One thing you never want to do to a friend or a business partner is to ignore a request to come to an event or to simply ignore an invite. If you’ve been RSVP’d to an invitation, then what you might not know is that the R in RSVP actually stands for respond. So basically, the requester is asking for your response not because they think highly of you (although they do), but because they would like to know how many people are going to attend. Just write out a quick and short letter explaining why have decided to decline the invitation.
Thank the recipient and mention what the invitation was initially for. This not only clarifies that you read the letter they sent but some people will have more than one event going on at the exact same time.
Mention that the relationship you have with the person is special and that you wish you could be there.
If you have a prior commitment or particular reason as to why the invitation is being declined, state it here. This is optional but it’s nice for people to know why an invitation is declined by someone.
I received your invitation to a get together for the annual Holiday party for your block and I’m honored that I was invited to join you. Thanks for the kind and generous offer and I really wish I could be there, but I’m afraid I have to decline the event. I will be busy with work and I’ll be on a business trip in France for that week, so I’m afraid I will have to miss this particular event.
However, I will be in town for New Years’ Eve, so if you would like to get together for that, I would be more than happy to do so!
Sincerely with love,