Open thread

by EPI Staff on October 11, 2010

Welcome to Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like.  We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Elena K October 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Our wedding is on November 20th; it is a destination wedding. We hired an Orthodox priest to preform our ceremony from the destination and have met with him once. Witho ur RSVP date looming in 4 days, I just realized taht we never sent an invitation out to the priest and his wife. We would love to have them at the wedding and for him to perform a blessing at the reception. How should I go about inviting him without hurting his feelings that he wasnt sent an invitation??

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Graceandhonor October 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

“Father, I owe you and your wife a tremendous apology for failing to mail a proper invitation to you both for the wedding and reception. We do hope you will be able to attend?” I imagine this is not the first time in his career he was overlooked; it is up to you to see that he is treated with much concern and respect on your wedding day.

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V.T. Reynolds October 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

My Mother and Fiancee insist that our wedding invitations must include an R.S.V.P. card. However, after consulting numerous resources (including the most recent Peggy Post Wedding Etiquette book), it is clear that NOT including a response card is completely correct if everyone who is invited to the ceremony is also invited to the reception. I want to have all of the invitation info on one piece of paper: it saves lots of printing (i.e., money) not to print all those cards and envelopes (plus extra postage), this will make a “green” statement, AND the most formal invitation style is one that does not include a reply card. The bottom of the invitation to both events will include “the favour of your reply is requested” with my parents’ home address below for guests to send their own RSVP. My Mom thinks that people will not know what to do or that their reply card is missing. I think that people will figure it out, or else make a (gasp!) phone call (which I think would be a lovely way to RSVP as well!). In addition, this could be a great opportunity for people to re-learn a tradition that I personally think should return (sending your own proper RSVP note in the mail). What is your take on this?

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Alicia October 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

It is absolutly acceptable to not include an RSVP card. However, this is likely to result in a ton of people not RSVPing to your wedding and thus you will have to make many phone calls inquiring about if people intend to attend. So it is fine and correct but your mom may be correct in that it is much more practical to inculde RSVP cards in order to save yourself the hassle. Even with RSVP cards there are likely to be folks who fail to RSVP

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Graceandhonor October 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I completely agree with your thoughts on this subject, V.T., that indeed, cultured individuals always have written their own responses to invitations. The rise of response cards was a concession years ago to the fact that this practice was fading even then. Now we see those who don’t even use response cards when they are sent. Alicia is correct that some will use them if you send them, and you’ll still be left in the dark by others. Since you aren’t going to get 100% response, and you put forth such a reasoned argument, I vote with you, realizing of course, you are going to have some calling to do.

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V.T. Reynolds October 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Thank you so much for your responses. This is very helpful, and I think that I will take the brave step of leaving out the response cards. I assume that, it being a formal/semi-formal wedding invitation, it is improper to also include a phone number as an rsvp option below the response address? I just had to ask! Thanks again!

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Graceandhonor October 12, 2010 at 10:21 pm

V.T., there has been discussion of including a phone number awhile back on this blog, in that case for an informal reception after an elopement. While it is tempting, and acknowledges our aural society, my first inclination for using one on a formal invitation is to vote no; I assume the original proscription was because mannered individuals were expected to write a response, and I daresay they didn’t use phone numbers because they didn’t have phones when the practice of written responses started! Hmmm. Then again, if you are serious about the green thing, a phone call is moreso than a written response. The basis of mannerly behavior is sensitivity toward others, and I can’t imagine anything easier for a guest than to call in a response. But, until the newest edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette clears the way for phone numbers on formal invitations, you run the risk of raising an etiquette maven’s eyebrow. If this concerns you, don’t; if it doesn’t, do!

What say you, Mr. Daniel Post Senning?

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V.T. Reynolds October 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm

All excellent points! Those “etiquette mavens” do concern me, although only in certain circumstances. In light of the formality that a wedding invitation holds, along with decades of tradition, I will forego the phone number and let a later generation blaze that path. Thanks for your help!

TM October 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm

My friends is are having a costume Halloween party at their house, but they are asking for money, like a cover charge, AND “byob”. Is this weird, or is it just me?

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Graceandhonor October 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Unless they are in college and poor, I vote with you, though an informal party at Halloween is fine to bring your own drink. Cover charge..un unh.

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TM October 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm

They are middle-aged, and NOT poor in the least! I mean, when is one supposed to cough up the cash, right upon their opening the door? Lol!

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Graceandhonor October 12, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Have they told you the amount yet? If they haven’t, when you arrive and inquire, you could say, “$3 a head?!?!?!?!?!?! Do you have change for a hundred?” Or, take one of them aside, alone, and say, “John and I are worried about you…did you lose your job? Is that why you are asking guests to pay AND bring their own bottle?” I must say I strongly believe in turning the other cheek and generally letting things go; my purpose in making a point with these people would honestly be to understand what in the world makes them tick. Fascinating, puzzling behavior…

Oh, wait. Is the cover charge to pay for The Rolling Stones?!?!?! Or, maybe giving cash prizes for winning costumes?!

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TM October 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm

$10.00 per couple. I assume $5.00 if one shows up sans date. And I agree about turning the cheek, it just seems, as you said, something college kids would do!

ALicia October 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Perhaps they want you to attend as an ATM or Mr Moneybags

Sara Meder October 12, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Hello,
Maybe you can help me. The holidays are around the corner. When I became engaged to my husband we had a huge disagreement about Christmas Eve. My father’s side of the family is very small and we only get together once a year and it happens to be Christmas Eve. I really wanted to keep my family tradition of Christmas Eve, but it meant the world to my mother in law that we spend every other Christmas Eve’s with her family too. We see her family 5-6 times a year (other than Christmas). So, after much discussion I caved in, and for the last five years we switched on and off for Christmas Eve. We had a child two years ago, and my husband asked my mother in law join us Christmas morning to watch our daughter open presents this year. She told him no, because she goes to her daughter’s house on Christmas morning to watch her kids open presents and has been doing that for 8 years. Now, my husband doesn’t want to switch off on Christmas Eve, or even spend the holidays with his family. He feels that if his mother can’t change her tradition that he doesn’t want to ruin mine and wants to start our own tradition this year. I love my mother in law, and I don’t want to start a HUGE family fight. I am not sure how to handle this one especially since my husband is crushed that his mother told him flat out she will NEVER come over on Christmas morning. Should I skip Christmas Eve with his family this year or continue to do what I said we were going to do when I originally joined the family, and how should I handle my husband being crushed?
Torn in Texas

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Graceandhonor October 12, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Sara, you have been very accommodating of your husband’s wishes and you should continue to be so. Allow him to make the decision about holiday time with his family. He is reacting in hurt to his mother’s unfortunate and shortsighted inflexibility. I daresay changes this year will not be permanent. Try your best to be pleasant with both sides of the family and relish whatever time you find you have with either of them. Your calm demeanor will be needed by your husband as he comes to term with his feelings. If you receive personal criticism from his family, reply, “I am supporting my husband in his decisions.” Let him address anything else as he sees fit. Best of luck to you both.

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Alicia October 12, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Do let your husband decide what he wants for his family. However , one thing to consider is that if everyone lives nearby in the same city it may be possioble to do Christmas Eve with your side, Christmas morning just your family ( you , husband, kid/s) , and then Christmas Evening or Night to have his side or both sides of the extended family over for cookies and coffee or something. That way grandma gets to continue her tradition of gift opening with the other grandkids, you and your husband get to build a tradition that is just your nuclear families, you get christmas eve with your side of the family, and you still get to see everyone else later in the day. It could be a win win win.

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Sara October 20, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Thank you very much for the advice.

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Kristine October 13, 2010 at 12:01 am

I left this question in another thread, but I think it was an old one so it wasn’t answered, so for the record I am not spamming, haha.

Anyway, my in-laws are, to say the least, very unhygienic people. Their home is wrought with mold and some of which are generally toxic and others I am actually very allergic to. They could very literally kill me if exposed to them. I am an Industrial Hygienist and can recolonize these molds and their symptoms very easily.

husband is very understanding and realized that neither I, nor our children, can be exposed to these toxins any longer as every time we go over to their home I all come home very ill and my daughter is even showing signs that she is developing asthma.

How do we tell them that we can’t come inside their house or even be around them too long as the spores attach to their clothing and cause my children and I to get headaches? Its an extremely uncomfortable situation as it could insult them GREATLY if I explain how unsafely they are living. I realize its sort of a unique situation which is why I am searching for help.

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Graceandhonor October 13, 2010 at 12:10 am

Dear Kristine,

Sometimes it takes awhile for someone to answer a posting. I sympathize with your situation and the person to handle it is your husband. He should speak with his parents about the mold in their home, couching his comments as concern for their health, and mention the difficulties mold poses for you and your children, too. If they value your relationship, this should be a wake-up call to do something about their home. Your husband may need to help spearhead the cleanup effort, either by engaging professional cleaners and ventilation remediators, or helping with it himself. Should they not be receptive to help with this problem, then it becomes your decision on how to manage your interaction with them. Certainly you can avoid visits in their home, but we hope it doesn’t include avoiding seeing them elsewhere because mold spores may be present on their clothing. If that is the case, you’ll have to arrange outdoor activities with them.

Being an industrial hygenist, you know our world is full of allergens and toxins of all kinds. We hope you can equip your children with knowledge and techniques on how to deal with them, while avoiding dwelling unduly on them. The goal is to rear healthy, well-adjusted, realistic children who can manage their health in such a way that it does not rule them.

Sympathetically,

G&H

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Krisine October 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm

G & H -

Thank you for your reply. I apologize about the double posting. I think that it is a good idea to have my husband suggest that we can even help with the development of an in home-clean up. Maybe even offer to sit down and spend a while laying out in detail why mold and excessive dust can cause serious problems not just for people with allergies?

I entered my field of work not because I and afraid of bacteria, but so that I could do just what you said, “equip your children [and myself] with knowledge and techniques on how to deal with them, while avoiding dwelling unduly on them. ”

Our past several visits have been kept to the outdoors. They have a large portion of land, so its not awkward to arrange outside activities. For the winter months, I hope we can arrange other outdoors activities in the meanwhile pursuing a more long-term solution to these health risks.

Thank – you for your advice, God bless.

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Karen Parsons October 17, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I am 61 years old and my husband of 41 years recently died, suddenly. I have had a very hard time since, 5 months ago. I am feeling better now but not great. My question is, should I stress over birthday, annaversary and Christmas gifts this year or would it be ok to just give gift cards.

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Graceandhonor October 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Karen,

I am very sorry for your loss and am sure those you are gifting this year understand your grief and lack of enthusiasm for shopping. It would be fine to give gift cards or even checks, if you like, but let me say this: having been in your shoes, I found it helpful to have the diversion of throwing myself into a project llike concentrating on one holiday and maintaining lifelong routines for my family. Perhaps you may want to think about this, but regardless of what you decide, I am sure your family and friends will understand.

My heartfelt sympathy to you.

G&H

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