Open Thread

by epi on August 22, 2011

Welcome to the 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.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

LisaMarie August 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

Doe anyone have any suggestions on how to convince people that I use my full first name LisaMarie- not Lisa? I’m getting tired of people telling me “That’s ok, I’ll just call you Lisa.” Truth be told, I don’t even prick up my ears until I hear the whole name. I have returned to college and am having trouble getting my point across, and I don’t want to offend anyone.

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Just Laura August 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

I’ve heard of this complaint before – from friends named Annamarie, or Annalyssa. I don’t blame you. Gently let the person know that “LisaMarie” is, in fact, your full first name: “Actually, LisaMarie is one word – it’s a common mistake. So, what day did you want to get together?”. They intended no slight against you, and simply thought that Marie is your middle name.

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Lilli August 24, 2011 at 9:17 am

I have the opposite problem where some people insist on using my full given name, even after I have asked them to “please, call me Lilli”. My boyfriend seems to think that these people are being polite by not using a nickname when they aren’t yet close acquaintances, but I say it’s rude to address someone by anything other than their stated preference.

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Alicia August 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm

LisaMarie When you hear Lisa ignore the first use and when they call Lisa again just say “oh me I did not know you were talking to me I go by LisaMarie” This should get the point across without being offensive and is the tactic my friend Katherine uses anytime someone tries to call her Kate.

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Brian August 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I’m a divorced father that has remarried. My ex recently dropped by unannounced with my 12 year old son to pick up some things from his room. He came in through the electronic garage door [he has the code, as well as a front door key] and walked into his room without announcing himself.

I called him out on this, asking him to please call out or knock on the door before entering the house as a common courtesy. He is now upset and says he feels unwelcome, since his mother does not ask this of him.

What is the etiquette regarding children – or anyone for that matter – entering the home when another may be there? I was always raised to announce my presence.

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Just Laura August 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I agree with you. What if you or your wife had been, ah, indecent at the time? It doesn’t matter if his mother asks it of him or not.
I always ring my father’s doorbell, or at least call ahead of time if I’ll be visiting. This demonstrates respect.

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Mary Ann August 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm

It is common courtesy to knock and let people know that you would like to come in. No question here. The son should knock to let his dad know his intentions.

My question: When dining with family, friends, or just you and your husband, when is it appropriate for one party to leave the table? My husband will get up when he is finished eating, even thoughpeople at the table are having a conversation, and just start clearing the dishes. I am uncomfortable with this because I think he should remain seated until everyone is finished eating, even if it’s only he and I at the table.

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Just Laura August 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Good evening, Mary Ann.
It depends. Is this a formal dinner party?

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Camille August 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I think if the ex waited in the car…….no harm no foul, let him come in however he chooses – he does live there, correct? I don’t blame him for being upset about that – he either lives there or he does not part time should not matter.
However if the ex came in with him? Not acceptable in any way.
I think 12 is old enough to have a reasonable talk with him about why you reacted the way you did (asking him to call out).

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Nina August 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I think this might be a fine line. I do agree it’s common courtesy to say, “Hi! It’s me!” when you come into the house, just so the other inhabitants don’t think there’s a prowler. However, it might be the idea of knocking on the door of one’s own house that is upsetting your boy. He may feel that’s too much like asking if he can come in, when he thinks it is his right. Certainly, when I lived at my folks’ house, I would never have knocked before letting myself in, though I did always call out to them that I was home.

Perhaps make the prowler argument, being clear that he’s *welcome*, but you just want to know when he’s there for sanity’s sake. Does that make sense?

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Country Girl August 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I agree that announcing oneself is proper. I would, however, seriously explain to your son that this is not at all for reasons of welcome vs unwelcome. Let him know he is ALWAYS welcome in your home. What he may understand more easily is that announcing himself is for reasons of safety. When you are not expecting him or anyone else, it is startling and he could accidentally be mistaken for a burgler or intruder. On the flip side, you also don’t want to have an intruder enter the home and mistakenly think it could be just your son. He should be able to deduce what kind of trouble either of these scenarios would cause. But I would reiterate to him that he is always, always welcome in your home, and that has nothing to do with your rules for announcing himself.

I have experienced a similar downfall of the coded garage door myself. While at my parents’ home, a close friend of my college-aged brother entered our house after midnight to retrieve a television of which he shared ownership with my brother. At the time I was at home visiting, and was (to say the least) incredibly alarmed at his unannounced intrusion almost to the point of calling the police before I realized who it was. I told my folks the next day and they immediately changed the code… and the family rules of who was aloud to know the code. So coded garage door owners beware. Make clear rules as to who knows the code or perhaps give any children or teens a key only from the get go.

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Country Girl August 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

*allowed =)

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Alicia August 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I agree knocking is a bit much when it is his home. But when I lived at home we would always call aoyut things like ” Hi dad I’m home” or something like that mainly just to greet the others in the family.
Knocking does imply that he is not really a household member.

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Elizabeth August 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

If you require your son to knock, it indicates that you do not consider your home his home, because why would he need to knock at the door of his own home? It would, however, be prudent for him to announce himself, to let you know that he has arrived, which would be expected of anyone arriving at home unexpectedly.

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LAL August 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Brian,
I would preface it by saying to your son (and ex): You scared me to death! I had no idea you were coming by today and in the future please call or knock so I know it’s you! I thought it was a break in. I would say for security purposes, just give me a head’s up!

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Val D August 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Should a widower whose wife passed away 10 years ago enter the church at his son’s wedding and walk down the aisle to his seat with his girlfriend (of 4 months) on his arm, or should she be walked to her seat separately by an usher? Some say that because the mother of the groom passed away so long ago that it is ok for the father of the groom to enter with his current girlfriend. Others say that that honor of entering the church with the father of the groom would have been one accorded to the deceased mother only (were she alive) and should not be given to anyone else in her absence. Is there an appropriate etiquette for this situation?

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Jody August 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I’m not sure what the etiquette books say on this one, but I think the son’s feelings come into it here. If he has no problem with his father walking down the aisle with his girlfriend, I say go for it.

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Alicia August 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I think it is up to the son, the father , and the girlfriend in that order. Whatever makes all 3 of them happy is the best option.

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TootsNYC August 24, 2011 at 10:09 am

The etiquette is that there is no such thing as “the honor of entering the church with the father of the groom.” This is not supposed to be a ceremonial thing.

The father of the groom, and whoever is in his party, should enter the church and take a seat when he arrives. He shouldn’t have to hang around in the back waiting for permission to take his seat.

The only person who gets a ceremonial entrance is the bride; she is accompanied by *her* party.

The mother of the bride takes her seat last, but that’s not an honor–it’s because up until that moment, she was “working.” No good hostess takes her seat until her guests are all settled.

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Carol August 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

Last year we sent out “save the date” cards for our son’s wedding. Since then, the bride’s parents have decided not to contribute any money and we cannot afford to pay for it ourselves (the bride and groom are contributing but it isn’t enough for all the guests). We have pared down the guest list to family and a few close friends and I want to send a note to those who “didn’t make the cut.” Do you have any idea how to word that note for this very sticky situation?

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Just Laura August 24, 2011 at 11:37 am

Carol,
I respect your tough situation, but this is a huge no-no. Think if Friend X received a Save-the-Date. She was going to travel, but instead she’ll be at this wedding. In addition, she already asked for time off from her workplace. Fast forward several months: the wedding is close, and then she receives a note in the mail indicating that her presence is no longer wanted. Do you see how this is extremely frustrating for your guests?

Since the Save-the-dates are already sent, instead par down the offerings. Serve hors d’oeuvres instead of a sit-down meal. Have the bride make her own arrangements. Forgo the favors. Don’t worry about fancy cake-cutting utensils and special toasting glasses, and use some beautiful heirlooms instead. Serve only two kinds of wine instead of six, or simply have a sparkling wine toast. Best of luck to you.

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Winifred Rosenburg August 24, 2011 at 11:38 am

The only way I’ve heard of this being done with any amount of grace is by saying “we eloped!” and then having a small party in the bride and groom’s honor later on. I’m assuming this isn’t what your son and his fiancee are doing so you may be stuck.

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Kiley August 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I don’t really see this as a graceful option either. A save the date is, as Alicia nicely put it, a promise to your guests that they will be invited to your wedding on this date.

I am becoming a little appalled at the number of brides and grooms I have seen recently who send either save-the-dates or their wedding website information willy nilly before they have a firm guest list that coincides with thier budget. (I understand in Carol’s case this was due to a backing out of funds) But to all brides out there: NO ONE should be given any of your wedding information until you are firm that you are able to invite them to the wedding. “Uninviting” someone to any or all parts of the wedding after you have lead them to believe they are one the guest list is incredibly rude.

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Alicia August 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm

By sending the save the date cards you and the bridal couple made a promise that these guests would be invited on that date to the wedding. Paring back the guest list is no longer a polite option. Instead pair back the wedding. Honeymoon gets skipped time gets changed to mid day and the reception becomes simply cake and coffee at someones home and you are polite for under $1 per person. However, removing someone from the guest list after you put your word that they should organize their life around this event is beyond rude to the point of having no gracious way to do so. Cut the honeymoon, the dresses, the flowers , the music, the photographers , ect. The only thing you can not longer cut is the guest list.

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Pam August 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I couldn’t agree more with Alicia and Just Laura! What a shame that his has all fallen upon you. I think figuring out a tasteful, lovely, manageable wedding will be a lot less stressful than knowing guests’ feelings have been compromised. In addition, close friends and relatives will understand why the wedding is very simple b/c they will likely be aware that the bride’s parents pulled out.

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