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. Pete

    On the section of your website “Men’s Names and Titles” it says: The wife of each of these men uses the same suffix after her name as her husband does.

    Does this mean that a woman whose husband is James Smith IV should be referred to as Julie Smith IV? Or that the wife of William Johnson Jr. is called Wilma Johnson Jr.?

    Thank you

    • Alicia

      No In your example Julie Smith would just be Mrs Julie Smith however she may also be referred to as Mrs James Smith IV. Mrs William Johnson Jr is the same person as Mrs Wilma Johnson.

      • Winifred Rosenburg

        Actually it is not correct to use Mrs. with a woman’s first name. In that case she would be Ms. Julie Smith.

  2. Amanda

    Not sure if I’m posting correctly but let’s give it a go!

    My husband (English) and I (American) were married in January of 2013. We were both living in London at the time. We decided to get married there before we moved to Germany. Our parents and siblings were at the courthouse, we had a meal, and then a party that night with some UK friends. However, the rest of my family and US friends could not attend.

    My parents want to throw a big party this summer (July 2014) to celebrate the fact we got married with all those who couldn’t be there as well as some friends/family who are coming from the UK. Plus it’s a nice excuse for everyone to get together. While I greatly appreciate my parents throwing us such a lovely event, and of course it should be a lovely time, I must admit I am feeling quite anxious about this party and am at a loss as to how to refer to it. It’s not really an anniversary party as we will have been married 1.5 years, and I don’t think it can be called a reception either. What shall it be called? A celebration? My mother wants traditional Crane wedding invitations that mention all the parents’ names. I don’t know how to word them without giving guests the wrong impression. There will be no ceremony-this is simply meant to be a fun party with food, wine, and dancing. And of course we don’t expect gifts. Will it look ridiculous to have wedding type invitations? How should they be worded? And do we need to send save the dates for a party? We’ve already informed out-of-towners/Uk guests of the date–is simply an invitation sufficient?

    Additionally, my husband’s dad and stepmom have told us in no way can they afford to fly to the States this year. They felt quite badly and my husband and I have assured them it’s not a big deal. My mother insists we must still send them a proper invitation. My husband is concerned this will just make them feel worse/guilty/pressured as they now consider the matter dropped. But I can see my mother’s point that it is perhaps rude not to send them the official invite. Is there an alternate possibility?

    I realize I’m asking quite a lot of questions but throwing any sort of social event make me very anxious and I greatly appreciate any and all help in this matter.

    • Alicia

      It is just that a party. Over a year later trying to tie it to the wedding is a bit much. Your parents are throwing a big fancy party inviting all sorts of friends and family and should call it such. They can use whatever invites they wish and have as formal a party as they wish. Absolutely they can introduce their son in law to their friends and family that he does not know. Some questions answered:
      Wedding invites- No the wording should be for the party they are hosting not for the wedding that took place over a year prior
      Crane invites- lovely go for it
      Gifts- Of course not any gifts would be host gifts for your parents
      food , wine, dancing- wonderful oh great food wine and dancing is so much fun
      Save the dates- not needed but if they wish they are allowable for any party
      Wording- You are invited to a party at location on date at time
      In laws- may be invited or not based on parents guest list. They can not have RSVPed prior to receiving an invite but it seems a bit much to invite from across the pond for a party and absolutely no hurt feelings for only inviting within a continent.
      In laws names being mentioned- as they are not hosts of this party nor even likely to attend their names should not be on the invite neither should your and your husbands unless you are cohosting with your parents

    • Elizabeth

      I agree with Alicia’s comments wholeheartedly. The only thing I would add is that the party could be thought of as a ‘meet the family’ party for your husband, or even a “celebration of the marriage”. The invitation could read something like this: “In honor of the 2012 wedding of Amanda Smith to John Black, Mother and Father Smith request the honor of your presence at a party celebrating their marriage (or introducing the new couple to friends and family).”

      The wording probably needs some work, but there’s an elegant way to get the point across.

    • Jody

      I agree with Alicia’s comments but want to add something. By all means send your inlaws an invitation to the party. Maybe you can put a note in their envelope saying that even if they can’t be there in person you know they’ll be there in spirit. The bad feelings that might come up later because they didn’t get an invitation aren’t worth it (speaking from experience here, my mom held a grudge for years because a good family friend didn’t send me a wedding invitation because she knew I couldn’t make it).

  3. Denise

    I have a question about scheduling an invocation for a fundraising banquet. Do you have it right after the “Welcome” or just before the meal?

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