Monday, September 13, 2010

And She Wore White

One of the etiquette questions that came up this summer for friends of mine was the idea of not being the bride and the rules of wearing white. The scenario was a bridal luncheon that we were attending as bridesmaids. One of my best friend’s had packed two dresses, one was a solid-white sundress and the other was just a backup plan. She brought both on the trip hoping that the bride wouldn’t mind her wearing the white dress (which she didn’t). While we were getting ready my friend asked my opinion of her wearing the white dress. I quickly responded that I wouldn’t wear it, but others thought if the bride didn’t mind then to go ahead and wear it. Ultimately, she didn’t wear the white dress because she was going back and forth so much with her decision. I’m sure in the end the bride would not have cared, but I’m sure it would not have gone unnoticed by others and it eliminated all the worrying my friend had making the decision.

The next day at the wedding we all immediately noticed one of the family member’s of the groom wearing a white dress and debated further. We all could argue both sides: it is so hot who cares what she is wearing OR how could she have the audacity to wear a bleach-white dress! It sparked my interest and I decided to do some research.

Turns out that everyone is giving conflicting information. I came across this article from April 2009 that polled a number of well-known experts and some said don’t wear white and others said it didn’t matter. Surprisingly, Peggy Post said that wearing white is acceptable. Here is the link Would You Wear White To Someone Else's Wedding? | The Frisky.

Well, all I can say is my opinion and provide a few guidelines for you to live by. Of course I’m more traditional and conservative than most, but I always consider others feelings, which I think is most important when you’re attending an event such as a wedding, bridal shower, baby shower etc.
You don’t want to take the spotlight off the guest of honor, bottom line.

If you are attending a wedding leave the white dress at home. This is the bride’s one day where it is completely about her. Wear your cute white dress out to dinner with friends and other social gatherings all you want, but leave it behind when you’re attending weddings. If the dress is primarily white, off white, or cream leave it out of the running for your wedding-day outfit. White accents on a dress are fine, but if your “debating” if it is appropriate or not it probably isn’t. I always found that if I’m dressing for something and I’m not feeling completely sure if it is the right outfit it probably isn’t.

I tried to find some pictures of dresses that I thought could be looked as appropriate, but really probably are not.

What is your opinion on wearing white dresses to weddings? I’d love to hear some of your stories/experiences.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm Back

Hi Readers! I have no good reason to have stopped writing for months on end but I'm back and ready to roll. I've had a wonderful summer of family gatherings, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and weddings. As always the summer months went entirely too fast.

I have to say that I've had several readers ask me to get back on the bandwagon of writing so thank you for the encouragement. I've had several personal experiences over the summer that have been good "blog" ideas. Real-life situations that I've experienced include spotting women wearing white to weddings as a guests, how much to spend on a wedding/shower gift if I know I'm not attending the actual wedding, to pet-walking etiquette (thanks Beth G and Ashley S)! Have you had any questionable etiquette dilemmas this summer? Send ideas my way and we'll explore it all together.

This is a picture of my good friend Stacie (who is engaged and getting hitched in June) and me. We were in our friend Molly's wedding in boiling hot Georgia. We had a wonderful time and the wedding was beautiful.

Happy Autumn Readers!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tech-savvy Travlers

Hi Readers! A friend posted this article on their Facebook page and I thought it was so timely with my last blog post. Here is the link - check it out! Click here to read.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cleared for Departure

I’m getting back on the traveling theme tonight in the spirit of a business trip coming up next week. Flying, no matter for what occasion, always gives me anxiety. I’m not scared to fly, but the whole event of packing, going to the airport, checking in, going through security, and waiting for the inevitable delay always puts me on edge. I’ve got flying down to a science though. I know exactly where to go, and if I don’t I’m just looking for the next sign to point me in the right direction. I don’t dillydally; I try and get through it all as quickly as possible. My husband can attest to the fact that I just have no patience with the “novice/clueless travelers” who don’t know where they are going, aren’t organized, and most importantly get in my way.

I have to give airports credit – these days they do make it much smoother for us “expert travelers.” The first time I saw the new security-line system I was ecstatic. For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to they have three lines now – one for families that are traveling (i.e. strollers), one for casual travelers and one for expert travelers. Why it took nearly 40 years for that to happen is beyond me, but I digress. In addition to the new lines you have the sky caps outside to check your luggage, avoiding all sorts of chaos inside, you don’t have to check a bag (heck it costs money to do so anyway), and you can already have your boarding pass with you before you even enter the airport – nirvana! This means the time actually spent in the airport can be minimal before arriving at your gate. I’ve made it through in 10 minutes at Midway in Chicago (I also know about the security check points “hidden” off to the side)!

Now, there is proper etiquette to follow when traveling. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone read this blog so they would make our traveling experiences more enjoyable? Here is the skinny from Peggy Post on airport etiquette and some general guidelines to follow.

  • First off, lower your expectations before even heading to the airport – expect the worst and maybe it won’t be so bad.
  • Be pleasant – the airport workers aren’t the ones delaying your flight or changing the weather.
  • Follow the rules – if you break any then you’re only going to hold yourself up and others.
  • Check with the airline’s web site on bag size and weight limits before you pack. Also, find out how many carry on items you can have. (I literally saw one woman emptying her suitcase in the middle of the American Airlines check in space with her clothes all over the floor because her bag was too heavy– did I mention there were about 800 people in line behind her!! AHHHH!!!)
  • Make a habit of writing out a checklist of everything you need to pack before you start: wardrobe, toiletries, personal or business documents, tickets, and your ID.
  • Be alert when going through the security line. Have your boarding pass and ID out and ready.
  • As soon as you can take off your shoes, jewelry, and other small items (also remember to wear an outfit on travel day that is easy to travel in – i.e. lose the belt if you can, wear slip on shoes, little or no jewelry etc.).
  • Take out your laptop from its case beforehand so you don’t have to fumble with it on the security line.
  • Retrieve you items from the security conveyor belt and get out of the way to reassemble everything – don’t’ be a bottleneck.
  • When you arrive at your gate find a seat and don’t put your bag in another empty seat – you could be taking up spots for other people.
  • Be polite when using your cell phone – keep conversations short if possible and walk away from the congested area – no one wants to hear your conversation.
  • When boarding stand clear of the gate – only walk up when it is your turn.
  • BE ORGANIZED - bottom line - be prepared, have everything with you, know where you're going, be alert and aware of your surroundings, and be respectful of those around you.

There is much more to talk about but I will wait for future posts to delve deeper into other aspects of flying the friendly skies. I'll even give advice on how to politely avoid the chatty seat mate.

What are your tips for happy and stress-free traveling? A drink at the bar beforehand? Headphones? Share your nightmare stories and tips!

Thanks for reading.

Click here for an article that talks about the dreaded security check point.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I received a comment on my last blog post regarding office gift giving. I'm not sure how this person found my blog, but I'm certainly glad she did. The founder of shared her personal experiences and solutions to the ever-tasking group-gift-giving dilemma.

I visited to see what it was all about. This web site, though charges a small fee for usage, allows people to organize a group gift seamlessly. I actually didn't order/execute a gift but the web site seemed very intuitive. I urge you to share this with your colleagues and consider it the next time you need to organize a group gift. This would be great for group wedding, shower, office, birthday, anniversary, Christmas, and any other holiday gifts.

Check it!
Happy group-gift giving readers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Group-office Gifts

This topic was a request by a friend who frequently has office parties where her department is asked to financially contribute to a group gift. For anyone that has worked in an office environment you know exactly what we’re referring to: wedding and baby showers, significant anniversaries and birthdays, retirements, and possible deaths are all reasons for coworkers to give a group gift.

While these are certainly important events to celebrate, and is a sign of respect for the office to acknowledge these personal-life happenings, they can add up. The size of the office is key to considering how much/often these instances can comfortably take place. Large departments may find themselves having parties more than once a month. You can imagine that this could become an expensive practice for some, especially those lower on the totem pole (sorry for the corporate slang…it is a habit I’m trying to kick).

Peggy Post does speak to office gift buying extensively in her book, “The Etiquette Advantage in Business,” second edition, but doesn’t get too specific about setting contribution caps. After reading Peggy’s advice on the broad topic I came up with a few guidelines you can take back with you.

Group Gift Guidelines:

  • Create a committee for your department/group that is in charge of organizing these types of events. This committee will then communicate to the greater group the details.
  • Set a specific dollar amount for the group-gift contribution (I recommend $5 and with a $10 limit).
  • If you are doing food items either use a portion of the gift money or ask for the committee to have a corporate budget for which this can be funded.
  • Committee should buy one card for all monetary contributors to sign.

Following these guidelines will set a standard for the department so no one feels like they are getting more or less than the next person. Also, one committee in charge usually takes away from anyone being “forgotten.”

If you are closer to someone that is facing their life milestone you can either contribute more than the asked donation or you can get them a gift separately. If you are someone’s direct boss or they are your number one client etc., getting them a separate card and/or gift is appropriate. On the flipside, if you don’t have a relationship with gift receiver, don’t feel obligated to give. If you do not contribute, do not partake in the food and drink portion of the celebration.

What is an “appropriate office gift” is a whole other topic that we will touch on another time.

Please share your thoughts on office-group gifts and experiences.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Engagement Parties

We were recently invited to an engagement party for good friends of ours in Chicago. This of course sparked my interest as a blog topic. Despite being a Professional Bridal Consultant, I myself have only been invited to two engagement parties. I’m still trying to wrap my arms around the Midwestern custom of engagement parties, but considering I’ve only been invited to two then I’m beginning to think they aren’t as popular. Hailing from the northeast (tri-state area N.Y., N.J., Conn.) I know that the custom during the engagement period is to actually send a gift. When my husband and I got engaged we got some very nice gifts from the east coast group, while the Midwest side wanted to throw a party. Readers, where are you from and what is your regional custom?

Before attending the most recent engagement party, I had to pull out my Peggy Post books to read up on what is the proper practice for throwing engagement parties and attending engagement parties.

The hosts. According to Peggy the bride-to-be’s parents usually host the engagement party, but any family member or friends may do so. When family lives in different parts of the country parents of the bride and groom may host separate parties in their hometowns.

What type of party? Cocktail and dinner parties seem to be the most popular, but there is no standard format. Sometimes, engagements are announced at surprise parties. Casual brunches to formal receptions, all are possibilities as long as it fits the couples taste.

The guests. Generally the guest list is limited to family and good friends. The size of the guest list is up to the hosts and engaged couple, but please keep in mind that whoever is invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding. Actually, it is in bad taste to invite people to any type of pre-wedding event and not invite them to the actual wedding.

Invitations. Any type of invitation is acceptable, depending on the type of party. The more formal the party, the more formal the invitation. Email invites, postcards, and simple emails are all options these days.

Gifts? Do you bring a gift or not? “It depends” is the answer Peggy gives us. Gift instructions are not to be included on the invitation, but if the couple feels strongly that they would not like gifts they can spread that by word of mouth through the hosts. Ultimately, your decision should be based on your local custom, your relationship to the couple, and your budget. Often close friends and family members do give a gift. An engagement gift is really a good-hearted gesture and does not need to be expensive or elaborate.

Ideas for engagement gifts:

§ Picture frame (wedding themed if possible) with photo of couple that you took

§ Wedding Planning/related book(s)

§ Gift card to couple’s favorite restaurant

§ Bottle of wine/liquor

§ Cookbook

Opening gifts at the engagement party is not appropriate unless everyone brought a gift to the party. Reminder that if gifts are received a thank you note must be sent, despite having thanked the couple at the event. Reminder: send that thank you note promptly after the party. If a thank you is sent too late then it becomes lackluster.

Tell me about your engagement party experiences and local customs.

There was an error in this gadget