1. Uri Bergen

    My wife and I recently moved to the U.S. from Germany for a new job opportunity. My wife’s boss – the man who hired her – and his wife are wonderful people and have had us over to their house for their large get-togethers with friends since we are new to the country and do not know anyone. We purchased our house a few months ago and have been very busy buying and fixing everything, as well as dealing with everything that comes with transferring your life to a new country. In short, we have been incredibly busy since we moved here. However, every time myself or my wife talk to her boss, he always asks when we are going to have them over for dinner. Our house is nowhere near ready to have company over seeing as there are moving boxes and renovations happening all over. We have told them that when we get the house together they will be the first ones over, but now he’s “joking” that if we want to see them it should happen at our house or that they might drop by uninvited. We like spending time with them but it’s putting undue stress on us to get the house done and we are asked about it every time we see them. Not only that, but he is my wife’s boss and we don’t want this to strain their professional relationship. Please tell me how to best handle this situation so I’m not constantly asked about being invited over and worrying about them showing up uninvited to my door. Thank you.

    • Elizabeth

      Uri, it’s unfortunate that your wife’s boss seems to not respect the fact that you do not feel ready to host at your home. I think you can approach this in a couple of ways. You could invite them to go out to dinner, to a baseball game, to a performance of some kind, etc. It is perfectly within the bounds of hospitality to reciprocate outside of the home.

      Second, you could do something that allows them to see your home before or after some other event. For instance, just get one room (the living room) ready, have them over for a cocktail, and then head to a restaurant. This will satisfy their curiosity while illustrating that you are in no shape to host guests. Or you could have them over for an outdoor meal if you have a yard.

      Lastly I will just say that your house doesn’t have to be perfect. All of my friends homes (as well as mine) are always undergoing some project. If you wait until it is “totally done” you may never entertain! Best of luck, and welcome to the US.

    • Zakafury

      It is awkward that he’s trying to invite himself over. Seeing the renovation might be part of his motivation. Home improvement TV is very popular for a reason. Invite him over for a tour of the site, see if you can swap stories about contractors and design, etc.

      • Vanna Keiler

        Great suggestions, Elizabeth and Zakafury! If we look at this situation in a positive light, it sounds like the boss may be gently (and a little impatiently) trying to nudge the couple along to becoming great hosts. Could be a case of “overly helpful” well-meaning intentions, hopefully. The idea of having the boss (and wife) over to peek at the renovations sounds ideal. Another idea could be to have some handy photos ready on your cell phone to satisfy the boss’s curiosity, and show the progress from time to time.

  2. Katie


    I have a wedding question I’d love some feedback on. I am attending a wedding as the “plus one” of a male friend; we aren’t dating. As it is a cousin, he is doing a present with his family. Do I need to get the couple a gift as well?


    • Zakafury

      I feel that any gift obligation comes with the name on the invitation. It’s certainly proportional to how close you are to the bride and groom.

      So, no. I don’t think you need to get them anything.

  3. Nina

    Hi All,

    Another wedding question from me–I’m sorry I have so many these days! I was wondering if any of you are familiar with day-after-the-wedding brunches? I’ve attended a few and always thought it was a nice way of making the out-of-town guests feel welcome–they’ve travelled, possibly far, to celebrate and probably didn’t get to chat with the happy couple too much at the wedding!

    But I don’t know the etiquette standards–need someone host, or could it just be, “We’re going to brunch at this time/place; anyone who wants to join should come along!” If someone should be hosting, is it anyone specific? Also, I once attended a brunch where the bride and groom opened all their wedding gifts so people could see what they got. I liked that–I’m always curious what’s in those boxes–but is that something people necessarily would expect? I worry it could get a bit long for the kids to sit through.

    All insights appreciated!

    • Elizabeth

      My experience has been that the brunch is paid by the bride and groom (or their parents, or whomever) for the out-of-town guests. It would be difficult to arrange a place with an uncertain number of guests, so the strategy of “whoever wants to can meet us” is not great. It’s also usually at the hotel where the guests are staying, if they have a brunch of sufficient quality. I was lucky for my wedding, and the hotel had a Sunday brunch buffet so everyone could have what they wanted for a flat fee. I have never heard of opening presents in public. I got a couple of really strange presents for my wedding, and it was nice to open them in private so my husband and I could share a laugh.

      If you want to do something cheaper, you could always host brunch at your (or a parents’) home. Homemade quiche and salad wouldn’t be too expensive and would make a lovely brunch.

      I’m not saying that alternative arrangements would be rude or improper, this has just been my experience of what’s typical of my family and friends.

  4. Pam

    I understand that your wedding is probably the most important day of your life and you only have the best of intentions, but some guests are really ready to return to their lives and not spend yet another day involved in wedding festivities….opening gifts in front of everyone is tacky (some people may have sent their gifts ahead of time as well) and will really be time consuming. I am going to a weekend long wedding event this summer and after 4 days I know I am going to be ready to return home. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Congratulations.

  5. Mika Selm

    I have a question about formal dining, as I recently received a set of Asian soup spoon style appetizer spoons as a gift. I love the presentation of little titbits in those spoons, but I’m curious about how to eat them. I know that with a regular spoon, one should sip from the side of the spoon without putting the whole thing in the mouth, and I’d assume you wouldn’t want that whole bulky spoon in your mouth, but you can’t exactly sip a solid food from the side. What is the proper way to eat these adorable appetizers?

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