Wedding professionals receive a constant influx of Facebook invites, Evites and Paperless Posts, for a never-ending stream of networking events, open houses and charity benefits. I get invited to multiple personal and professional events every month - heck, sometimes every week. We are so connected to one another now via the internet that it’s easy to invite everyone you know to everything, all the time. Obviously we can’t attend each and every event, and some invitations aren’t even really directed at us specifically
These days, most invitations are not very formal and it’s understood that many people will not be able to attend. That however, does not mean you should take your response lightly.
As stated in the Emily Post article The Continuing Importance of RSVP, "No one is obligated to accept an invitation or to explain the reasons for not accepting. Nor will anyone come running to your door and demand that you finally reply… However, just as someone is being kind when inviting you to an event, you should be just as kind to reply to their invitation.” She continues, "One of the sad parts about the demise of the RSVP is that relationships often suffer due to hosts’ resultant hurt feelings and frustration.”
As business owners and professionals, this last portion should be of greatest importance. We are, after all, human beings with feelings, trying our best. We spend time planning events to impress our clients and share our triumphs with peers. Not responding at all is impolite, but responding yes to everything and then rarely participating could harm your professional reputation. With that sentiment in mind, here are some suggestions to help you be a better guest and keep the invitations coming:
Think about it. You don’t need to decide right away. I know all your friends and colleagues may be responding in record time (the notifications are a constant reminder of that!), but you’re an adult and can make your own decisions. Don’t be peer pressured into saying yes when you haven’t even checked your calendar. On the flip side, don’t wait until the last minute either. If a head count is needed to provide provisions, have the courtesy to give the host or hostess enough time to prepare.
You have three choices. Choose wisely. There’s a reason for the “Maybe” button. Sometimes you’re just not sure. You could be waiting for a client to confirm a meeting. Perhaps you know it will be a long day and you might be super tired. It’s OK to say maybe. You can change it later. It’s virtual. Plus, by saying maybe, you’ll continue to receive updates about the event or additional information that may sway your opinion.
Make the commitment. If you said yes, then go. Seems simple, right? That is, until the day of the event when nothing has gone your way and you just want to stay home in your PJs and watch bad TV. (Yes, I’m talking about myself here.) Believe me, it would be so much easier to stay home or get some extra work done, but I always end up feeling glad I went, and it’s always nice to get out and socialize. It also shows the person planning the event that you care and are supportive. This goes a long way to building trust among colleagues, and will most likely result in referrals in the future.
Taking the time to respond properly and politely will not only increase the chances of more invites in the future, but also will help solidify your relationships with those in your industry. Besides, maybe one day you’ll be the one throwing the party and wouldn’t you want people to show you the kindness of responding to your invitations?