Professional Speaker
Rejection of Non-invitees to Corporate Event
Rejection of Registration
Booking Enquiry for Convention
Reply from Hotel / Convention Centre
Invitation to become guest blogger
Invitation to Corporate Event
Anniversary Celebration
Invitation to Corporate Event
Open House
Invitation to Endorse a Political Campaign
Rejection of Endorsement
Invitation to Lunch / Dinner / Event
Acceptance and Insist on Hosting
Invitation to Lunch / Dinner / Event
Invitation to Speak / Moderate at a Panel
Invitation to Speak / Panel
Accepting an Offer to Speak
Invitation to Speak / Panel
Rejection due to time constraint
Invitation to Speak / Panel
Second Choice Speaker


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