Open Thread

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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.


  1. Kay Nelson

    Our daycare is putting on a Thanksgiving day feast for parent to join their children for it, the invite and sign up sheets are out and have been filled. Now our new Director wants to put a donation basket at tables and ask for free will offering. Staff thinks this is tacky, parents pay high prices to have children come here and also in those prices is a cover for such things, we have never in the four years in operation charged anything or asked for donation. They and we feel they deserve this for the high price they pay. The staff thinks this is tacky, how can we deter our new Director from embarrassing all of us and upsetting the parents?

    • Elizabeth

      It would be best if a long-time respected employee who is at the same (or near the same level) spoke with the director and explained why this would be a bad idea. The culture of the place is well-established, and the director may not be aware of it. This kind of thing may have been done at the last institution s/he worked for. It would be especially compelling if that person had a good understanding of the budget. Otherwise, it may be the case that the high prices still do not cover the operating budget, as is the case at many private and even public schools (hence the need for fundraising). The director would likely be the person to know the numbers, so s/he may be privy to information that you are not. In any case, the long-time employee would best know how this will be taken by the parents.

  2. Courage

    I hand-made a beautiful set of invitations for my mother’s 60th birthday party, but I underestimated the time I’d need to correct errors, etc. I ended up sending the invitations later than I’d planned so that most guests will receive them a week later than intended. Instead of having 18 days to meet the RSVP deadline, they now have 11. We’re certainly not sticklers about the RSVP deadline, and we set it two weeks in advance of the party. The party is in mid-December and possibly competing with other holiday parties and gatherings, and I’m afraid that (1) folks may have committed another event in the time between when they should have received the invite and when they actually did, (2) get offended and question whether or not they were on a “B-list” or (3) they will be panicked about the deadline and ultimately decide not to come.

    What actions can I take to correct my flub? Is there a way to express that we’re flexible about the deadline without putting people (especially those who – for whatever reason – have to decline) in an awkward situation? Is there a way to express this without looking desperate and unpopular?

    Any guidance is deeply appreciated!

    • Elizabeth

      I don’t think your guests will assume that they’re on a B-list due to the timing of the invitation arriving and the requested date of RSVP. 11 days doesn’t seem that bad to me, especially as it is a reasonable 2 weeks before the event. No one will know that you intended to send the invitations earlier, and there’s really nothing to be done about any of it. There was no flub. You have no reason to express flexibility with the RSVP date. People treat them as flexible anyway. No one will be “panicked” about the date. Doing so would look desperate, not the other way around. They will be able to come and interested in coming, or they won’t. Simply accept the responses graciously as they roll in, knowing full well that it IS scheduled during a busy month of parties and some people will inevitably have to decline due to other commitments.

      A couple of days after the deadline has passed, you can call or email those who haven’t gotten back to you. Inquire whether they received the invitation, and whether they’ll be able to make it. (People have to do this with wedding invitations sent weeks in advance, as there are always those who just don’t respond, so don’t feel like it’s just you!) Be confident and calm during these interactions, and know that you will have a lovely and successful event no matter who shows up.

      I hope you and your mother enjoy it!

  3. Laura

    I have a bit of a dilemma. My oldest daughter is getting married. Her two sisters are her maid of honor. They both have spent about $6000 on her bridal shower and bachlorette party. Both sisters feel because of the amount they have spent. They do not need to give sister a gift day of wedding. Please answer this question. It is causing a bit of arguing who is right or wrong. Thank you so much.

    • Alicia

      Nobody ever owes anyone a gift. So your daughters do not owe their sister a wedding gift. $6K each is an insane amount to spend on a wedding and bachlorette and shower and is overboard. They should scale these plans back. I strongly suggest they scale these other expenses back and together get their sister something lasting as a wedding gift so that years from now when their sister has kids and the kids ask what the aunts gave mommy and daddy for their wedding there is a nice answer. That said nobody owes anybody anything in terms of gifts.
      Saving $100-500 each on these 6K of expenses would probably be a scale back that nobody would notice.

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