Open Thread

by epi on March 12, 2012

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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.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Patti-Anne March 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

We have 4 woman pregnant at our bank. Three are in one office and one in another. For three of these woman, this is their second pregnancy. How should we handle this as a group shower?

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Country Girl March 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

I would omit the word shower; as second pregnancies typically don’t require more gifts from those who are not really close (ie. family members), plus buying gifts for 4 woman would be taxing on any guest. I would instead make it a ladies luncheon where coworkers bring in words of advice for the moms to be instead of gifts. Perhaps you could even have the guests write their words of advice for each mom on some pretty stationary and then at the party, assemble a binder for each mom to send home with them as a gift? If you and all of your coworkers are really set on doing a shower with gifts I would be sure to at least make it easier on guests by setting a dollar limit, so no one feels overwhelmed. Or perhaps a diaper shower where each guest brings a few diapers which are divided up for the moms.

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Tru_Believer March 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

What do you do with the oyster shells?

I got in an interesting discussion last night at dinner. After you eat the raw oyster, what do you do with the shell?

I would leave them on the side plate because you don’t want to put a “used” shell next to an untouched shell. My dining partner said you should put the “used” shell back on the iced platter because the small plate will quickly spill over with shells as you can only stack 3 or 4 shells before they will fall over.

I looked in all my books and no one mentions the after shell. One website suggested placing the shell back on the iced platter but face down .

Thoughts?

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Elizabeth March 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I think it is normal to put it back on the iced plate. If you put it down next to the one you plan on eating next, I think you’re safe from cooties :)

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Just Laura March 12, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I usually don’t remove the oyster from the iced plate (but wouldn’t think anything negative about someone who did). I use the oyster fork to remove the oyster from its shell (using a twisting motion if the little guy is being difficult). Thanks for bringing this up!

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Confused in California March 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

My half-brother is getting married in June. My boyfriend, of two years, and I were planning to fly 3,000 miles to attend the wedding but my step-mother just informed me that due to the small size of the wedding, no one will have the option to invite a + 1. It is not a sit down dinner so Im not sure about her rationale for this. And the wedding is at my father’s home so there are no space issues. I don’t want to be rude to my boyfriend since his family always invited me in family gatherings including Christmas, Mothers Day, Thanksgiving. I can’t believe how rude my step-mother is behaving. Need advice.

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Nina March 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Dear CIC,

If you received an invitation for yourself and a guest, and your stepmother is trying to revoke it, she is indeed being rude, but there is only so much you can do. You could try gently explaining to her–or more pertinently, the groom and bride–that you and your boyfriend made plans based on the original invitation and are confused that you now can’t carry through on them. If the couple insists he simply can’t be accommodated, you will have to accept that and decide whether you’d like to attend alone or not. You need not, if you don’t want to do so solo–though if you are close to your half-brother, you would have to consider the relationship. You still must send timely regrets, as well as a card and probably a gift.

On the other hand, if you have not yet received an invitation and simply assumed you could bring your boyfriend, you’re probably stuck–the couple is free to select whom they’d like to invite. Again, if you are close to your half-brother or step-mother, you could and probably should talk it over, but it’s really their call.

That said, I really feel for you–I’d hate to go to a big fun celebration without my beloved! I’m inviting everyone “with guest” to our wedding this summer!

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Elizabeth March 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I agree with Nina, except that I think it’s rude whether or not you’ve already received the invitation. You and your boyfriend are a social unit – it sounds like you’ve been together for awhile, and this is especially true if you’re living together. If you were married, they would never thing of inviting just one of you. I don’t know what your relationship is like with your stepmom, dad or brother, but if you have a better relationship with one of them and can level with them that you were hoping to make this a little vacation, that you are always included with your boyfriend’s family, and that you were really excited for your family to get to know boyfriend better (you know, lay it on thick), you can probably convince one of them to change their minds. I mean, it would be different if you were a third cousin or something, but the partner of the sister of the groom is entitled to an invitation.

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Winifred Rosenburg March 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Actually, the only significant others that are required to be invited together are people who are married, engaged, or living together. So unless she lives with her boyfriend, the stepmom didn’t break any rules. Personally, I think “and guest” is a very impersonal thing to be tied to an event that should be very personal so I’m not a fan. The key is to make a rule and be consistent. For my wedding we invited boyfriends/girlfriends only if they had been together for at least six months prior to the wedding because we didn’t want someone’s new boyfriend whom we had never met to be at we hoped to be an intimate occasion.

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angelica March 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I am getting married in May in a small, mostly family ceremony with a sit down dinner following. its pretty apparent that is has become a family & one or two friend event. we are hosting a bbq prior to the wedding as a thank you and plain ole get together to relax before the big day. is it okay to invite our friends that are not invited to the wedding? they already know that its a small family affair, but we want to include them in this- thoughts?

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Zakafury March 13, 2012 at 8:19 am

You sound convinced that none of your barbeque guests will be confused about the situation. If that’s the case, I see no reason to cancel a spring time party just because you’re soon to be married.

If this party is a day or two before the wedding, it runs the risk of being a bit confusing. If you have out of town guests you want everyone to meet, I think you should go ahead and do it anyway. Just make sure you don’t link the activities of the barbecue to the wedding – rehearsal dinner toasts or bridesmaids’ gifts would be very awkward for those not invited to the big day.

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Mom in Texas March 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

New Topic: Virtual Shower?
My son and daughter-in-law live in another state and are expecting their first child this summer. A good friend would like to have a shower, but neither parent- to- be would be able to travel the distance before the baby’s arrival. What would be the most appropriate way to let my circle of friends be able to “gift” the coming baby since having a regular shower is not possible? They need “everything” for the coming child! They are registered on a national baby store site.

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Just Laura March 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I assume your friends know that your son and daughter-in-law are having a baby? Why not let your friends take it upon themselves to “gift” the baby? Why do we have to call it a shower, when it is truly not one?

When I got married, two of my mother’s friends I had never had the pleasure of meeting sent presents. They were not asked to do so, and weren’t invited to anything. They simply wanted to do this, due to their friendship with my mum. If your friends want to give a present (and it sounds like one does), they will easily find a way (probably ask you to deliver it, or they’ll ask for the new mother’s address). There is no need to have the appearance of a gift-grab. You are lucky to have such kind friends. :)

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Mom in Texas March 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Thank you, Laura

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Kathy March 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm

My boyfriend asks me over and over again if I’d like to have something (such as a drink or food) that he knows I don’t like. He believes this is good manners, I find it insulting that he asks the same thing again and again when he already knows the answer. Who is correct?

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Just Laura March 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm

So he knows you don’t like something (say, peanut butter), and he keeps asking if you’ll have it? (“Are you sure you won’t try the peanut butter cookies? How about now? Okay, now?”)

It is always good manners to offer refreshment; however, if the person’s preferences/allergies are known, pressing the issue is not good manners.

Perhaps, though, the fact that you don’t like chardonnay slipped his mind, and he simply asked if you’d like some because he is serving it to others… I’d overlook that one.

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Country Girl March 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I think I may be guilty of this as well. The reason is, because even though I may not typically care for a certain food, once in a while it will actually sound good to me, especially when I am really hungry =). Or sometimes a food I don’t like is an ingredient in a dish that I do like, and I can overlook it. I guess, like your bf, I’d rather error on the side of at least offering someone a food/drink and giving them the opportunity to turn it down instead of assuming, because that is how I would want to be treated. It is obviously a judgment call on your part when being polite turns into being too persistent or annoying, but just have a calm chat with him when you are alone. “Jason, I appreciate you checking to see if I wanted wine at your parents’ house last night, but it is one of those things that I truly don’t like and probably never will. If anything changes I will let you know, but in the meantime can you please refrain from offering it to me? It embarrasses me to have to say no again and again.”

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