1. Victoria McGuire

    Can you please tell me what is the proper way to show condolences to a client upon the death of her husband.

  2. Winifred Rosenburg

    There are many options. The easiest is to send a sympathy card or Mass card if the deceased was Catholic. (There may be other religion specific options that I’m not familiar with.) You can also send flowers or make a donation if the family has chosen a charity. I gather from your tone that you don’t have a personal relationship with the client so you wouldn’t be expected to do anything more than that.

  3. Robin

    My husband and I live in a NYC apartment and have a spare bedroom. His mom wants to visit from Scotland. When he was single, she use to visit him twice a year and stay with him for 3 weeks each stint. I think this is a bit long for a house guests.
    What is an appropriate length of time for her to stay?

    • Elizabeth

      Ooh, tough question. This reminds me of my situation when I first got married. My husband’s parents were used to coming and staying with him for a few days, and he would always give them the use of his room (a queen bed) and he would take the twin in the spare room. Well, once we started living together, there was one visit, where we both got kicked out of the room, I slept in the twin and he slept on the floor. We (I) decided that wouldn’t work anymore, and they started staying in a hotel. Now we live in a different house, and we still don’t have a guest room, so they still stay in a hotel and I think they like it very much.

      Your situation is a bit different, since she’s coming from much farther and it’s only your MIL. There is no etiquette-approved length of stay – it’s whatever you and your husband decide together. There are lots of things you could do to try and mitigate such a long stay: can she stay with other friends or family during that time? Do you have a long-overdue girls’ weekend you could escape to in the middle of it? Can you negotiate that your husband do the brunt of the cooking/cleaning for his mom? Perhaps you could all travel somewhere during that time (take her to Vegas, or someplace) and get separate rooms during that travel?

      If the bottom line is that she’s coming to stay in your place the whole time, I think it’s within your rights to say “Honey, three weeks is just too long to live with your mother. I’m willing to put up with two.” Or whatever that length of time is.

      • Alicia

        Elizabeth- Some good advice from my grandma when I first moved into my first apartment. The only person you should ever give up your own bed to is the Pope. Any other guest you will be a much better hostess ifyou are well rested so give the guests the spare bed, the kids rooms, the couch, ect but keep your own bed so that you can be a well rested pleasant hostess.

    • Jody

      Robin — I think the appropriate length of time will vary from family to family. If she’s traveling from Scotland, a longer stay might be expected than if she were traveling from a nearby US State.

      Whatever is decided, I think you and your husband should discuss it and agree well before the formal invitation is extended. I also think you should agree on other things related to her visit: for example, like will one of you be a tour guide or will your MIL be on her own.

    • Alicia

      Length of stay is up to you, your husband amd your MIL. So MIL wants 3 weeks. Now you and your husband need to chat and decide if that is what you two want.

  4. Wedding China

    I grew up understanding very few things about weddings, except for my family, wedding china is a special item. While I realize in today’s modern world, this does not resonate with everyone, I have recently been taken aback when my sister-in-law registered for the same fine china.

    Typically I would have thought I would take the high road, but since my engagement to her brother, she became engaged 4 months later, selected a very similar engagement ring, so on and so forth. Through her brother, we explicitly asked for her to pick something else, as we hoped to retain this one item as specific to us, in the family.

    I’m writing because she and my mother-in-law specifically told me they were not breaking any etiquette. To me it was more about the emotion anyway, but thought I would inquire on the etiquette side nonetheless. Do I need to just let this go?

    • Yes, I’d let this one go. Two people having the same set of china or stemware or silver has never been frowned upon – if it were, Waterford would need a whole lot more patterns!
      I will be inheriting my great-grandmother’s late 19th century Haviland china. If my sister-in-law likes it and wants some of her own, who am I to stop her from purchasing an item for her own home? It’s not like she stole it from me. Besides, she is family – why can’t she too have the family’s pattern?

      If she has the exact same dress as you at her wedding that was scheduled on the same day as yours, then I’d say you have a valid complaint.

    • Alicia

      Wedding China patterns are not specific and many people have the pattern. Think how many patterns Lenox has it is not that many. Relax she is not breaking any ettiequette you two just have similar tastes.

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