How to Gracefully Decline an Invitation

There's an alarming new trend in the world of entertaining: Fewer and fewer people feel the need to RSVP. As someone who regularly throws dinner parties, holiday celebrations, and other social events, I find this very disconcerting. How is a host or hostess supposed to determine how much champagne to chill, salmon to cook, and plates to set if they don't know the number of guests who will be attending her party? While I understand that everyone is busy, it only takes two seconds to click yes or no on a Paperless Post invitation. I also know that some people prefer not to RSVP because they may end up flaking or canceling at the last minute.

However, when someone invites you to a party, it's simply rude not to reply. If you don't RSVP because you are afraid of saying no, then, well, that is just plain silly. It's perfectly acceptable to decline an invitation. As long as you do so gracefully and in a manner that does not offend the host, you'll definitely receive another invitation in the future. No need to make awful excuses; keep things short, sweet, and to the point. To encourage you to make an effort to RSVP, here's how to decline an invitation gracefully.