Proper Protocol: Announcing an Engagment

Q: Hello, what’s the current protocol for announcing an engagement… when and how is it done?

A: In addition to calling and writing family members and friends, a couple often decides to submit an engagement announcement to newspapers. Because it is inappropriate to send printed engagement announcements, this is a nice way to spread the news. Most newspaper engagement announcements appear approximately two to three months before the wedding day. But really, there are no set rules: an announcement may appear a year before the wedding date or as little as a week before. The announcement is usually made by the bride’s parents, often using a standard form provided by the newspaper. The bride’s parents should ask the groom’s parents if they would like the announcement in their hometown newspaper as well. Although each newspaper may have its own format, the basic wording is as follows: Mr. and Mrs. William Smith of Burlington, Vermont announce the marriage of their daughter, Miss Lila Anne Smith, to Mr. John Reynolds, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Reynolds of Los Altos, California. A June wedding is planned. Miss Smith was graduated from the University of Vermont and is a nurse practioner at Fletcher Allen Hospital. Mr. Reynolds was graduated from Saint Michael’s College and is a graphic designer at The Design House.

Evening Wear: Does the wrap stay with her at dinner time?

Q: I am going out on a date with a swell guy to a very nice restaurant and then to a play in Minneapolis in early December. I will be wearing a red tank dress with a velvet wrap. Does the wrap stay with me at dinner time or does the host take it with the coats? And if it stays with me, what do I do with it?

A: It is your choice whether you keep it with you or have it checked. If you keep it with you, you simply put it over the back of your chair.

The Fine Dining Experience: How to know which utensil to use

Q: When dining at a fine restaurant with more than enough silverware, how you know which utensil to use?

A: The simple way to know is to start from the outside in. If there is a soup course, the soup spoon will be to the far right of the spoons – on the outside – so you use it first. The salad fork, if that is the next course, is to the far left of the place setting, and you use it for salad. If you follow the order of the placement of the silverware you should be fine.

RSVP Version 2.0: RSVPing in the Digital age

Q: On RSVP’s. I was under the impression that when sending an invitation that requires an RSVP, you should enclose an envelope for that purpose. My daughter tells me I’m old fashioned, and that RSVP’s can be done by e-mail or by phone. I maintain that would be unacceptable.

A: Your daughter is correct, not that you are old fashioned, but that an RSVP can be requested by telephone, or email if a telephone number or email address is included on the invitation. If it is not, then a written response is required, following the form of the invitation. It is written on your own notepaper and mailed in your own envelope.  A reply envelope, however, is not required. Only when a response card is included in the envelope would the hosts also provide an envelope.