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The Etipedia® is an online database filled with articles, advice and answers for any and all of your etiquette questions. You can search the Etipedia using keywords and phrases, or you can browse by subject area. The Etipedia is not only a comprehensive reference tool; it is a reliable source of information on business etiquette seminars and trainings, manners for children, wedding etiquette, and more–with a fresh look, increased accessibility, and a variety of content.

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{ 274 comments… read them below or add one }

Tweety July 15, 2010 at 9:04 am

When a person has received the degree of Doctor, other than a medical Dodctr, is it permissable to sign DR. before your name when signing a guest register at a funeral, wedding or other outing?
Thanks for helping with this delimma.


Monsieur Olivier December 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm

It is absolutely permissable for someone to do this– it would actually be wrong for them not to. “Dr.” before a name is used to describe any sort of doctor; however, if someone want to list their specific degree, then they would write “John Doe, MD” or “Jane Doe, Ph.D.” and as far as I know, either is acceptable at any given moment. Although, in an academic setting, the latter may be preferred.


KK February 15, 2011 at 9:55 pm

In my opinion, in the instances that are in question (funeral, wedding) signing your name with “Dr.” would have to do a little more with your relationship to the either the deceased or bride and groom. If you are/were a collegue or perhaps family dentist to the party in question, than yes I agree with Monsieur Olivier; by all means sign your name as such. But, as a personal preference, if I invited a relative or a close friend with that title to my wedding, I wouldn’t necessarily prefer they sign their name Dr. Abby Smith to the guest register. That title has nothing to do with our personal relationship. Granted I wouldn’t be terribly insulted… but I certainly don’t think it is wrong to leave the “Dr.” title out of one’s name the rather personal occasions that you mentioned.


Senior Grackette March 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

Considering the ultimate importance of Ph.D.’s in our society to further medical science: It should make no difference if the person is an M.D. who might help a handful of people in their lifetime, or a Ph.D., who’s work continues ad infinum saving countless millions of lives, and impacting many times more people. The question is skewed unfairly in favor of personable medical doctor “technicians”, and against those who carry forward the progress of the betterment of man. To single out one over the other is improper, belittling and insulting.


Sue Lewis August 30, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I am trying to find an answer to an “advanced” etiquette question and have had no luck, I’m hoping you can help me. My husband and I were recently invited to dinner at a restaurant by our daughters boss. There were 5 adults, 3 men (the host, my husband and a male co-worker of our daughter) and 2 women (our daughter and me). The wife of the host was not able to attend. I was seated to the right of the host. Once the food was served, in this scenario, who is supposed to take the first bite?


Graceandhonor August 30, 2010 at 1:05 pm

The host, regardless of gender when only one is in attendance, is the one to take the first bite, thus signaling to the others present to begin eating. In the case of husband and wife hosts for a business dinner, he may defer to his wife.


Linda September 3, 2010 at 3:44 am

My mother and I have an ongoing disagreement about tipping in a restaurant. I say that if you have a coupon for money off the final bill, you tip on the total bill before the coupon is applied. She says you tip on the total after the coupon is taken off. Please help us so we can settle this issue.


Alex K October 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm

You always tip based on the price before coupon. The waiter did the same amount of work regardless of whether or not you are receiving a discount. You tip based on total bill, before taxes and coupons/discounts.


broketaxpayer February 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm

I bet your mom was never a waitress. Pay a tip on the WHOLE bill. They used to say, “If you can’t afford to go out to dinner, then eat at home.”


Delaware19806 December 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Coupons and tipping – I agree with you. Always tip on the amount (not including tax) before the coupon. Anything else punishes the waitstaff for your having a coupon. As Alex K stated, they’re doing the same amount of work. If the service is exceptional, you’ll have a little extra to add to their tip.


Los Angeles Etiquette Consultant September 3, 2010 at 7:45 am

I am loving Etipedia. Very creative!


Laura September 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm

My sister is having a destination wedding. How could I tell her that I can’t afford to go? I have not worked in 2 years, and we have a child in college. I feel that it is alot to ask someone to attend and feel obligated to go to a destination wedding!


Graceandhonor September 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I agree with you, Laura. “We are so happy for you and Tom, but we simply cannot afford to come. We will be thinking of you on your day and look forward to celebrating with you when you get back.” If she wants you there, she’ll pay your way. It is insensitive in these times to foist this expectation on anyone.


Tarablee713 November 3, 2012 at 12:29 am

Although the truth is ,that you can not afford to attend an out of town wedding, including that information in a written note of Congratulations, might be considered crass. Most people save cards from their wedding. Whouldn’t it be terrible if ,years later, the couple pick up a card to reminisce, and find that unfortunate information.
It’s not important to mention it at all, unless she asks. Whether she asks or you feel the need to tell her, a personal conversation whould be the best way to do it.
Often, people plan out of town weddings to spare themselves the Circus that comes with a big wedding. They also understand that they will lose a few guests to inflated expense.
Don’t even hint, that you’d be willing to accept her financial help. If she is willing/able to accept the additional expense of your travel, she will let you know.


broketaxpayer February 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm

My stepdaughter purposely got married in the Caribbean so she wouldn’t have to put up with the disappointment of her father either showing up drunk or not at all. Smart girl.


Elizabeth September 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I have the honor of being invited to an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony for the Grandson of my best freinds. Do I take a gift, if so Please give an idea.


Alex K October 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

If you know the grandson, take a small gift to commemorate the occassion… and engraved key chain, photo frame, or pen. He’s worked very hard for his Eagle rank. If you don’t know him, a card would be appropriate. Hallmark sells some specifically for Eagle Scouts. Congratulations to the new Eagle!!


Lisa September 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I tried to find on your website about addressing a couple in this situation, the mother is remarried but is keeping the ex-husband’s name because of the children but hyphenating it with the new husband’s name. When I am making out an address label, how do I list the names? Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Jane Jones-Smith or Mr. John and Jane Jones-Smith?


Graceandhonor September 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Jane Jones-Smith.


Alex K October 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm

We were having a discussion at dinner regarding dinner plates. While eating a meal, is it appropriate to turn your plate so that the food you want to eat is on the side of the plate nearest you? This is assuming the plate is round with no “right side up” pattern or odd shape where turning it would make it look out of place with the other plates on the table.


Graceandhonor October 28, 2010 at 9:29 pm

The plate should be served with the main food or entree, i.e. meat, at the six o’clock position. It is impolite to “dial” the plate, unless it was set before you with the entree not in the correct position. The meat is at six o’clock to facilitate cutting it without having to arch your arms over the plate to avoid cuffs dragging in the plate. If there is something you’d rather eat instead, simply eat it from its position in relation to six o’clock.


Grace Tirado November 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

It seems there is a difference of opinions regarding where to put your napkin if you must leave the dinner table during dinner to go to the ladies’ room. I say on the chair, but my friends say folded on the left of the plate. Please help.


Graceandhonor November 1, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Grace, I have misspoken on this subject in the past. The correct place is to leave it folded next to your plate. It should not be left on the chair, and I believe this is because it is less sanitary or may deposit food particles on the chair upholstery. Your friends are correct.


marianne November 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm

How do I respond to a charity event invitation when I cannot attend and I’d rather not donate? The response card only offers the choice “I cannot attend, but please accept my donation”. Thanks, Marianne


Graceandhonor November 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Simply cross through “but please accept my donation.” One shouldn’t feel held up by a charity.


Joanna November 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm

While I know that one should never respond to rudeness with rudeness, I think that if I ever got an invitation like that, I would simply ignore it. To give no other option for declining except with “please accept my donation”?? WOW.


c. lopez December 4, 2010 at 2:45 am

What do you say to a relative that rspv’d “yes” to your daughter’s wedding, goes to the church ceremony, and then has some sort of argument with wife, then decides not to go the reception, wife attends with 2 daughters for about 2 hours or less?


Graceandhonor December 4, 2010 at 3:26 am

It sometimes takes awhile before anyone can respond to a posting. Please look for my response to your initial query in the December 3rd thread.


Tarablee713 November 3, 2012 at 12:38 am

Nothing. Two wrongs don’t make a right. It whould be inappropriate to “confront” your guest. Besides, stating the obvious, is always obnoxious.
You might however, not include them in your next event. If you are obligated too, you might mention quietly that you hope the past does not repeat itself.


Mimi December 12, 2010 at 1:14 pm

My spouse and I have a question regarding attire. He works on board a cruise ship and is a manager and considered an officer. He is not required to attend formal night but on occasion is invited personally by guests to dine with them. When he does attend he is only required to wear his evening uniform which consists of a dress slacks (blue), dress jacket (blue), long sleeve white shirt, and blue tie. Here is our question. I am occasionally on board with him and attend formal night with him when he is asked. I tend to wear long evening gowns, jewel tones in winter, pastels in summer and gowns that have plunging necklines or gowns that show cleavage but by no means showing nipples or skimpy thin coverage. I am a 38C so I am a little busty. Is it appropriate to show cleavage or should I be covered up, what is the proper attire to wear amongst other guests or if we were dinning with the Captain or other company executives like the CEO etc?


Delaware19806 December 20, 2010 at 6:58 pm

On three occasions (twice at the same restaurant) I have had waitstaff return my change without including the coins. Please know what bothers me has nothing to do with the amount of change. It is the principle of it. Is this a new trend? I think it’s presumptuous and very bad manners. This takes “do you need change” to a whole new level. I think supervisors need to talk to their staff. The first time it happened, I included what the waitress kept as part of her tip. The irony of this is I am told I’m an overly generous tipper. The first time it happened at a favorite restaurant, I wrote an e-mail to the manager and received an immediate response. He said he’d take it as an opportunity to counsel the staff and he promised it never would happen again. He was bothered very much by what happened. It recently happened again – only with a new twist. The waitress returned with my change, put the paper money on the table and then looked at me and asked, “do you want your change.” I said, yes I do. I have noticed that on all three occasions, the staff person was very young and perhaps inexperienced. I need to come up with a snappy response next time it happens. What is happening out there?


Kiley February 14, 2011 at 11:58 pm

You are right. When purchasing anything correct change should be given back to you no questions asked. Also, as a server in the past, I always recognized how rude it was when other servers would ask patrons “would you like your change?” it puts the buyer in the awkward position in front of the whole table to sound cheap by saying “Why yes I do!”

The only thing I can say in playing devil’s advocate is that often at the restaurant where I served we wouldn’t be given very little change to start our shift and if everyone paid with cards or used up all of the change that night, many times it would make for an embarrassing “Umm sorry I have to pay you in all nickels”/”If you’ll be so kind to wait for just another 5 minutes while I chase someone down who can give me the correct change” conversation. I would always try to make it clear to management that this is not acceptable to many customers, but usually got a reply “Well..sometimes we just run out”

If it happens again, I would continue to do what you have done in reporting it to management. Like I said, you are right in being unhappy due to principle alone. Not giving correct change is a form of stealing whether the fault of the server or the establishment.


lisa January 30, 2014 at 8:49 pm

As a server there sometimes isn’t change available, so I round up to the next dollar. Where I work, there are two registers that can only be accessed by the bartender or the managers and often both are under stocked. I am required to bring in my own money to change out customers payments-which means that on a very tight budget about 25 dollars of my money is not really mine (since I always have to have it on hand for the benefit of other people). I’ve had customers pay with large bills and need 80 dollars in change and then get irritated when the bills aren’t denominations they prefer. The change that I present is generally in the only form available for me to distribute. Short of going to the bank for my customer I’ve done everything I can to give them convenient change in a timely manner. On the other side I find it very rude to say “do you want your change?” Asking it does save you from running around tracking it down when they’re just going to give it to you anyway, but I’ve found saying “I’ll be right back with your change” solves that problem because people who intend for you to keep the change will then say so, and you don’t sound entitled.


Alicia January 31, 2014 at 10:59 am

That is not the customers fault nor yours but the restaurant. The restaurant should have the ability to make change sufficient to do business. Failing to do so should not be taken out on the servers or the customers but brought up to management.


broketaxpayer February 21, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I walked out of a restaurant when they couldn’t give me change. (It was for a pick up order.) It was early in the day and the restaurant owner did not have any money in the register. I felt bad because the waiter, cooks, etc. tried to make change out of their own pockets but they didn’t have enough. I told them to let the owner know that he not only lost a sale, he lost a customer.

B. Allen January 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

My husband recently passed away after being sick for a short period of time. I have had people tell me that I should stop waring my wedding band. I have two, the original in white gold and a yellow gold that was given to me for an anniversary when I had my diamond reset. Is it proper to put each of them on chains and ware them around my neck or can I continue to ware them on my hand?


Just Laura January 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I’m sorry to read of your loss. You have fulfilled your obligation “Until death do we part,” and no one can tell you what to do with your wedding bands. I couldn’t find what the Emily Post Institute says, but Miss Manners says the following:

“Can you tell me how long I should wear my wedding band, or can I continue to wear it?”

“Gentle Reader: No, and neither can anyone else.Whether you remove your wedding ring is entirely up to you. The only thing the Victorians had to say was that it should absolutely be done by the morning of a wedding ceremony with a subsequent gentleman.”

Don’t let people tell you how to honor your departed partner. That is 100% your business.


Alicia January 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Wearing or not wearing your wedding band is entirely up to you . Do as you wish be that to wear all the rings, wear some but not others, wear them around a necklace or not at all. The only point at which you need to remove your current wedding bands is if you become engaged to another. I’m sorry for your loss of your husband.


Lori Akers November 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

When my husband passed away suddenly, I continued to wear my rings until I was engaged to my new husband, I actually had my new husband remove my rings and replace them with the new rings! It is 100% up to you, and I know how hard it is to remove your rings! I still have mine and keep them dear to my heart!

My best friend also lost her husband and left hers on until she remarried, and simply moved her first rings to her right hand! Which would depend on your new husband I suppose!


broketaxpayer February 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm

How romantic. Your new husband is amazing!


Joyce January 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I recently attended a school board meeting to receive an award from the school board in the district that I teach in. My family was there, including my 9 year old daughter. Since we arrived only a few minutes before the meeting started, we took our places quickly. I recieved my award, and we left. The next day, the superintendent visited my daughter’s classroom, and she mentioned that she saw him at the meeting the night before. He asked her why she didn’t come up and shake his hand or wave to him at the meeting. She did ask me and my husband, but we told her that it was not an appropriate time, since this was a business meeting and not a social gathering. When my daughter tried to tell him that, he stopped her and instead asked her to do a report on proper manners to present to the class, and then he had her stand up to demonstrate shaking hands. (She felt humiliated and embarrassed in front of her class and teacher.) Was I wrong to tell her not to greet him at the meeting?


Kiley February 15, 2011 at 12:30 am

Being a teacher’s kid myself, I can see the different sides to this situation. First off I don’t think it would have been an “inappropriate time” for your daughter to greet or shake hands with the superintendant after the meeting had concluded. Doing so is good manners and will help her learn how to converse with adults in a business setting. *This is assuming your family didn’t sneak out in the middle of the meeting, which unless done very discretely during a break or for an emergency wouldn’t be very courteous since you were one of the guests of honor it seems.

Secondly I don’t find it appropriate for the superintendant to address and single out your daughter in her classroom either. He isn’t her teacher, nor did what take place have anything to do with the classroom, so asking her to stand and present a report on manners was completely out of line. I’m not sure how strongly you felt about this, but if it were me I would get my pen started on a letter to him to the tune of

Mr. Superintendant,

I wanted to sincerely thank you for the part you played in my receiving the x award. It was a great honor to be recognized for the work I do. I would like to apologize that our family had to leave before Alice or myself could come shake your hand. As you know it is hard to find a sitter on a school night, so our family had to leave a little earlier than usual. Alice mentioned that she had been singled out in class for my mistake. I’m sure that was a misunderstanding, but Alice and I will be happy to come meet with you privately to discuss the matter on Wednesday at 4pm if that works for you. At that time perhaps you can give her some of your great tips and tricks for conversing with adults in the business world. I am sure she would welcome some friendly advice.

I beleive a note like that clears up any misunderstandings and hopefully gives him the hint that these matters are better dealt with person to person than in the classroom.


cate Sprague February 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm

My sister in law returned two baby gift dresses I sent to her -before the babies were even born to try them on! ( I did include a gift receipt) but, I was insulted that she would return them from family. Is that correct etiquette or in poor taste? I found out because the return came thru to my computer acct.


Just Laura February 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm

You sent a present to your sister in law, and included the gift receipt, but are now angry that they were returned?
If you didn’t want them returned, perhaps the gift receipt shouldn’t have been included. Personally, I doubt I would have returned them, but perhaps they weren’t her taste.


Gladys Huddleston March 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm

What is the proper etiquette for sending sympathy cards to family/friends who have lost a family member? Is there a specific time you wait before sending a card?
Someone told me it is improper to send a card prior to the funeral.




Alicia March 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Send the card the day you hear the sad news. It will take a day to leave your mailbox and another day or a few to get to the bereaved.


Virginia Jones April 5, 2011 at 1:43 am

My question is the proper order of passing food at a dinner and if it would be different at a tea???


Brooke April 26, 2011 at 11:24 am

I, with another individual, am giving a baby shower for a friend. We have rented a local coffee shop and eatery for the location and they are also catering. The expense for this will be upwards of $300. Are we also obligated to give a gift a the shower or is the shower our gift?


Country Girl April 26, 2011 at 11:56 am

Obligated is a pretty harsh word. =) You are not obligated to give a gift, but yes it would be nice to do so. It is very kind to offer to host thus pay for the expense of the party, but if that cost weighs heavily on you I would consider giving a small thoughtful gift instead of large costly one. You could make her something lovely for the baby, or perhaps buy an inexpensive, plain diary and embellish it for the mother to keep track of baby’s firsts etc.


KENT May 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm

My wife and i have had constant clashes over manners, i was raised to be considerate and thoughtful with everyone and show respect where as she (told me)wasn’t even taught to say thank you. Now that we have a 5 & a 6yr, she fully supports me in raising them towards my south american culture. Her mom and two sisters are ok with their manners(they could use a class,though) but they don’t care much for it when it comes to their kids (2 daughters each 12-17 yrs.) or mine. Please, excuse me, thank you,consideration are also missing from their daughter’s lives. I understand they are at the age that it is all about them but what really gets to me is when they ignore my two boys, especially my 6 yr who is really tall for his age and has a little bit of a speech problem but my 5 yr gets their attention, i guess because he is smaller so, my 6 yr. asks me why his cousins don’t play with him sometimes and i have witness the bias. They do exclude him at times and this angers me because, they have no sense of family and the parents don’t anything about it. I feel they don’t talk to their kids. My wife and I have confronted them before and when it happens in front of their parents but it falls on deaf ears. I have even gone as far to say to the older ones that it would be nice for them to sacrifice at least 5 minutes of their time for their little cousins. Is it wrong for me to do that in front of the parents and what is the best advice to give my 6 yr on the matter? He is such a caring boy who wants friends and when his cousins ignore him it breaks my heart.


Country Girl May 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm

At the ages of 12-17, young women at times will start to develop that “nuture” gene that can cause them to naturally gravitate towards the smallest/cutest/most helpless creatures (Think puppies and bunnies). Unforunately this is just somewhat natural. But doesn’t excuse excluding their cousin.

Why don’t you do a little prep-work before your gatherings with them and arrange some specific activites that include all of the children? You can teach them how to all play a game together for example. Maybe even partner games/activities where each of your boys is partnered with one of your nieces and each team has to find all of the items on a scavenger hunt list before the other team.

This way you aren’t hurting anyone’s feelings or coming across in an accusing manner. Also perhaps you can teach your 6 yr old to be a little more interactive and teach him what to do when someone is ignoring him. Maybe he can learn to politely inject himself into their fun, in which case he will learn a skill for what to do if this should happen at school or elsewhere. Having him try “Oh this looks fun, do you mind if I join you?” might be just the ticket. Then he will start to gain a little more self confidence when he realizes he is in charge of where he wants to play and who he wants to play with.


Kent August 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Thank you very much for the advice Country Girl, my wife’s nieces have been great with the my boys,playing together, talking, all four of them even called my 6 yr old for his birthday.(lets see if this happens next yr. as they are inconsistent in their behavior but it was nice ) They greeted him over the phone and that put an unbelieveable smile on his face. Thanks again


Country Girl August 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

I am so glad to hear! =) Any step in the right direction is a start! I would definately continue to reinforce the nieces’ good behavior with lots of praise. It sounds like this may just be the beginning of a great cousin relationship. Best wishes to you and your family!


Vanessa May 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I believe invitations are supposed to be sent out 8 – 6 weeks prior to the wedding. Is this correct? When should the response cards be returned?


Margaret June 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm

8 weeks is usually best. Response cards should be return 2-3 weeks before the event.


Learning a lesson May 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Who should pay for a renewal of vow ceremony?


Just Laura May 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm

The people who are renewing their vows. If this is you, congratulations!


Learning a Lesson May 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm

No, once was enough for a me! LOL!


Pearl May 31, 2011 at 6:27 am

Last year we were invited to dinner by some friends we love. The husband prepared “his famous dish” for us. It was something that we did not like. Especially our daughter, but she, to our surprise, ate her entire meal. Later she told us that she was almost sick from the thought of eating the dish. They just invited us over again…and told us that they would be making the very same meal for us. They do not entertain often, and we do not want to hurt their feelings. He dish he makes is a variation of eggs Benedict, but with almost raw eggs and salmon spread…can we suggest, at least for our daughter, who does not eat eggs, that she be served something else?


Alicia May 31, 2011 at 9:45 am

I would accept the invite but then say that you really do not want the husband going to al the trouble of making his signatuire dish and wouldn;t something easier like pancakes be better. Say that you love the thought but that the signature dish is wasted on your family as you do not appreciate it to it’s full measure and would be just as happy with something more plebian like pancakes or toast or doughnuts or whatever. And then gush a bit about how much you like their company and any other dish served.


Country Girl May 31, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I foresee it possibly being a little insulting to ask that this host not make their signature dish. Perhaps you could say something like “That sounds lovely, I’m afraid poor Lizzy’s stomach can’t take runny eggs, so we were wondering if we might be able to bring a breakfast casserole (or dish you all like) for everyone to enjoy in addition to Tom’s signature dish.”

Then you and your husband can try to eat around the runny egg (If that is the part you both dislike as well) and fill up on the remaining parts of the eggs benedict and your own dish.


cheryl hall June 2, 2011 at 7:39 am

I really want to send my former husband a birthday card. I’m not sure what to say due to the situation he was diagnosed with CA and isn’t real healthy. It is terminal unfornuately. I’m not looking to rekindle anything but I’m looking for the proper words for a card.
we have been divorced for 8 years and have two adult children ages 30 and 31. Please help


Alicia June 2, 2011 at 9:00 am

How about “Happy Birthday!! I hope it is a great one!”
No need to say anything about death or it may be your last ect. Just say simply happy birthday.


Daniella June 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Wasn’t sure where to direct this question, but I would love to know if there’s an Emily Post iPhone application? If not, I think it would be something really great for the Emily Post Institute to consider. It would be so handy! Thank you!


Heidi June 9, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Every Q&A pertaining to second marriage deals with divorce. I was married to my first husband 38 years and did not expect to fall in love again, but I did to a wonderful man who was married to his wife for 34 years. We are not falling apart at the seams, are in good health, live active lifestyles, have careers. While I find my fiance very sexy, I find a lot of younger women do, too. I’m going to assume that since he picked me, he finds me not too unappealing either.

Now, for my question. Not divorced, how do you word the invitation? We have grown children, parents, etc., but we’re going to foot the bill for the wedding. I was fortunate to be married once to the most wonderful man and do not want to slight him. We don’t have to get married, we love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together.


Just Laura June 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Emily Post has some great examples here of how to word an invitation where the bride and groom host. If you are uncomfortable slighting your former husband (not that I believe it would be a slight), use the last name you gained when you married him as your last name on the invitation. I wish you many more happy years with another wonderful man.


Alicia June 10, 2011 at 7:19 am

One option would be the invite that goes
Bridefirst bridemiddle
Daughter of
Mother and father of bride
Groom first groom middle groom last
Son of
Mother and father of groom
Cordially invite you to witness
their marriage
on date
at venue

This avoids the brides last name thus avoiding your difficulty with your last name.


Patti Harrison June 21, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Is it acceptable to wear a black dress to a daytime (2:00) wedding?


Just Laura June 22, 2011 at 12:59 am

Black dresses are appropriate for funerals (or other mourning rituals) and cocktail parties. The daytime wedding commands a less somber color. Perhaps a lavender, blue, beige or pale grey dress/pantsuit?


Alicia June 22, 2011 at 6:48 am

Generally one avoids wearing white, ivory, black or bright red to weddings. Black has become increasingly common on evening weddings. A 2pm wedding is not an evening wedding nor is black ( which implies that you are sad about the marriage of the couple) generally wedding appropriate. 2pm is still mid afternoon pick your favorite color and wear a dress in that color. ( My go to afternoon wedding dress is green)


Patti Harrison June 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Is it acceptable to wear a black dress to an afternoon/daytime (2:00) wedding?


Tiffany Witte July 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm

How would I word on the bridal shower invitations that we are requesting donations to buy furniture??? I know you can’t say cash but there has to be some type of wording.



Graceandhonor July 27, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Tiffany, there is no suitable wording at all for this purpose. If a guest inquires of someone, they can say you are saving to buy furniture and money for that would be appreciated. Don’t try to put anything regarding gifts on or with invitations, or you’ll end up on the faux pas hotseat, and we know that isn’t the kind of perch you have in mind.


Michelle July 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm

My questions is, how do you let your neighbor know you would like to help them out by donating $100 or $200 to help them buy food, etc. without insulting them?


Alicia July 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I’m not sure this answers the question exactly but if I was worried about my neighbors being able to buy food I would ask them to help me out with something and then the next day put a thank you note for their help and inside the thank you note I would put a gift card for the local grocery store. That way they will not be sure how much it is until they take it to the store and there is at least the pretense that it is just a thank you gift which would moolify the pride a smidge.
Devious admitedly but that is what I would do.


Elizabeth July 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Or, you could just send it anonymously. The problem with approaching them directly is the potential to make them feel embarrassed or humiliated about their circumstances. They may have too much pride to accept such a gift. An anonymous gift can help them keep their self-esteem in a difficult time.


Alicia July 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Yeah do this Elizabeth has the better idea.


Country Girl July 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

As a few more options:
1) If you are able, you may want to bring over some fruits/veggies/herbs/bread/lasagna that you have grown or baked yourself. It is never insulting to receive a gift such as that, and would probably be greatly appreciated.
2) If you are the type of person/family who buys in bulk you could always give them a few of the extra cans or items that come in the package insisting that it was such a great deal, but your family could never eat/use that many.
2) If you are close, you may also choose to invite them over for dinner once and while.

Just a few more suggestions


Michelle July 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Thank you all for the great suggestions. I have actually thought of sending a gift card anonymously. My husband was actually thinking to let them borrow money and repay us when they get back on their feet. I would personally feel uncomfortable to take it and repay it.

Jody Gronowetter August 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm

My mother in law was invited to a wedding in NYC.. She is coming from New Jersey. This wedding is a very expensive wedding. She called to find out if the bride and grrom supplied parking. They aren’t… The nearest parking lot is 2 blocks away… Do you think a Bride and Groom should supply parking for a New York City wedding… She is so upset she has to walk in her dress 3 blocks away.. What are your thoughts?


Just Laura August 11, 2011 at 10:08 pm

As someone who lived in both NYC and Jersey (Summit, if anyone is asking), I can tell you that I am extremely jealous that your mother-in-law only has to walk two or three blocks in city to reach the venue of the wedding. I’m not joking – it sounds like such a great deal. The reason I think the Bride and Groom are off the hook for parking at their wedding is because many of the guests won’t take cars. Most people in NYC (even some of my friends in Queens) don’t drive at all, and don’t even have cars. They take subways/trains/taxis where ever they need to go. In addition, renting a parking facility in the city could be prohibitively expensive – if it’s even allowed. As you know, parking can $20/hr and up, unless there’s a street spot available.

Fortunately, there are trains, ferries and the PATH system available from Jersey – has your mother considered a park and ride? It may be cheaper for her. If walking is the issue, then perhaps a cab?


Kim August 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I recently was invited to a wedding in which I have been invited to the dance only, not the wedding. My son is best friends with the brides brother and we have known the family for over 15 years. Frankly when I got the invitation what it stated to me was we’re too cheap to invite you to the wedding or feed you at the reception but please come to the dance and by the way bring a gift. I am extremely insulted. Do you go and if so do you need to give them anything in the way of a gift or money and is $20 or less being too cheap. thanks for the advice.


Just Laura August 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I’ve always heard that if a wedding invitation is received, then one must give a gift. In your case, it sounds as if no wedding invitation was received, so you don’t have to give anything except your good wishes for their future.


Alicia August 17, 2011 at 6:58 am

You go only if you want to and you can be happy about the dance only portion of the invite. I agree it is not ideal but RSVP yes only if this is something you can get past. RSVP NO if you can not get beyond the half invite. If you attend give a gift. as always gifts should be in keeping with your budget, your closeness to the couple, and your joy at the event.


Martha September 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I have always followed this rule:

“The person who arrives is greeted and the one who leaves says goodbye”

I am right? Would appreciate your clarification.


Valarie Brownewell December 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm

This note is for Daniel Post Senning. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the article you wrote in the Costco Connection magazine concerning the obligations of sending a thank you note. I agree with you totally. I will be 60 in Feb and have been called old fashioned, but the way you described a handwritten note as “a treasure in a sealed packet, full of promise and potential” and a “visceral reminder of someone far away” gave me a warm spot in my heart. My mother always taught me to send a handwritten note and it does my heart good to know it is still the best way to say thank you. Sincerely, Valarie Brownewell


Lori December 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

My daughter is remarrying her ex husband. I want to make sure of the dos and don’ts of this special ocassion….again. We are planning a small event at our church. Can you give me some direction please? Lori-Mother of the Bride


Alicia December 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm

What are you wondering about?
It is a second wedding so traditionally smaller. This is expecially so for the second wedding of the exact same couple.
No bridal showers as the guests who would normally would have attended a bridal shower have already done so once for this couple. Pleaple are under no obligation to give wedding gifts even if they attend the wedding as they have already done so once for this couple. Large bridal parties are not done. Bachlorette and Bachlor parties are a smidge hipocritical as well. Religious traditions vary by religion.
Beyond this the bride and groom are welcome to have a lovely wedding and a lovely reception with whatever flourishes they can afford and would like.
Best wishes to them on their remarriage.


Linda January 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm

One of my good friends daughter is getting married. We have been friends for 20+ years. My friend told me that her daughter did not want her inviting her friends that she was not close to. I am not close to her daughter although I know her and the whole family and of course hear all about her through her mom . The daughter wants more of her friends. She asked me what I thought, knowing I would probably not be invited. I told her it didn’t feel good but I would not be devastated. I also said I believe the wedding is a special day for her as well and that she should be able to share it with special people in her life too. My friend is paying for a significant portion of the wedding. It seems a little selfish on the part of the daughter. What do you think?


Alicia January 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Of course the wedding should be about the bride and the groom and those whom are close to the bride and groom.If in 20 years of friendship with the mother of the bride you have not developed a close relationship with the bride you are unlikely to do so between now and the wedding. The mother of the bride will also be surrounded by her family (which are also the brides family) and those friends whom have forged a relationship with the bride over the years. the ettiquette lapses I see are 1. The mother of the bride discussing the party extensivbely with someone whom is not invited. 2. You making the mother of the bride feel guilty for not inviting you when you are not closely tied to her daughter the bride.
Yes the wedding is a big deal to the mother of the bride but the wedding is about the bride and groom and thus the mother of the bride should be celbrating with her friends and family who are close to the bride as well as her new in laws in the form of the grooms family .


Country Girl January 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I agree with Alicia. To put it simply; regardless of who is paying, a wedding is a celebration for the couple and their relationship. There is absolutely nothing selfish about the couple wanting a level of intimacy on this most special day of their lives.

Even though I’ve agreed to invite a couple of my mom’s friends (whom I’ve not met) to our wedding this summer, it is still slightly uncomfortable for me. Here are the reasons why: On my wedding day I want to feel relaxed and surrounded by my closest loved ones, not worrying about trying to remember names and faces of my own guests. I’m guessing my mom will be stressed out enough as it is without feeling the need to “entertain” or converse exclusively with these friends who won’t know anyone else at the wedding. And though my parents are paying for a portion of the wedding, my fiance and I are paying for other portions and adding guests does put a strain on our budget. Lastly I feel completely uncomfortable accepting a wedding gift from someone I’ve never met.

Though I can certainly understand your desire to share in this special day with your friend, it is a celebration of the bride and her groom, not the bride’s mother and her friends. If you would like a chance to get to know your friend’s daughter more, perhaps you can throw a congratulations luncheon after the wedding? That would be a lovely gesture.


seo January 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm

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Amy Hutcherson March 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm

My sister’s husband died tragically a few months ago. He was a very well liked person and 500+ people attended his funeral and visitation. Two months later the community held a fundraising event for the future college needs of his 4 children. My sister, mother and I are diligently writing thank you cards and are wondering at what point do we draw the line? We are thanking people who provided meals, helped in a special way, sent in donations, and personalized sympathy cards. Do we also need to send out thank yous to all of the people who attended any of these events? It is becoming very overwhelming.


Cecilia April 9, 2012 at 5:48 am

My mother is having a party for her 90th birthday, but she doesn’t want any gifts, she would like people to make a donation towards the works to be carried in her church. How do we say it in the invitations?


Alicia April 9, 2012 at 9:14 am

You do not. You do not mention gifts on an invite. If you or mom is quereied directly then you can say that she has everything she needs but if they would like to donate to her church that she would love that.
But gifts or the lack never get mentioned on invites. Info about gifts should only be given when people ask.


Sam April 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Hi ,
I am 25 year old married woman, and my husband keeps telling me I lack manners and ettiquettes. Can you please suggest me a book which would teach and guide me .



Alicia April 13, 2012 at 8:05 am

Well the 18th Edition Emily post book is the obvious starting place.
But the then you may consider getting the essential manners for men or the essential manners gfor couples for your husband as telling someone that they are rude is also rude. So he may have some brushing up to do as well.


Isabel April 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I am going to attend a black tie dinner and awards presentation honoring a man my husband works with for his community service. The hosting charity group is asking for donations with separate card included in the invitation. It asks the amount of our donation but does not tell how or when we are suppose to give the money. I was going to write a formal RSVP so do I include the donation check with the RSVP or do we pay up at the event. It doesn’t say anything about it in the invitation or reply card?


Alicia April 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Well I would think that you could enclose a check in the envelope of the RSVP or give money at the event or on their website or by mailing a check to their office.


Jerry April 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Most reputable charities have a director of giving or similar. That person is often identified on the charity’s website. Find him and call him.


Sam May 4, 2012 at 7:24 am

Offlate I have been finding my communication skills and tactfulness is not good. May I know a book which would guide me to learn these skills. I need to learn to be an adult, and I am finding it difficult without proper help.



Chocobo May 18, 2012 at 9:41 am

I would say a general manners guide is the best place to start, and then if needed buy additional ones that deal with the nitty-gritty of specific issues. Emily Post’s Etiquette is a good place to start, as is Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior. Of all the etiquette experts out there, those two are the most reliable.

Each of those volumes are fairly large and cover a huge amount of topics, but always focus on the cultivation of the mindset that informs the tact and communication skills you seek.

I hope this helps you a bit, do remember to be patient and kind with yourself as you try to improve. Good luck!


Christina May 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I am planning a destination wedding. I have come up with a guest list and am going to send out save the dates. I am going to have to reserve rooms well in advance and budget out money for the number of guest I think we are going to have. What is the proper etiquette on how to question people if they are going to come, 9 months before the wedding? Or is that too soon all together?


Julie January 22, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Congratulations! My daughter is having a destination wedding next July & the resort wants a firm number of guests by April, so I know what you’re going through. I’m not 100% sure on the etiquette, but we sent out Save-the-Dates 10 months in advance with the wedding website listed on it asking guests to click: “we’ll be there!” “maybe…” “sorry, can’t fly out.” About 25 of the 125 invitees responded to that.
For the most part, people close enough to you will be in touch somehow and give you an idea if they’re coming, otherwise you just have to send out the invitations 4 months in advance and hope they respond in time.


Alicia May 18, 2012 at 7:27 am

9 months out is too soon to expect RSVPs. You do not get the answer for sure from people until after you send out the invites 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding and then the RSVPs are generally due about 2 weeks prior to the wedding.
Yes with the save the dates many people will have to book flights prior to 8 weeks out but save the date does not require a response at all from the guests.
Budget either high and assume everyone is coming or think through your guest list. I bet you have a pretty good idea that some people would not miss it for the world and other simply have no chance of being able to afford it. You and FI can probably get a pretty good guess. Budget a bit higher then your guess and worst case you will have a little extra money. But 9 months out well people may not be able to find out if they can get vacation or know school or work things, ect and really you can not expect responses from people until after the real invites go out.


Karen July 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm

My cousin is getting married in a few weeks. There was a mistake in printing on the RSVP cards. It says 2 seats have been reserved for you. My daughter who is single, has three children. She asked the soon to be bride and groom if children were invited and was told that there was a printing error by all means they are welcome.A few days later my daughter got a phone call from one of the groomsmen (my son). He told her that the bride and groom asked him to call and inform her that is an adults only event. He also has children as well as another one of my sons. All of whom were told to bring the kids and now two weeks before the wedding, they have all received the message that it adults only. And none of them received the message from either the bride or groom? Question now is how to handle it? And furthermore my oldest son has 5 children, all of whom are welcome because their daughter is the flower girl. They all are very much insulted and hurt.


Elizabeth July 22, 2012 at 11:37 am

It sounds as if the bride and groom have really made a mess of things. I can understand your daughter’s confusion – if she’s single, who was the other seat for? Why did the bride and groom tell her one thing, only to have a groomsman call and tell them something else? And if they do have a no-kids policy (which would be fine), why is it being applied inconsistently? These are all good questions, and your daughter is right to be hurt and confused by it. It’s possible that they received more positive RSVPs than they could handle, and started to think that kids were the easiest place to cut? Or perhaps they went over their budget and are trying to save some pennies here and there? Unfortunately, you may never know. Your daughter has as choice – she can either decline the invitation, or she can accept despite all of the tomfoolery. It sounds as if the kids are not invited. It might be the better thing in the long-run to accept the invitation – who knows what’s going on, and it might be too embarrassing for the bride and groom to tell her the real reason. When she looks back 10 years from now, will she feel better if she goes or doesn’t? She has the choice, and she can politely go either way.


Alicia July 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

I would talk top the bride and groom whichever is family. This is coming second and third hand to the invited people. So I would either truswt the written communication or ask for clarification from the bride and groom.
Probably ask for clarification since this is coming from one of the groomsmen maybe he does not really know what he is talking about.


wendye hathaway August 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Should you date a thank you note? My sister and I disagree on this and have had no luck finding an answer.


Elizabeth August 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I think that most people do not date them, but I can’t think of a reason why you couldn’t. I’d be that most people feel like their thank-you notes are “late,” so they might think that dating them calls attention to that. Another way to think of it is to compare it to letters. Letters are always dated. Hand-written letters were usually kept, and became a kind of historical document. Thank-you notes on the other hand seem (to me at least) quite disposable. There are usually nothing more than a brief expression of gratitude, and in my house they usually go straight into the recycling bin. I appreciate getting them, but there’s no reason to keep them around after the message has been delivered.

So, I would say – you don’t have to date them, most people don’t, but you certainly can if you’d like.


Chocobo August 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

A thank you note is really a letter, and you always date a letter. I think Elizabeth is right that many people do not date them because they might be calling attention to the fact that their thank you is written belatedly, but in truth, you should include the date like any other letter.


Randy August 6, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Question: Some old friends of ours who moved out of state abotu 2 years ago sent us a wedding invitation to their daughters wedding, whom we’ve never met. Included with the invitation was a list of places the Bride is registered for gifts.

While we “were” good friends” with the parents (one of which passed away last year) we’ve never met their daughter or new son in-law.

We aren’t going to the wedding and don’t feel we should purchase a gift.

Are we obligated to purcahse a gift for their daughters wedding?

Thanks for some info.


Alicia August 7, 2012 at 7:58 am

No you are not. You are obligated to send a card with warm congratulations to the couple and best wishes. A gift although lovely is only if you are close to the couple enough to wish to send one or if you attend the wedding.


Randy August 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

Thanks for the info. That is what we thought was appropriate so it caught us off guard to get a list of on-line registered locations to purchase wedding gifts with instructions on how to do so. We’ll send a card and call it appropriate and done! Thanks again for your advice. R.


Sarah August 12, 2012 at 3:39 am

A friend of mine is hosting my baby shower, but I wanted to be responsible for most of the costs so that it would not be a financial burden on her. Another great friend and his wife own a small catering business, and they have graciously offered to provide us with the food (for free). There will not be any servers, and the host of the shower and myself will be there early to help them set everything up. Since it is a gift, I’m unsure about whether I should give them tip money. To thank them, I bought them a gift card to a very nice local spice shop as a small token of appreciation. Should I tip them as well? I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to thank someone for their gift with cash.


Thalia September 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

My boyfriend and I are scheduled to attend a destination wedding this weekend. His grandmother is extremely ill and we may have to fly to his home if she passes away so that we can be at the funeral next weekend. When and how do I tell our friends whose wedding we are attending? Should I let them know now that it may be an issue so they have some warning, or should I wait and see what happens? If so, should I call or email? I know that they are in the last week of preparing for the wedding and want to cause as little disruption and inconvenience as is possible.


Elizabeth September 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I think the answer depends wholly on the personality of your friends. If your friends are worriers but do well in a crunch, there’s an argument to be made not to tell them anything until there’s actionable information. If you find that you can’t make it at the last minute, that would be the time to call, explain the situation, and apologize for not being able to make it. If you notify them in advance but are able to come anyway, all of the anxiety and uncertainty will have been for naught. However, if your friends are planners who prefer to know things in advance, even if uncertain, then it may be best to give them forewarning, especially if some upset in your plans is likely.

In either case, it will be best if you know clearly what your plans are depending on what news you receive. If you learn that grandmother has passed away, will you leave the wedding mid-celebration? Will your boyfriend be struck with grief? Is it best that he skip the wedding to go and be with his family, while you could attend alone? I would think all of these things through (you probably have already) and relate only your conclusions, not the thought process.


Thalia September 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm


Thank you so much for your thoughtful advice. I have been considering the many scenarios you’ve outlined and a few others. I will keep my counsel until we know more. As you point out, there is no sense adding to the bride and groom’s pre-wedding list of to-dos, anxieties and stresses unnecessarily. Hopefully, we will be able to be there to celebrate with them and to support my boyfriend’s family when the time comes. What a great forum and, again, your advice and quick response are greatly appreciated.


Elizabeth September 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm

You’re very welcome. It seems strange to say in the same sentence, but my condolences to your boyfriend, and yet I hope you are able to celebrate with your friends. Such is life, isn’t it?


Annette September 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I have a daughter who got married last year and a younger daughter who has been dating someone for four years. When my oldest got married, her (now) husband did not ask the boyfriend of my youngest to be in the wedding. Now my youngest is engaged and her fiance is not going to ask his future brother-in-law to be in the wedding. I think this is wrong. Am I wrong to think this way?


Elizabeth September 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I think your disapproval of the wedding party is not constructive and not founded in the rules of etiquette. People assemble their wedding parties in many different ways for many different reasons. Sometimes people do have their future in-laws stand up with them, others prefer to have their closest female family and friends. For some brides and grooms, it’s important that their wedding party be their peer group, others have people of very different ages. Your oldest sister’s fiancee was not at all required to have his girlfriend’s younger sister’s boyfriend in his wedding party – that’s absurd, actually – who knew if she would go on to marry him? And her fiance is perfectly within his rights to choose whoever he likes to stand with him. It is actually quite old fashioned to require all men to stand with the groom and all women to stand with the bride. If the bride feels close to her BIL, she’s welcome to ask him to stand with her as a bridesman. But more to the point of your concern, I think – not every family member needs to have a defined role in the wedding. Most people simply like to come and enjoy the festivities without having to buy a special dress or rent a special suit, pose for lots of photos, etc.


Alicia September 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm

No you are not wrong to think whatever you think. However your son in law and future son in law are not wrong to not include their brothers in law. They could get along very well and still not want their future brother in laws as amoung their very cloest people. You would be wrong if you pressured anyone to include them and cause issues. Neither of my brothers in law were in either of my sisters weddings. It would actually strike me as odd if they included their future brother in law as a groomsman


Kate October 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

When I married my husband, I had a career and credit history and for various reasons decided not to take his name. I went the hyphenated route. Even though I made it clear to many people that I found “Mr. and Mrs. Husband’s Name” to be demeaning, my family still insists on using these titles to address letters to us. In a few months, I will be graduating with my Phd, and I have been wondering what the correct, polite way to address letters will be? Will it be Mr. and Dr. Husband’s Name? Or should it be Dr. and Mr. Wife’s Name? You know, just in case my grandmother asks.


Just Laura October 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Because you will have earned a Ph.D., and presumably out-rank your husband, letters addressed to you should have your name first (Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith, or Dr. Jane Jones-Smith and Mr. John Smith). Because you are married, the names will be on the same line.

Refer to this excellent Emily Post article on the topic of titles for more.


TJ October 2, 2012 at 7:15 am

My Grandson just got married and I was wondering about Christmas gifts. I have always given my Grandson $300 cash for Christmas ~~ but since I am on a fixed income, I cannot afford to give my Granddaughter-in-law that same amount. What would you suggest? I love them both.


Chocobo October 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

That is exceedingly generous of you. Of course I am sure that your grandson and his new wife would be very pleased with whatever you can afford to give them. Just be sure that whatever you choose to do, give it in both of their names so that your grandson’s wife will feel included. An accompanying letter emphasizing their dearness to you will drive home the point of how much you care for them both, and what more could a grandchild want than the love and approval of their grandparent?


Siobhan October 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

What a considerate grandma! They’re lucky to have you.

Personally I would be astonished if my significant other’s grandparents felt they had to give me money on any occasion. Simply addressing the card to both of them should be quite adequate – after all, a welcome into the family will prove far more valuable than any dollar amount.

If you will be spending the holidays together, a token gift would surely be a generous gesture, but this needn’t be expensive; the most appreciated gifts received around the time of my wedding were the Reader’s Digest DIY Manual (currently £3.50 on Amazon) and a toolkit with small tools for women’s hands (~£25). These together have saved me far more than $300!

You are also of course in a position to offer the benefit of your longer experience. Perhaps letting your new granddaughter know that she can ask for your advice when she needs it would be a nice way to show her your affection.


Clueless October 13, 2012 at 8:50 am

A friend purchased a table at a local fundraiser. She invited my husband, myself and 2 other couples. In lieu of having us pay for the seats, she has asked that we make a donation. Are there guidelines as to what amount the donation should be? The seats would have been $150 each.


Cindy October 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

I am in need of advice on attire for an early evening “of revelry”. This event will not extend past 10pm. Dress has been stated as “country club casual” but I am uncertain as to what to wear. The hostess is a decorator and normally very colorful, ecclectic, and trendy in her dress. There will be many people there from all walks of life. I would like to appear well dressed but not overly or underly so. One of my co-workers is going in a simple long black dress. How formal is “country club casual?” From what I have read online it is not that formal but another co-worker has said she was told by a dress shop that it is more formal than what we are reading. I would be more comfortable in trousers than a dress also. Can anyone clarify what “country club casual” is and offer a suggestion as to what would be appropriate to wear?

Thank you.


Just Laura October 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

My first thought is to wear anything from this website: http://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/home.jsp

(No, I’m not affiliated with them in any way.)

Nice slacks with a cardigan and a colorful scarf, or a pants suit would be appropriate. I also found this image of nicely dressed women in a variety of outfits.


Cindy October 17, 2012 at 11:15 am

Thank you, Laura. My apologies for posting in two places. I have been looking at that very website. The photo helps a lot too.


Just Laura October 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

No apologies are necessary. :)


Alicia October 17, 2012 at 11:57 am

Country club casual to me with a 10pm end time would be a nice but not formal dress something knee length in a casual but not too casual fabric. I would not wear a long dress as they are more formal nor would I wear all black as that is also more formal. Since you prefer pants in your case a very nice pair of trousers with a nice fabric shirt and a statement blazer would be fantastic.


Siobhan October 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm

My take would be (for women):

Mid-calf or knee-length skirt or dress, or slacks. No mini-skirts or full-length dresses.

Blouse, short-sleeved dress/top. No long-sleeved dresses (unless the style is clearly casual), t-shirts, spaghetti straps, strapless or backless dresses, mega cleavage or strange and elaborate necklines.

Cardigan or shawl for warmth – no hats or fascinators.

Open-toed sandals, Mary-Janes, brogues, courts (block- or low-heeled). No super-high heels or stillettos, boots.

Cotton, plain-weave silk, cashmere, light wool, linen. Not velvet, satin, lace, shot/watered silk, denim, jersey, leather, Lycra.

Sherbet colours, jewel tones, pastels, cream, florals or small prints. Not all black or all white.


Kaylee October 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Hi, I am marrying my best friend very soon and it’s time to send out invitations! My dilemma is that my parents are divorced and both remarried. I am sort of close to my moms husband, but not at all to my dads wife. We actually don’t get along at all. My mother thinks I should word the invitations as follows:

Mrs. & Mr. (step dads name)
Mr. & Mrs. (dads name)

I don’t Like this way at all. And, both of my parents and my fiancés Parents will most likely be paying for the wedding. I’ve been looking at different ideas of what to put, but haven’t found one the fits just right, yet. Also, my fiancé and I already have a 2 yr old son together. Not sure if that will change anything. Thanks! 


Alicia October 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

How about “together with their families”
this avoids the very hard problem in your case of defining who you consider family.


Unknown November 15, 2012 at 7:04 am

question on etiquette,

it is not wrong to post a meesage on facebookj aboout a death of a fathe rof five children until they have atleast announced it.. shoukld th eperson not wait outof respect, as thr family needs time????


Elizabeth November 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

Yes, it is improper to announce a death when the family has not yet announced it, or possibly they don’t even know yet.


Jody November 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm

You should definitely wait. It’s the family’s prerogative to announce a death — and it’s possible they don’t want it announced on Facebook.

Even if you’re within the immediate family you should wait until all family members know of the death before posting. Last December my mom died, and my sisters and I knew before my nieces and nephew. I did want to inform my friends, but I waited until I knew my nieces and nephew had been told before posting a Facebook note, since one niece and my nephew are on Facebook.


JCA November 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I have just recently started dating ( for 3 weeks now) a man who I have been friends with for 3 years. the holidays are coming and I’d like to know what an appropriate gift would be for him. Although our dating relationship is new, we know each other pretty well and he likes nice things. We have never given gifts to one another before but I would like to give him something nice. Would love some suggestions that are not too expensive.

Thank you


Just Laura November 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm

It appears you know this man far better than we do, and I’m afraid I’m uncertain what your personal definition of “not too expensive” might be. That said, here are some gifts that have served me well over the years for men:
- A painting by a living artist in a genre he prefers (the living ones tend to be less expensive).
- An experience that he’d enjoy (swimming with dolphins, dinner cruise, backstage passes to a favorite band, tickets to a sporting event)
- Signed copy of a book he’d like, or first edition of one of his favorites
- Latest video game release, or (as with my husband last year), an adult gaming chair with wireless speakers (he’s a gamer nerd).

I’m sure you’ll pick the right gift, as long as you’ve considered his tastes!


Rhonda November 21, 2012 at 1:47 am

My daughter became engaged on Sunday and she hates her engagement ring. She has called me asking for advice I’m so concerned how to respond correctly. She had given her fiance pictures of rings she would like. He and his mother went to the family jeweler presented a picture, the jeweler designed a ring. The problem is the stone she wanted was a princess cut the jeweler took several stones and placed them to resemble the princess stone. My daughter does not want to hurt his feelings she loves him very much but she would have rather had a small stone verses several to appear to be something it is not? What is the proper thing to do ?


Elizabeth November 21, 2012 at 10:04 am

Your daughter should tread very carefully here. From your account, she gave her fiance a drawing of the ring she wanted, and he went so far as to have it made for her. As such, this is not really a ring that can be returned. Second, he bought the group of smaller diamonds because he could not afford the single larger diamond. If she goes back to him to express her dissatisfaction with the ring, can you imagine how he will feel? Despite all his best efforts, he still could not please her? My advice would be for your daughter to find a way to love the ring. It sounds to me as though she has the style she wants, the color gold she wants, etc. It’s only this arrangement of stones she doesn’t like. It’s a detail, she should think of it as such. Perhaps after they are married for a few years, and their financial fortunes turn up, she can ‘upgrade’ her stone. But for now she should say nothing other than how pleased she is with it.


Just Laura November 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

I completely agree with Elizabeth. At first I thought you were going to tell us that your daughter picked one certain ring, but her fiance decided on something completely different. However, that’s not the case. Your daughter picked a style of ring, and the fiance got as close to it as he could afford. What a nice guy.
I am an appraiser. I notice things such as type of stone, cut, design, etc. I’ve learned that most people do not. They see something shiny and don’t wonder to themselves about if it’s white gold or silver, or whether there are multiple stones in a grouping achieving the effect of a single stone, or if the emerald is really a tsavorite. When most people view your daughter’s ring, they will notice the unique style of it, and she can proudly say that it was designed by a professional specifically for her. That will be impressive.


Ariel December 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Whilst addressing my Christmas cards, I came across this dilemma: my cousin has recently become engaged, however I have yet to meet his fiance. I’m wondering if I address the card to only my cousin or to both parties?


Jerry December 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

If they are living together it would be gracious of you to do so.

Some people will tell you that the correct form is

Cool Cousin
Fantastic Fiance
1 Main Street
Anytown, Anystate 12345

I think that the better form is

Cool Cousin & Fantastic Fiance
1 Main Street
Anytown, Anystate 12345

But either will work


Winifred Rosenburg December 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

If they live together, you should definitely address it to both. If not, I would address the envelope to just him but say “Dear Cousin and Fiancee” inside the card.


Shelby December 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I have a business and sometimes when a client asks me the progress on something I have to let them know I am waiting on a response from someone else.
What is a very polite way to let them know that I am on top of it and just waiting on someone else?


Jerry December 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm

By telling them what you’ve done so far, that you’re waiting for a response from Person X, and that you’ll follow up with Person X if you haven’t heard from him in Y time period.


Irma December 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

We have four children and 8 grandchildren ages 3 thru 17. We buy each of the grandchildren a gift. My question is must the cost of each gift be the same dollar amount, we usually set an amount to spend on each and if I get a gift at a discount and it is of an higher value is this bad of me or should I pass up the “deal”?


Alicia December 20, 2012 at 9:09 am

Absolutely you should not pass up the deal. The eight grandkids do not need to get exactly the same dollar value of items. If you budget say $20 per kid and find a $30 dollar item on sale for $15 that would make one kid very happy go buy that item. Then use the extra $5 to either go a little over other grandkids or to make yourself happy. Polite does not mean you have to get identical or identical worth items for all 8 kids. Instead go ahead and bargain shop. Over the years the bargains you will find will vary from kid to kid and will even out. What matters more then the gifts in every case is the affection from their grandparents.


Jody December 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

Irma — Getting a gift at a discount is being a good shopper, not a bad person. I do something similar for my nieces and nephew. I have a set amount to spend on each person in my family (nieces, nephew, siblings). If I find one of their preferred items for a lower price, I use the extra money to buy a gift card for one of their favorite stores. If their preferred item takes all that I’ve allocated for that person, well that’s the way it goes. I’ve never had any sense that one person feels unfairly treated because another got a gift that was “worth more” than his/hers.


Sharry December 31, 2012 at 1:03 am

My question pertains to letter-writing etiquette of a hundred years ago. If you receive a letter that is disagreeable, is returning it to sender a standard form of stating that you are displeased?
Contrary, if you keep it, would that indicate to the sender that you are fine with its contents?
This has to do with a series of letters sent to the Kaiser (yes, really) whose Aide de camp returned them to the sender, with the excuse that they had been sent to the wrong place. They had not.


Alicia December 31, 2012 at 9:23 am

As today not everyone 100 years ago was polite and sometimes a point was made in a way that was not precisely polite. No returning a letter was not standard. Nor is keeping a letter agreeing with it’s contents. It was a rude thing to do 100 years ago but not the rudest thing the Kaiser or his aide de camp ever did likely. For someone like that saying the wrong address was on them is like saying you are not in the know and should not be sending letters without explicitly saying such.


Courtney January 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I have been dating my boyfriend for 3 months and his grandmother (mom’s mom) just passed away last night. He has met my family, but I have yet to meet his (we were actually supposed to this weekend, but plans will change). He and his family have been expecting her death for a while, but regardless and understandably are still very sad and upset by it. My question has two parts. One, would it be appropriate to go with him as a support to the wake and funeral despite having never met his family? I’m concerned that this may be an inappropriate circumstance to meet them under but I do want to be there for him. Two, would it be appropriate to send flowers and a sympathy card to his parents despite having never met them (but they know I exist)?


Elizabeth January 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Neither of the two things you suggest are appropriate or inappropriate in and of themselves, but are highly dependent on how your boyfriend feels about them. If he wants you at the funeral for moral support, then by all means go. If he says that he’d rather you and his parents meet during happier circumstances, then gracefully accept that. Flowers seem like a nice gesture, seems like there’s no harm in sending an arrangement and a card.


Alicia January 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Either would be fine. Ask your boyfriend what he wants and respect his wishes. In some cases your attending would be a comfort in others a burden. Same with flowers and arrangements ask him what he wants you to do with regards to this and do what he wishes.


Gail January 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Hello, I have an etiquette question concerning lending things to a neighbor. We have a neighboring family, who since they have moved in, have not hesitated to ask to borrow (what feels like) virtually everything in our home. Paint brushes, ladders, vacuum cleaner, clothes, even my husband’s personal hair trimmers, you name it. Up until now, we have either let them borrow whatever they ask for, or have just skirted the issue. How can we be up front and honest so this won’t continue but not be rude or hurt their feelings? Our kids play together, and we like to visit with them socially, so we don’t want to make things awkward. We are just tired of not having our things returned or the items returned in worse condition (hair trimmers filled with the husband’s hair, for example.) Help?


Country Girl January 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

First off let me say, clothes and personal hair trimmers? Those are really excessive requests from a neighbor. The next time they ask to borrow something I would say “You know neighbor, our family has noticed issues with lending our belongings out to people and not having them returned or having them returned damaged, so we have made a new family rule not to lend our items out anymore. I’m terribly sorry. But I think the hardware store around the corner carries what you are looking for.” And if they come back with “Oh we promise we’ll return them” stand your ground and let them know again that you are sorry but you just won’t be able to lend the item. And don’t feel terribly bad. After all, these are your family’s items and you have a right to keep them safe in your home if you don’t feel they will be returned safely.


tarab March 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I have a question about sick etiquette. I am a full time graduate student and I work part time in a hospital. I burn the candle at both ends often and I get more than my share of colds. Due to alot of abuse of our companies sick policy we have strict enforcement of our hospitals sick policy- more than 7 sick days results in disciplinary actions. Unfortunately, I found myself feeling like I was coming down with the stomach flu- I had no more sick time and I could not switch with anyone. I felt forced to go to work.
Also unfortunately, one of my co-workers who acts as my assistant feels that I gave her that same stomach bug which resulted is her being hospitalized for several days. At a recent work social engagement, she let it be known that she blames me for her illness. I was intially defensive about it- stating we work in a place covered in germs etc. etc. But should I apologize- for something I might have done- but is impossible to prove?


Elizabeth March 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

I don’t think an apology is necessary. If anything is to blame, it’s the sick leave policy which required you to go to work while ill. I would speak to your supervisor and ask for clarification about the policy. If you were really too sick to leave your bed, would there really be disciplinary action? Or would it be possible to be excused with a doctor’s note? That would be my primary concern.

You may have made your coworker ill, you may not have – but all bugs have to come from somewhere and someone, and there’s no way you could have anticipated a hospitalization. If you find yourself in this position next time, though, I would stay home. If you work in a hospital, then you work around people whose immunities are compromised, and even worse than getting a coworker ill would be passing the bug on to someone already sick with something else.


Winifred Rosenburg March 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

I agree with Elizabeth that the sick policy is to blame. I also think this coworker is being rude and immature telling people it’s your fault. As someone with a weak immune system, I’m usually the first one to catch something when a sick person comes to work or any other place. I still have never blamed the person who “got me sick.” For one thing, you obviously didn’t do it on purpose. Also most bugs are contagious a few days before symptoms start so she could have caught it from you before you even knew you were sick.


Wedding Etiquette? March 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I will be getting married next summer, and my fiance and I originally wanted our wedding in his hometown. Recently however, I have fallen in love with the idea of having our wedding in my own hometown. His mother wants the wedding in his hometown, and my mother wants the wedding in my hometown. He is ambivalent about the location, but I don’t want to offend my future Mother in law or hurt her feelings. How should I handle all of this?


Alicia March 18, 2013 at 7:16 pm

You and your fiance should sit down and discuss the pros and cons of each location in terms of your own desires, that of family, convenience for guests, and cost. Then with all of those things in mind you two should reach a choice and present that choice as fait acompli to your family and guests. Discuss rationally, decide, and then present a united front.


Just Laura March 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

I like Alicia’s advice, but want to add one point – it sounds like you already agreed to have the wedding in his hometown. His parents may have already told family/friends your plans. Changing the location on them could be inconvenient.


Marti May 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Concerning graduation announcements. Who is responsible for sending these out? and what length of time prior to graduation? who’s return address should be on the card?
I received one the day after Baccalaureate and 4 days before graduation. I live over 1000 miles away. The card had been sent by the stepmother with their address. The graduate lives in another state with the mother, her address was not included.
Had I not previously known I would not have been able to make travel arrangements. There is barely time to mail a gift. Is this bad planning or lack of manners? Wondering if all the announcements were this late.


Alicia May 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Honestly they are out of date in this modern word. Information passes much faster and if you do not know through email, letters, facebook, phone ect it is probably not important for you to know. For a BA/BS either the student of their parent could send the announcement. announcements are not invites to the graduation nor are they a gift requiring thing. All that you need do is contact the graduate with best wishes.
Oh and mainly they are sent out after the graduation so it is not late but early if it arrived 4 days before graduation.


Frustrated Mom May 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm

My adult son (age 35) gets upset whenever I introduce him to acquaintances when he and I are in social occasions. I feel it is rude to not introduce him and would like your opinion. Thank you.


Cyra May 31, 2013 at 12:42 pm

If the two of you are in conversation with those acquaintances, then you should absolutely introduce him.
However, if you are conversing with an acquaintance and your son is not, then I wouldn’t see there being a need to introduce him.


S. Clark May 31, 2013 at 11:11 am

Our grandson is graduating from high school. Usually the girls receive a rose after graduation from family. What do people give the boys after graduation, besides a
card or mony?


S. Clark May 31, 2013 at 11:12 am

Our grandson is graduating from high school. Usually the girls receive a rose after graduation from family. What do people give the boys after graduation, besides a
card or money?


Cyra May 31, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I don’t think there’s anything specific that needs to be given. Even giving girls a flower after graduation is more of a family tradition then a general one, I think. You could give your grandson a flower as well, or a card (with or without money, up to you), or even just a hug and a “I love you and I’m so proud of you.”


Alicia May 31, 2013 at 3:49 pm



Timothy May 31, 2013 at 8:44 pm

My friend and I agreed to meet each other at cafe for coffee at 8:00 pm. However, he did not communicate with me till later that he sent me text message saying that he will be bit late. I assumed that term “bit late” usually means 15 to 30 minutes. That’s normal standard for people dealing with bad traffic in LA. But I waited too long till 8:30 pm. I sent him text message, what’s going on? But he did not communicate with me till after 9:00 pm. He mentioned that he had to stop by to pick up friends before meeting me. I find that somewhat bit rude because he did not inform me in advance. He kept me waiting for 1 hour and 30 minutes. I got bit upset. It affects the friendship between him and I. He apologized to me. He emphasized the word “in a bit” means he will be late, however I do not think 1 hour and 30 minutes will define as “in a bit”. Where do I stand from all of this. Please advise. Thank you.


Alicia May 31, 2013 at 11:13 pm

You should have left at 9pm and texted him and then your frustration and friendship would be intact


Rebecca July 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I think you were right and he was wrong….BUT, accept the apology, move on and simply mark it as a note for confirming arrangements another time. No arguments or blame, just a reminder to yourself to clarify vague terms so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. If you get another vague time frame, you can simply say that you understand, but you’ll probably need to leave by x time if he gets held up too long…..and be specific with a time or # of minutes (reasonable of course to fit the situation of the delay and your available time). Subjective terms can be misunderstood by both parties. I do think the time frame also matters more if it is a one on one meeting vs. a group with a single straggler that’s late…or very late.


Lainey June 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I have a question about having a “dutch treat” dinner party after a courthouse wedding. My fiance and I are getting married at the courthouse with only our witnesses present. This will be the second wedding for each of us, so we had planned not to have a huge celebration, but now we are thinking that we would like to plan a dinner for anyone who would like to come. We are trying to figure out if it would be appropriate to ask people to come celebrate with us, and how to indicate that everyone would pay their own way. We want to make it clear that we would not like any gifts, just the gift of their presence. Also, we would like to provide dessert. Any suggestions?


Alicia June 4, 2013 at 12:10 am

Yes skip having the dinner and have what is called a cake and coffee reception. This is where you provide dessert and coffee tea and lemonaid ( or similar simple non alcoholic beverages). You would not host it at a meal time but either before or after mealtimes. A wedding reception is your thank you to your guests for attending and their support it is also the first incidence of your showing hospitality and graciousness as a couple. So if you do not want to have a dinner and host it ( pay and be gracious hosts) then just do a coffee and dessert reception.


Benton June 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I am going to make a donation to a charity that will list the names of the donors on a plaque. I have requested that, instead of my name, they list my parents, and the charity has agreed to do so. What is the proper way to list my parents names? I was thinking:

In Honor of Dr and Mrs John J. Doe

Should I use something other than “In Honor of”? Also, should I list my mom’s name (e.g. John J. and Jane J. Doe)?
BTW both of my parents are alive. Thank you!


kaela June 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Just wondering what the proper etiquette would be if someone approaches your table while you are eating i.e. out at a restaurant. Should I stop eating until the person departs from my table or sits down? Or if they do sit down, when should I start eating again? Also, if someone speaks to you while you are eating, should you stop eating until they finish speaking?


melissa July 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm

my husbands grandson is getting married in august. we have seen him twice , 13 yrs ago , and 7 yrs ago respectivly. my question, what do we give monetary wise for a wedding gift? my husband gave both grandsons 500.00 for graduation , with no thank yous at all, and always gives 100.00 at christmas with no thank yous either. pls help


Alicia July 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

There is no rule as to monetary gifts. You give a gift depending on your closeness to the couple and fiscal means. That can be $0 of $1M it all depends on what the two of you feel represents you job and interest in the wedding and bride and groom.


Cyra July 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I agree with Alicia, give whatever fits your budget and represents your relationship. If you’re worried about not “giving enough,” perhaps consider a non-monetary gift. Monogrammed towels are always nice, or perhaps you can inquire whether they have a registry you can utilize.


cherelyn August 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm

You have been invited to a dinner party by a colleague. However, your family is returning home from a trip and you must pick them up at the airport. Write a note in which you politely refuse the invitation, state the reason why you cannot come, express your disappointment, and apologize.?


Elizabeth August 6, 2013 at 9:12 am

Sounds good!


che August 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Your child’s high school class is researching careers. The teacher has asked the parents to write a report on their occupations. You have agreed to do so. The teacher has asked you to include the educational background a person needs before entering the field, the responsibilities of a person in that position and why you enjoy that occupation. Your report should contain an opening, a body mentioning the three points and a closing.?


Elizabeth August 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

This is not an etiquette issue, but sure, the report could be in that format, yes.


Gerry August 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Is it rude to refer to someone’s deceased wife as former wife?


Alicia August 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Not rude but depending on situation could be awkward or hurtful. How about calling her his late wife instead.


Cyra August 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I would say that it’s inappropriate to refer to someone deceased as “former wife.” “Late” is the proper term, as Alicia said. A dear friend of mine recently lost her husband and I know she would be deeply hurt to hear him referred to as her former husband.


Maureen August 11, 2013 at 8:00 pm

My Aunt and I have a disagreement about this. She and another lady friend invited a couple whom they play cards with to go to a restaurant that the couple had never been to. The couple declined saying they had other plans. A few months later when they were playing cards again with the couple they mentioned that they got to go to the restaurant they had wanted to take them to but they went with other friends. My Aunt and her friend thought it was very rude of them to do so because they had invited them first. But I told my Aunt that they had been unable to go when they invited them and asked her if she thought just because they invited them first were they then expected to go to said restaurant with them instead of anyone else forever? (At least the first time ) she said no but that it was rude…and that now she has put them on her list of fair weather friends. I told her if someone expected me to to go somewhere with them and got upset with me because I went with someone else ….well that they weren’t the kind of friends I wanted…I’d be afraid to ever turn down an invitation!! So what do you all think? If someone invites you first (and this invite was not for a certain event…just dinner on totally different days and different months) are you forever obligated to go to said place first with the first person who ever mentioned the restaurant?


Elizabeth August 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

You are correct. Your aunt did not have ‘dibs’ on taking this couple to the restaurant. It is possible that she is hurt that the couple did not try to find an alternate date to go with your aunt, and this is the source of her complaint. I can certainly understand her being hurt a bit, depending on the nature of the invitation. I have a friend who is a foodie, and I would be (very mildly) disappointed if we’d talked about trying a place together and then he went with someone else. But if it was just to go and socialize, and the emphasis wasn’t on the food, I can’t see how it would matter.

In any case, this seems like a lose-lose argument for you to have with your aunt, I doubt you can change her mind. I would just stay out of it.


Jane Helen August 12, 2013 at 8:01 am

I recently invited our niece, her new husband and stepson to attend our daughter’s First Holy Communion which is to be followed by a lunch at our home for family and close friends. She has replied to say that she is attending, that her husband and stepson “won’t” attend the Mass, but would like to come to the family gathering later on “if that’s OK”. She did not explain why they would not attend the Mass.

We know that our nephew-in-law is not religious and does not wish to raise his son in the Christian faith. This is his prerogative and we would not presume to attempt to convert either of them any more than we would our Jewish family members.

Regardless, we feel it is exceedingly rude to refuse the religious ceremony, akin to saying they can’t be bothered or have insufficient respect for our belief system to attend the Mass, but would still take advantage of our hospitality. This is exacerbated by the fact that our niece has quite a history of being inconsiderate where our social occasions are concerned and does not take full responsibility for her 9 year old step son when she brings him here.

I am worried that if I say, that’s fine, of course you can come, it will eat at me, one or other of them will do something else on the day, and that, under the stress of 35 people for lunch, I will say something that may start a family rift.

How can I gently let her know how much this has offended us without starting a feud with the in-laws?


Elizabeth August 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

Jane Helen, I would try to take a slightly more generous approach to this situation. I mean, I agree with you that the primary event is the communion, just as ‘a wedding’ is the ceremony and not the party afterwards. There is something unseemly about skipping the whole point of the occasion just to come for the grub afterwards. However, it could be that they have something going on that morning (a little league game?) or it could be that the husband is deeply uncomfortable in religious settings, or that he’s deeply morally opposed to organized religion, etc. Who knows. The point is that they do want to come and be with you and the family and celebrate the occasion, though they do not wish to witness it. I can certainly understand the husband’s decision to raise his son outside of the church, but can also understand your view that one mass will not ‘infect’ him. However, this isn’t a conversation you can really have with them without it getting explosive, so I would just take the charitable position that they do want to celebrate your daughter’s achievement, even in the limited way that they can. Some support is better than no support.

As for the unruly 9 year old, that is another story. You can want to lay out some ground rules for the boy when he arrives. He’s old enough to understand where he is and isn’t allowed to go, what is he and isn’t allowed to touch. You could relay these rules to the mom in advance and reiterate them to the boy in a friendly way when he arrives. “Sally, last time you and Junior were over, X was broken, and we’d like to avoid that in the future. We’ve decided to implement some new rules and I was wondering if you could pass them on to Junior…”


Florence August 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I have a very dear neighbor who brings me a box of food a couple of weeks. I am a widow living on social security, he knows this and is soooo very generous. My question is how do I thank him? Thank you and a hug just doesn’t seem enough! Any suggestions?


Winifred Rosenburg August 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

The best way to thank someone for a favor is with a favor in return. Keep an eye out for things you can do to help him. For example if goes on vacation, offer to feed his pets and water his plants. I’m sure you’ll find something you can do for him.


Mel August 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

Is it appropriate to wear a beige lace dress to dressy evening function? If so, what kind of jewelry should I wear with it?


Winifred Rosenburg August 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Sounds good to me! Jewelry is up to you. Just remember the old rule of thumb to remove one piece of jewelry before leaving the house, which is another way of saying don’t overdo it.


Nonnie Mowse August 23, 2013 at 9:25 am

Hi Mel and Winifred!

As a jewelry making hobbyist, and a bit old fashioned, lace is usually statement enough, and jewelry kept minimal. However, today anything goes and I usually advise balance to body and face shape, and neckline and sleeves. I am more long of torso, so if the neckline is low but a necklace would be too much, I try for a fussier earring; otherwise it looks like something is missing. But a fussier earring would swallow up my next door neighbor who is petite.

I just did an internet image search on Cloris Leachman. She’s my latest favorite when it comes to jewelry. She can wear multiple strand after strand with just about anything and it looks right. Or she can wear very dainty and elegant and it’s right too. She (or her advisor) have figured out what works for her.

Mel, if the lace is subtle, you might be able to accent with more jewelry. But if it’s an ornate pattern, probably best to keep it simple. And, will there be dancing? Long jewelry can get in the way of a fast tempo. Maybe a bracelet and earrings are enough?

Experiment and see if wearing something is too much competition (or just gets lost) for a lovely women in a lovely dress!

I hope this helps!


Jen August 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

I emailed five co workers that I’m not close with for their addresses to invite them to my baby shower, but now I can’t because the cost is too high. Should I just not send an invite? It didn’t state in the email why I was asking for their address.


Cindy Emin August 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm

A co-worker made me a quilt for my grandson at my request. I chose & paid for the materials, which she said was all she required as payment, but I would like to extend my thanks with either a monetary or other gift. What do you recommend? I know she could use cash ; would it be tacky to give her a thank you card with cash inside? What amount would be appropriate?


Alicia August 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm

As she has said she does not want money and has used her talents and time to create a wonderful thing for you I think the best thank you gift is based on your own talents and time. What talents do you have? A gift of your talents is the best thank you. If not then something involving thoughtful time would be good.


Elizabeth August 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm

You could also take her to a nice lunch by way of thanks, or cocktails after work.


Christine September 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

My brother is getting married in December. I live out of state, as do most of our family members, who will be flying in for the occasion. I am pregnant and due in January, and I wanted to know if it would be inappropriate to have a baby shower before or after the wedding, but during that week. My mother suggested that I have a baby shower that week, but I know the focus should be on my brother and his fiancée. I wouldn’t dream of taking the attention away from them, so I wanted to get an honest opinion from someone removed from the situation.


Country Girl September 2, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Hi Christine,

Congratulations on your future arrival!

Baby showers are not thrown by the expectant mother or her immediate family, because that is seen as soliciting gifts for yourself, which is not polite. (As a shower, by definition, is to shower the guest of honor with gifts.) Has someone else offered to throw a baby shower for you that week? If so, you are free to accept it as you see appropriate. It might be thoughtful to inquire with the person who offered to throw the shower if it is possible to hold off at least until a day or two after your brother’s wedding, as that week will likely be very busy for your family getting ready for his special day, so adding another event to their schedule might be too much.

If you don’t have an offer from a friend or non-immediate relative to throw you a shower, then please don’t result to throwing one for yourself. That really would make you seem like you were trying to steal your brother’s thunder and cared more about getting presents for yourself than celebrating his day. Since this is a family event, many people will likely want to talk to you about your little addition anyway. On their own accord, they may even choose to send you a gift to help you and your child on your way. On the other hand if it is the bonding and advise of your relatives that you seek, you and your mother might like to plan a ladies luncheon or something similar after the wedding, with no gifts expected, which would give you a chance to share your excitement.


Katie K September 3, 2013 at 10:15 am

Regarding family members hosting baby showers, this comment was posted by EPI on July 2, 2012.

A: The “rules” on baby showers have changed. In the past, it was considered inappropriate for a member of either the mother- or father-to-be to host a shower at the risk of appearing self-serving. Today that is no longer the case. It has become more common and acceptable for the mother or sister on both sides to host a shower.



Ruth Peltier September 3, 2013 at 10:18 am

Country Girl I agree with you in principle. However, from the tone of the letter, it seems that the shower is to be limited to family. In this case it might be okay for the mother to host it, since the family will be in town for the wedding and is unlikely to be able to gather later for a shower.


Christine September 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Thank you Country Girl, Katie, Ruth, and Becky for getting back to me. It was my mother’s intention to throw the shower for me. This has become very common where I’m from (despite the fact that it seems as if one is soliciting gifts), and almost awkward for relatives friends if the “grandmother to be” doesn’t throw the party herself (i.e. it is seen as a financial burden that future grandmother should have to carry, not the future mother’s friends or more distant relatives). My mother suggested this time because family members, who probably otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend, would be in town. I am certain my brother wouldn’t mind, however, I’ll have to find a tactful way to mention possible dates with my future sister in law, and see if she rejects the ones near her wedding. I don’t want to put her on the spot and already have a gut feeling that this isn’t right to do during their special time, however, I would love to be able to share this event with my family members who wouldn’t be able to fly out a second time within a month.


Elizabeth September 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Christine, the other advice you’ve received has been great. I only wanted to add that many doctors/OBs advise against flying close to the delivery or in the third trimester, and some airlines will not let a heavily pregnant woman fly because of the potential for an emergency causing a premature landing. My only advice would be to check with your doctor and airline about flying a month before you’re due to give birth!


Becky September 3, 2013 at 11:30 am

I would suggest consulting with your brother and/or future sister-in-law to gauge their reaction. But only if you or your mother can do that in a way that does not put but them in the awkward spot of being the bad guy if they would rather a shower not take place during that time….and that doesn’t make it seem like it’s already a done deal. Don’t ask them for a yes or no, just have some dialogue where they might be able to express their ideas. If it appears not to be a problem, make sure things are well coordinated with the bride (or others involved in wedding planning) to avoid scheduling or other conflicts with the wedding activities/focus. If they would rather it not take place, you seem to be in a place that you could respect and honor it. Just make sure that your mother is too and it doesn’t get mentioned further…you know, the rumblings of “it would have been nice if we could have done the shower, but so-n-so didn’t want us to….” That kind of sniping can be as much (if not more) of a distraction from the wedding festivities as actually having the shower.


Denise September 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I have a question concerning in-laws. My husband’s brother and his wife did not approve of our marriage and have never been very warm to me, although my husband’s other siblings and mom consider me like family. I usually just let this roll off my back in the hopes that relations will improve over time.
Here’s my question: When communication is required, I usually let my husband call his brother, or else I email my SIL. Recently, my BIL came over to our house, and – in front of my husband – I invited him to go bowling with us, which he declined. Again recently, my husband’s mom was in the hospital. Knowing that my husband would not be able to call his brother until after work, I called my BIL and left a message on his voicemail to let him know. Yesterday, my BIL told my husband that he does not want me to call him or issue invitations, because he considers it inappropriate. He wants any news or invitations to come directly from my husband (“family”) as opposed to an “in-law” (me), and I think he was also suggesting that he considered it inappropriate for me to call him because I’m a woman.
Although there are a lot of etiquette rules my family doesn’t follow except in formal settings (such as husband eats first, silverware placement, etc.), I am unfamiliar with this restriction. I’d like to know if I am being rude by violating etiquette, or if my in-laws are constructing pretensive barriers as they have done in the past when they declined to be godfather to our child because they were already so busy.


Elizabeth September 9, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I am not aware of any etiquette rule that dictates that the “husband eats first!” The most polite people I know wait until everyone is served and the hostess herself sits down to eat before beginning.

In any case – your in-laws are making things up as they go along, or they are drawing on family/cultural custom that is by no means universal. It us up to your husband to lay down the alw with your in-laws. He should tell them that communications may come from either one of you, and that there is nothing improper about you passing on information. I can’t believe he would complain about your calling to tell him that his mother was in the hospital! (Might there be a screw loose somewhere, as well?) Your husband needs to set him straight.


Winifred Rosenburg September 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I completely agree with Elizabeth and would like to add that traditional etiquette had the wife in charge of communications including issuing invitations so it would have been inappropriate for your husband to invite his brother. Nowadays it is fine for either spouse to issue invitations and neither is considered better than the other.


Joey September 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I’ve gone in on a group gift for a bridal shower. Should I bring another gift to the shower? Thank you for the advise.


Elizabeth September 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

No! One gift is enough!


Claude September 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

A friend invited me to a charity golf outing, and had already purchased the “foursome.” I am happy to donate to the cause, but wondering what is the appropriate amount? Let’s say the cost of the outing was $200 per golfer. Is $200 the right amount to donate? I realize that my friend has contributed the entire cost of the foursome, however.


Elizabeth September 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Since your friend has already purchased the foursome and has invited you to be his/her guest, you can contribute any amount that you choose. Anything would be gravy. If you can afford $200, I’m sure that would be well-received, but if you can afford less than that, I’m sure they’d be happy to have any donation.


Irene September 24, 2013 at 6:11 am

Is there a recommended time to respond to a personal written letter sent to you from a relative? What are the recommended reponse times for letter writing. (I don’t mean emails but snail mail – letter writing). I tend to like to write written letters, despite being a busy person. When I write a personal letter, I like to receive a response within two or three weeks. Is it rude not to respond to a cordial letter to a friend or relative within a certain time frame?


Alicia September 24, 2013 at 7:29 am

Was there a question in the letter or a request or required response? Letter writing is nice but since well most of us have gone decades since receiving a letter I would not expect a reply via letter unless a stated pen pal in which case a few weeks turn around seems reasonable. Honestly, I would email if someone sent me a letter for no reason. Maybe not even that viewing it more like a card that does not require response. I am not sure traditional etiquette but chatty letters are so anachronistic these days.


Irene September 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Yes, the letter was to a cousin that I had known well as a child. Through circumstances we have have not seen each other for 32 years. However, we have corresponded annually over these years, mainly sending Christmas cards with a letter inside. My cousin recently sent a response letter to me after 3 months (he was overseas part of this time) that he will be visiting Canberra this November. He will be attending a converence here. I therefore suggested that we meet and have a long overdue catchup. Because my cousin volunteered this information including a date in November, I responded to this disclosure being a sign he would like to meet. However, my response to his letter in early August has not yet seen a reply to my suggestion. We are near the end of September and I was concerned and wanted to know the formalities of answering a question or suggestion within a letter.


Alicia September 25, 2013 at 11:45 am

Call or Email. They may not have gotten your letter or you may have missed theirs. You need a response call or email


Irene September 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Thank you Alicia for your advice.

Sadly, the communication between my cousin and myself is not so simple as just picking up the phone or emailing. One, my cousin has a private number and two I don’t know his email. Over these 32 years we have only communicated by snail mail. I have included my email address within my latest letters but he has never given me his in return or used this email address. This has disappointed me but I respect and accept his decision.

I will therefore ask the question again. Is there a time frame for replying to a letter that has a question about meeting again when he volunteered this information? The mail post here in Australia is very reliable and I doubt that any mail has gone missing. What I am trying to work out is that due to my cousin’s slow responses is he indicating that he does not place the same ‘value as myself in meeting again after all these years. If the protocl time frame is being exceeded, then I will tone down my excitment and expectation regarding our meeting after such a long time. He is my only cousin but as a person with a psychology background, I tend to look for the ‘small’ messages that people give and take note of these. I tend to be person who is more enthusiastic about seeing the value in social communication and believe in genuine social interactions and protocol as my sign of respect for the people I meet.

My question about time frames to respond to a letter is aimed at trying to understand my cousin’s slow communication response and place our reunion into some kind of perspective. It is as simple as that. If and when my cousin does write I will have a ‘clearer’ understanding of the value he places on this reunion which is being reflected in his slow response. However, before I can do this I first need to know the protocol time frame of responding to a letter.


Irene September 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I guess there is no answer to my question. Modern day protcols seem to revolve around communications that centre on phone and/or emails.


Elizabeth September 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Perhaps just send your cousin a quick note to reiterate your question about meeting in November, and ask him to call or email you. Letter-writing is such an anachronistic form that I can imagine it would be quite easy for him to let some time go by before answering. I don’t think there’s any clear-cut rule about how fast one should answer mail, certainly not now when hardly anyone does it. You could take your cousin’s silence for a lesser degree of enthusiasm, or you could simply imagine that he’s a busy person that just hasn’t gotten around to it, or it just slipped his mind to respond. You haven’t been in touch for so long, I can’t imagine that he feels any real rush to meet now. Again, I would just write him another note, say that you’re trying to organize your fall social calendar, and would like to know whether he plans to come in November. Give him both your email and phone number, and suggest that he call you so you can make plans without the delay of snail mail.


Irene September 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Thank you Elizabeth.


Cha October 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

We are going out for a dinner on my daughter’s birthday. And going to “meet” her bf for the first time.We have a coupon restaurant where we’re going to dine in. Is it ok to use restaurant coupon?Or is it embarassing for my daughter to do that?


Alicia October 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

Always ok to use a coupon. No need to make a big deal about it but handing a coupon to the server with the bill is perfectly fine. A mature adult should not be embarrassed by this.


Elizabeth October 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

I would go ahead and use a coupon as long as you do not try to dictate what people order. My sister’s MIL does this – they go to a nice restaurant, but the MIL is so concerned about “getting a good deal” that she doesn’t want anyone to order anything not covered by the coupon, no appetizers, etc. If you can use the coupon without making a big production out of it, fine. Otherwise, save it for another time.


Becky October 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Another approach is to just ask your daughter. Provided of course that you have a plan b in mind should she have a concern…will you use it anyway and just be as discrete about it as possible? or just pass on using it?


Kathryn Wolf November 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm

My fiance and I are planning on sending our “Save the Dates” with our Christmas Cards this year. Do we send separate cards to the boyfriends/girlfriends of our family members if they do not live together? Or can that wait until the actual invitation? Thanks in advance, Kathryn


Alicia November 10, 2013 at 6:24 am

Save the dates do not need to go to your entire guest list. In addition if you send the save the date you are making a promise you will invite them no matter what.If your friends break up would you still invite the girlfriend or boyfriend if not I would only send save the dates to those you would invite regardless of who they are dating.


Lila Schacht December 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Every year my husband and I go out for dinner to celebrate our son’s birthday. My husband’s parents always join us. My husband pays for everyone’s dinner. At the end, his parents thank my husband only, leaving me out. Is thanking only one spouse the proper etiquette, or is it poor manners?


Alicia December 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Well as your husband is the one paying even with group money I can see how they might easy make the thank you to the person paying. Why not this year you handle the check and see how they react. I would take no meaning from it unless they thank your husband when you handle the check.


Dan December 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

My wife accepted an invitation to her work Christmas party, but learned at the last minute that her brother was scheduled for open heart surgery and she would not be able to attend.
She would have liked to give advance notice but did not. Is it appropriate to extend regrets after the fact? Her coworkers are telling her not to say anything because the host may not have noticed her absenc (There were probably a few hundred invitees).
That can’t be right, can it?


Jody December 30, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Dan, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to extend regrets. It doesn’t matter whether or not the host noticed her absence, saying “I’m disappointed I was unable to attend, but I found out at the last minute that my brother was having major surgery” (or something like that) will go a long way in courtesy.


Bonnie December 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Hi we live on a island and my daughter and her fiancee are having a destination wedding,My daughters Fiancees brother and his Girlfriend of like 6 or so years .Brother is Best man also an X girlfriend will be there of the Fiancees Brother ,She has a boyfriend for a few years as well she has no problem with going to destination wedding with him being there ,her boyfriend of many years does not have a problem either,as she has moved on .Girlfriend of Fiancees brother has a problem with it,they have all paid their deposits we just thought we should let them all know .What should we do bestman and girlfriend and Bride and Groom and quite a few other friends are staying for two weeks the rest of us 1 week, X Girlfriend and boyfriend 1 week as well. My Daughter and her Fiancee spend a lot of time with this couple (Xgirlfriend and her boyfriend as they live close to one another and have moved from the Island and she is her closet friend now so of course she wants her there. As we live on a small Island and they all have same group of friends,there is also another groomsmen that went out with this Particular Girl and him and his wife have no problem with her being there.The joys of living on a small Island . Help
Mom of upset Bride


Elizabeth December 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm

The relationships of all involved parties are a bit confusing to me, but for your part (as the MOB and the hostess) you should just let everyone know that everyone invited is welcome and if anyone has a problem with anyone else, they should deal with those emotions before showing up to the wedding. This is also the tack the bride should take. People are entitled to their feelings, but they are not entitled to demand the exclusion of those people from a wedding guest list, or from the lodging they are counting on. The line from both you and your daughter should be: come and enjoy the wedding drama-free, or don’t come.


Kelley December 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

My older daughter is in the Airforce and stationed in Northern California where she lives with her husband. My younger daughter is graduating from highschool this coming June and we live in upstate New York. We just found out that my older daughter is expecting their first child in August.
My older daughter is coming home to attend graduation on Friday evening and I am having the graduation party on Saturday, now that I know about the baby and being having my daughter home is not an easy task, would it be in poor taste to have the baby shower on the Sunday after the graduation party? It will be hectic but she will not be home again. I want the shower to be beautiful and not have anyone feel I did something in poor taste.
Thank you for any advice you could give me on this.


Winifred Rosenburg December 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm

No, I don’t think it would be in poor taste, but you may want to talk to your younger daughter about your idea first to make sure she doesn’t feel her thunder will be stolen.


Caris whittington January 1, 2014 at 1:30 am

what do you think of people making unsolicted contributions in your honor in lieu of


Winifred Rosenburg January 1, 2014 at 10:21 am

That it’s not a gift (to you anyway; it is to the charity). Sometimes these donations come with things and that thing can be a gift, but not the donation itself.


Nathaniel January 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm

I failed to invite a friend to a motocross competition and they would have liked to have gone. What should I say?


Donna January 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

Due to past horrors with my brother-in-law, I cannot stand to speak with him–even when he says: “Are you enjoying the evening?” when we’re all at a family outing or event that I cannot possibly beg out of attending.
Is there an etiquette protocol when one has to be around someone they abhor for a family event?
I feel such anger and hostility toward this person that I do not wish to answer his antagonizing two-bit questions as he is only engaging me to irritate me.
I won’t bore all of you with the history here, but he’s been awful to me for years and I suppose I want someone to tell me: “It’s ok! You don’t have to say a word to him, and it is still socially acceptable, considering what he’s put you through!” and know that I am well within my rights not to answer this person’s insincere questions which are posed just to irritate me.


Elizabeth January 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm

It sounds like you are ready to give your brother the “cut direct.” This means that he no longer exists to you socially, and that you may ignore any questions or comments that come from him. It’s a big step, and you may get some push-back from your family. But if he’s as awful as you say, they’ll understand.


Donna January 22, 2014 at 2:31 pm

This is a first for me socially as I was brought up in a family who puts strong emphasis on manners and etiquette and always has done. It would clearly have to involve something awful for me to choose this preference for my own comfort, and never in my life has a similar situation arisen. That’s why I wonder if (and hope that) there is indeed a time, even in etiquette, to ignore the meaningless pleasantries (all for show) of one who has caused continual, intentional anguish for another. Thank you for nice response, Elizabeth.


Elizabeth January 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I would recommend googling “cut direct” for more information – how and when to implement it, how to explain it to others, etc.


Donna January 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm

That’s an excellent idea and I will do it. Just to know that the ‘cut direct’ is an option (ultimate though it is) is important to me now. Never thought I’d be in a position to feel more comfortable using it than speech, but seems I’m almost to that point.
Thank you, Elizabeth. Your kind and knowledgeable words are deeply appreciated and have helped me greatly.

Alicia January 22, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Yes you can give someone the cut direct. This is huge and basically is a social statement that they are lower then dirt in your eyes. Simply you turn away, walk away, and refuse to speak to or engage in any way or even make eye contact with the person and leaving any room they are in. If others ask you say something like ” So and so and I are not on speaking terms and I wish to have it remain that way. Oh by the way have you tried the bean dip it is delicious”
This is a huge move and one that means you relationship with your brother will be at an end additionally you are very likely to anger anyone in the family who still supports him if only for the ideal of family unity. I do suggest you try the less brutal method of simply responding ” I do not wish to speak with you good-day” and turn or walking away refusing to have any further discussion but still willing to acknowledge that he is in the room and human despite refusing to speak to him. But this is your own life and if truly that egregious then you may pick the nuclear option.


Donna January 22, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Alicia, thank you very much for your most helpful reply. You and Elizabeth have been most kind and I’ll carefully consider these matters before my next encounter with the person.


Vee vee February 20, 2014 at 11:22 pm

I live in California and a the son of a friend of mine is getting married in OH. When he handed over the invite he said “don’t feel obligated”. The comment bother me and made me feel unwelcome already. Was that comment okay or Am I over reacting ?


Elizabeth February 21, 2014 at 9:31 am

You are correct that people really shouldn’t editorialize in that way when they deliver an invitation. However, he probably assumed that you would not make the trip to Ohio, and may have said “don’t feel obligated” with respect to sending a gift.


Jody February 21, 2014 at 10:06 am

I agree with Elizabeth; it sounds like an awkward attempt to make sure you didn’t feel obligated to send a gift.


Darlene February 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I went on a vacation to see my Best Friend who now resides in Norway. I spent two weeks with her boyfriend and baby. It was amazing and the hospitality of her family made me feel welcome and at home. I brought gifts for everyone and also went shopping for gifts to take back home to the USA. She has always been such a huge support and I wanted to get her something special based on our friendship while I was there. I finally bought her some simple but beautiful earrings that she could easily wear as a mother. I handed her this special little box as my token of our friendship because she has done so much for me in the past. She took it and stuck it in a bag and never opened it. I asked her if she could open it and she said no she was too busy. It has now been two months since I have left and not a word even after I nudged her on FB message to see if she had time to open the present. I have still not heard anything after weeks since my comment. It felt like a punch in the gut because I put so much love and thought into this present. Am I out of line for expecting her to have opened that present or to get some kind of feedback? I am so very confused! Please, will someone let me know………


Lydia February 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Help! What is it called when you have already RSVP……..However, you have changed your mind and do not want to go. What that be call IDNWTG? So my question is what is the opposite to RSVP?


Elizabeth February 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm

If you have already responded that you would attend an event, but have to cancel, you can certainly do that. Contact the host, and explain that you can no longer attend. It helps if you have a good excuse. For some events, your cancelling would not be a big deal (like for a big informal party or bbq), but for some events it may impact the host more (for a small formal intimate dinner, or for a formal wedding). You can express your apologies accordingly. If you are thinking of cancelling last minute for something like a wedding, I would encourage you not to unless you really can’t go (instead of simply not wanting to go).


Alicia February 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Once RSVP you should only change for a less desirable thing like being in hospital or funeral attendance. Stand by your word.


Joseph March 3, 2014 at 11:17 pm

My sister-in-law’s baby shower is rapidly approaching and I have a question regarding the card. My girlfriend was invited to the event and all guests were asked to use a children’s book with a handwritten message for my nephew in lieu of a card. Now, we have selected a book and have written an appropriate message but we are unsure how to sign the book.

I want to simply have my girlfriend sign the book as she was the one invited to the shower. She, however, thinks it is appropriate for me as the future uncle to sign my name on the book as well. What would be the proper way to sign the book?


Elizabeth March 4, 2014 at 12:39 am

It would be completely appropriate for you both to sign it. I usually give shower gifts from both my husband and myself. It’s just tradition that the parties are for women, but everyone is fully aware that there are also men whose good wishes (and also money) are spent on the gifts. The parents to be will also appreciate your signing it because they will see it as a sign of your excitement and mental/emotional involvement in their offspring.


Julie A. Eckenrod March 12, 2014 at 9:08 am

When I send a sympathy card, if my husband is not acquainted with the deceased or their family, is it necessary to sign his name on the card also?


Winifred Rosenburg March 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm

It is not necessary. It is not wrong to do so either.


Germar March 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I am embarrassed to say that in haste I believe that I may have sent the cash I collected for a gift card, plus the gift card off in the mail. Is it best to just accept my lost of the cash, or should I contact the receiver to see if they received both? It is $145. collected from various family members toward a baby gift to a family member out of state.
I am sick to think that I had done this, but cannot figure out where the money is otherwise (used charge card when purchased the gift card.) My husband is telling me to ask whereas I feel it was sent “as a gift” so should not ask.

What is etiquette?


Moe March 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm

A co-worker (and friend)’s father-in-law passed away. I am sending a sympathy card. I know his wife’s name but I don’t remember their children’s names. I haven’t met them but he has referred to them often so I really should know their names but unfortunately I don’t. On the envelope I addressed it to The _____ Family but on the inside I feel it is too impersonal. I was thinking To Robert, Donna and Family but that doesn’t sound right either. Any advice?


Elizabeth March 18, 2014 at 11:18 pm

You can either address it to just robert and Donna, or go with your original idea of “Robert, Donna and Family.” It is not incorrect. I’m sure they will be touched that you sent them a sympathy card and will not notice the omission of their kids’ names. If you think it’s really important, perhaps you can do some sleuthing with a mutual coworker who might remember?


Alicia March 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

I’d go with Robert, Donna and Family. That way inclusive of whole family who is mourning not just the grandkids but also the rest of the family and adds to the kindness.


Katherine March 22, 2014 at 7:17 pm

My fiance and I live in a different state from most of our family and friends. We will be in the state a month before our wedding for the wedding of my best friend and my fiance’s sister, which are 1 week apart.
My mom wants to throw us a shower somewhere in that 1 week time span (or right after) but I think that is a little too close to the other weddings and would be considered rude. She insists that that’s the only time we can afford to be in state before the actual wedding (which is true) and she wants to give us a shower. What should we do?


Beatrice April 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Can you give me some appropriate wording for a restaurant indicating that babies and small children are not welcome – without being offensive.


Marie April 10, 2014 at 3:35 pm

My teenaged daughter is having her birthday party this weekend. Yesterday, very unexpectedly, the mother of one of her good friends passed away. Now some of my daughter’s friends say she should cancel the party. I don’t agree. Who is right? We knew the women who died, but not even well enough to know her last name. Rescheduling isn’t an option either. It’s now or never.


Elizabeth April 11, 2014 at 9:37 am

Tough situation. If your daughter’s friends knew the woman better, they may very well not feel up to a party. It may be seemly for your daughter to have a party, but it may be unseemly for some of the guests to attend. Your daughter can contact the guest list, express sympathy, and say that she’s still going ahead with the party but if they don’t feel up to coming she understands completely.


David April 11, 2014 at 10:18 am

You say some of her friends think the party should not be held and that you disagree. Where is your daughter’s input? It is her party, after all. It should be your daughter’s decision entirely and you shouldn’t attempt to influence her decision.


Mary April 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm

I am getting married in June to my boyfriend of 4 years. We have each been married twice before and have 6 grown children and 4 grandchildren combined. We live together, and all the kids are on their own. We are going away to get married, just us two, and that is very acceptable to all our kids. In the fall we are planning a large party, and a fun celebration with friends and family to celebrate our wedding and my 50th bday. My man and his ex are very cordial and supportive of each other, and she is very nice to me, I have no issues or drama with her. My man wants his ex to be included in the party, stating our wedding is private but this party is for everyone. He wants to include his former brothers-in-law and sisters -in-law as well, as they have been close for many years. I am ok with all of this, but feel very uneasy about the ex wife being there. I like her, and she is present at all holidays and events where her kids are…. and I get that. I am a good sport, and always very cordial and friendly….but for this event is it ok to exclude her and still invite her family. In a similar situation I would politely decline an invitation, however she will definitely be there if invited. I don’t think I am being petty, and I’m too old for drama… I just feel more myself when she’s not around. Help… I already feel like I will need to suck it up and have her there. If I know its not the most comfortable thing for me, is it ok to draw a line. I do want to enjoy a great party with our loved ones, we have a band and its going to be a lot of fun. I need to add my ex would not be invited, nor am I invited to his family’s functions, but still see my former in-law family members individually.


Alicia April 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Invited or not comes down to a conversation between you and your spouse to be. Either way is fine but the two of you need to discuss and balance each others desires as one often needs to do in relationships.


Ron April 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I have a question: our daughter is matriculating with a Master of Arts degree. A total of about a dozen people are coming to the graduation ceremony. There will be a restaurant dinner afterwards. Do the parents of the grad pick up the tab? This is quite a hefty price tag for us to absorb. On the other hand, several of these people are coming a considerable distance (ourselves included) to attend. These are the people our daughter invited to the dinner. What would be the proper procedure: to simply pick up the tab for everyone, or not?


Alicia April 21, 2014 at 6:51 pm

As your daughter invited them she has the tab responsibility. You may help her with it but when she invited them she became responsible for hostess responsibilities.


Daisy Sifuente September 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

A close relative of mine, recently married his college educated fiancee with whom he had already been living with for five years. At the beginning of this year, he came to our home and announced to my husband and I that he and his fiancee would be eloping as soon as he graduated from college, as his fiancee did not want to plan a big wedding and did not want to pay for guests that she did not know. He also stated that his mother, was not aware of his plans. A few months later, this relative was with his fiancee having lunch with my adult offspring and one of their friend’s from college. The relative announced to my offspring and their friend that he would be eloping with his fiancee in the early summer, to which one of my adult daughters stated that she would like to attend, and the fiance replied that she was not invited and there would be no room in the chapel. My adult daughter stated that she would stand outside of the chapel so she could offer her congratulations. At that point, my offspring accepted the fact they were not invited and did not pursue the matter. We later received invitations to their destination wedding, with a message that we would not dream of eloping without you and we were now invited to the destination wedding! The relative’s mother, made it a point through text messages to let me know that my daughters were now invited but her son and his fiancee did not have much money for the wedding. Some of our family members, when they found out about the destination wedding, wanted to attend, yet did not receive invitations so they did not attend. However, there were a few, who attended without an invitation. A few family members have commented that the spouse should have taken up for his family members, when they announced to his fiancee that they wanted to attend the wedding, and she stated no, that there would not be room, (we later saw the pictures and there were plenty of empty pews). My husband, was also upset with the behavior of the fiancee, as we have always been hospitable with them, and opposed me giving them a monetary gift. I feel bad about how everything has turned out, as we always had a close family.


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