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When R.s.v.p. is at the lower left, the boat schedule will appear in the lower right comer. REPLIES Whether or not an invitation requests a reply, most formal  invitations  should  be  answered.  A  notable exception is the invitation to a church wedding. Home weddings  and  wedding  receptions  require  replies.  The general rules about answering invitations are that they should be answered as promptly as possible after receipt of  the  invitation.  One  authority  specifies  that  replies  to dinner or luncheon invitations should be made within 48 or, if possible, 24 hours after receipt of the invitation. The second rule is that the form of the reply should correspond to the form of the invitation. If you are asked to prepare a reply to a formal invitation, be sure that you use not only the correct form, but also, as with the invitation itself, that it is written as legibly and as attractively as possible. A centered format similar to that used in the invitation is appropriate. Figure  4-4.-Formal  acceptance  and  regret. Figure  4-5.-Withdrawal  of  acceptance. Stationery and ink should be selected by the same rules as for invitations. When an invitation is accepted, the date, time, and place are always repeated. This lets the host know there is no misunderstanding. In a reply expressing regret, it is not necessary to repeat the time. Figure 4-4 shows samples of an acceptance and a note of regret. WITHDRAWING AN ACCEPTANCE There may be occasions when it is necessary to withdraw an acceptance. Some valid reasons are serious illness,  a  death  in  the  family,  prospective  absence occasioned by a transfer of duty, official duty, or very important business elsewhere. Figure 4-5 is a sample withdrawal of acceptance. A point to remember is that an invitation from the White House or Chief of Mission takes precedence over all other invitations. CEREMONIES Navy tradition dictates that each ship constructed for the service be honored on at least three historic ceremonial  occasions:  keel-laying,  christening  (or launching),  and  commissioning.  Various  directives pertaining to these events are issued periodically, but questions often arise concerning the proper wording of invitations and the agenda for the ceremony. Your primary source of information for any of the previous ceremonies   is   the   Social   Usage   and   Protocol Handbook,  OPNAV  092-P1.  The  information  contained in the handbook and this chapter is not intended to represent a rigid standard but to outline what has been 4-8

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