Archive for the ‘Etiquette’ Category

aug15For my household, among wedding season, it is also baby season. Bellies are swelling and chubby little babes are entering our lives left and right. Before the late night feedings and lack of sleep, the women go through a time old ritual. Baby showers. Does it bring a chill down your spin? For some, it is an unpleasant experience that always insures a headache. Here are simple etiquette answers to avoid the smallest of frustrations when planning a shower.

Who should throw the baby shower?
Anyone except the expectant couple — however, Miss Manners might disagree. Formal etiquette anyone can host, as long it the hosts are a relative, to avoid having it look as though the family is being grabby with presents.

 When should you have the Baby Shower?
Talk to the expectant mother and father about what day would be convenient for them. Holding the baby shower after the birth is becoming (Sip & See –an upcoming post topic) more frequent and is a fun time for the both parents. As everyone gets to see the baby and celebrate the new (yet, exhausted parents). Consider potential holidays, religious events etc.

 Can an expectant mother host a baby shower for her 2nd  (3rd, 4th…) baby?
It is perfectly fine to throw a baby shower for a mother’s second or third baby, as long as the guest list is limited to close relatives and very close friends and/or guests who did not attend a shower for the first child. It is a nice gesture for the mother-to-be if several years have passed since the last baby was born, since the parents will have fewer hand-me-downs for the new arrival. Also, location can also play a part. When the growing family has moved to another town, it makes sense for their new friends to throw a shower, regardless of how many children the parents have.

When to send out thank you notes?
If possible, the mom should try to send all your thank-you notes before the baby is born. If the notes are sent afterward, it would be reasonable to expect thank-you notes to be sent up to two months after the baby’s arrival.  However, this is only a guideline and each situation is unique. The concept of time is kinda lost once the baby comes. So don’t worry. The mother is truly thankful, your thank you is coming.
Should you have a baby shower for a mother who is adopting?
Definitely! Adoption is a miracle for the expectant parents and they need to be honored, loved, and supported just as much as others. A baby shower is the perfect way to celebrate an adoption. Take care to be sensitive about the baby shower though, no references to pregnancy, 9 months, or other related issues, unless the expectant mother doesn’t mind or brings it up herself. Also, be sure to host the baby shower only after the adoption is complete. Sometimes adoptions don’t work out and it would be even more disappointing to have already held the baby shower. Be sure to ask the new parents when is a good time for them, as they are making special bonds with the baby in the first few weeks.

Should you invite only women, or should you invite the men too?
It depends on the expectant mother. The baby shower is traditionally for her. But couples baby showers are fun too. So ask the mother-to-be what she prefers. Some may not feel as comfortable with other men there. OR she may like having her own husband there (who might enjoy the shower) and would enjoy having other couples there also. The expectant parents might be close friends with a several other couples, so a couples shower would be a lot of fun. Have a neutral theme (ie. BBQ) with no games.

Who should pay for the Baby Shower
Usually, the hostess pays for the baby shower. This is a great reason to co-host the baby shower with another friend or family member of the expectant mother.

Who should you invite to the Baby Shower?
It really depends on the group of people that you invite. If it is a close group of friends, you may only have 4-8 guests. Other groups of friends or family might have 15-20 guests. So it all depends. Just ask the expectant mother who she wants to invite. Some cultures, invite everyone. I’ve heard of showers with 60 guests.

How long should a Baby Shower last?
Plan on the baby shower lasting about 2 hours. It’s long enough to feel like you’ve gotten to know people and that you’ve bonded with the expectant mother. But don’t make it too long, so that guests are all “partied” out. And usually the expectant mother is pretty tired after 2 hours of fun! Some guests might want to stay a little longer to talk, so plan on ending the baby shower at 2 hours and then let everyone leave as they want to.

Note: Baby shower etiquette is slightly dependent upon the culture and region where you live. Most of the baby shower concerns addressed below are appropriate for and apply to most cultures. However, if you are in doubt about a certain issue in your culture, ask friends or family for their recommendation. I had a friend who had 60 women at her shower. Don’t worry, it was only 7 hours long.

Hopefully, this was a not a painful process. However, going to Baby’s R Us will give you an immediate headache upon entering the store. Beware.

(Silver Teether; Tiffany & Co)

See you Monday!


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mar07We all have to write thank-you notes. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone and hating life when you see a list of names and a stack of notes. Just focus on the task at hand, thank your giver for the gift.  Remembering to be sincere in your writing will let the the gift giver know you appreciate him/her for thinking about you. Even if the gift from the heart translates to a wooden fish that sings and moves when you walk by.



All gifts should be acknowledged with a note. Everyone loves receiving mail and acknowledgement of their gift. You can even mention your singing fish has brought new meaning to the song “Take me to the River”.


Who should write the note?

Usually it is the person receiving the gift should write thankyou-cranethe note. However, in a group gift, one person can write the note and everyone else can sign. Also, for couples, it’s okay to split up the note writing duty. For little kids who are unable to write, an adult can write the message and the child can draw a picture or scribble their name on the card. Incorporating photos, children’s drawings—anything at all that compliments the sentiment is a-ok. Just remember to include a short written thank-you as well.



Write your notes as soon as possible, and don’t hesitate if you feel you’re late: a late note is always better than no note at all.



Email: Don’t do it, unless you already have established a casual relationship with the gift giver and you correspond via email regularly. At this time, an email thank-you may be appropriate. For most other people, the written thank-you is your best option to express expression your sincerity.



If you have a huge list, split the task over a course of a few days. You don’t want to get burned out. By scheduling some time, you won’t feel pressure to rush to work or finish before the game starts. You’ll be able to think more clearly and your focus will translate to through the words Above all, try to enjoy yourself and just think how awesome Billy the Bass is going to look in your living room.



(Image: Crane & Co; Modified for my purposes, but taken from Emily Post, my dream star)

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feb26Most of our acquaintances have horrible RSVP etiquette. I am not sure why, but responding to an RSVP just doesn’t happen. So you’re invited to a party and at the bottom of the invite, there are four little letters. RSVP. As a host, my biggest pet peeve is when people do not respond in a timely manner (or not respond at all). Whether it is to a wedding, a dinner party, shower or gala event, an invitation comes with some important obligations. Here’s a quick guide to keep you on the guest list for future activities.

RSVP Basics

RSVP is a French acronym meaning, “Répondez, s‘il vous plaît,” or, “Please reply.” These four little letters are seen on every wedding invitation, bridal shower and most parties. Basically, it is saying, your host wants you to attend and a head count is needed for organization purposes (ie. food quantities, table placements, deposits!!! etc). The key thing is to reply promptly, within a day or two of receiving an invitation. Yes, your life is busy and schedules get hectic, but the host also has a busy life and a hectic schedule.

Question: How do I respond?

Answer: Reply in the manner indicated on the invitation.

  • RSVP and no response card: a handwritten response to the host at the return address on the envelope.
  • Response Card: fill in and reply by the date indicated and return in the enclosed envelope.
  • Regrets only: reply only if you cannot attend. If your host doesn’t hear from you, he is expecting you!
  • No reply requested? This is unusual, but it is always polite to let someone know your intentions. Depending on the formality of the event, a handwritten note, phone call, email, text is sufficient.

Question: What if something happens and I need to cancel?

Answer: It depends on the situation which causes you to cancel.

  • Changing a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ is only acceptable on account of: illness or injury, a death in the family or an unavoidable professional or business conflict. Call your hosts immediately.
  • Canceling because a “better” offer is a sure fire way to get dropped from future engagements
  • Being a “no show” is unacceptable. Contact the host (if for a wedding, let someone close to the bride/groom know).
  • However, changing a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ is OK only if it will not upset the hosts’ arrangements. (Every rule has a rule exception).

Question: May I bring X to the party?

Answer: Don’t even ask! An invitation is extended to the people the hosts want to invite-and no one else.

  • …a date. Some invitations indicate that you may invite a guest or date (Mr. Joe Smith and Guest) and when you reply, you should indicate whether you are bringing someone, and convey his/her name.
  • …my children/nanny/mother. If they were invited, the invitation would have said so.
  • … my house guest. It’s best to decline the invitation, stating the reason. This gives your host the option to extend the invitation to your guests, or not.


Office holiday parties may extend the invitation to spouses/significant others and not just the employees. Just be aware of company policy or ask your co-worker about previous parties.

House parties are usually a free for all, but let the host know you are bringing X amount of people.

Word of Mouth invitations: It seems like it is a casual event and not much planning is required of the host. No RSVP is needed.

Evites/Facebook/Gvites will note on the invitation if guests are allowed.
(gathered from Emily Post and various other sources)

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feb191The time has come and it is time for your __________ (insert speaker) to speak. You get a little sweaty and your heart beats a bit faster. You are unsure what your boss/friend/best man/mom/step-brother’s dog sitter’s girlfriend is going to say. Be aware of your body language, as I am sure your expression will be captured on film. Sigh of relief, the toast is over. It wasn’t that bad. Guests are toasting their glasses… But wait, don’t clink your glass, as the toast was directed to you. It is like buying your own piece of artwork, clapping at the end of your ballet recital, yelling encore for your drum solo etc. The best way to acknowledge the prost is to smile and hold your glass up as if you were “clinking” an invisible glass. Sounds silly? Of course it does, because everyone loves to clink glasses.

What are your thoughts?

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