Mrs. McVeigh's Manners
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All posts tagged 'etiquette'

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Social Media Invitation RSVPs

 Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

Is it proper to respond to an RSVP via e-mail or social network, such as Twitter or face book? Or should such esponses be made by a more personal method, such as a phone call, or returning an enclosed card? Or does it depend on the manner in which the original invitation was offered?

Bob Bartlebaugh


Dear Bob,

If you are emailed an invitation, or invited to something through a Social Network, such as face book or Twitter, then it is appropriate to respond through the method that the invitation was sent.  Personally, I have responded to an Evite or similar type of invitation before, and my response has not gone through.  The hostess then called me to ask me if I would please respond.  Since this has happened to me several times, I attempt to respond through the “Evite,” and then I follow up with an email to the host and confirm my answer.  

Mother's Day

 Mother’s Day is a great tradition that every mom appreciates.  The key to a successful Mother’s Day is making every female in your family, who is a mom, feel like it is her special day.  This can be tough when there are multiple generations of moms in your family.  My first few Mother’s Day my husband and I had to find a way to spend the day the way I wanted to, and how to do this by not offending my mother-in-law.  My mom lives close by, and it was easy to spend time with her.  My in-laws live 45 minutes away, and packing up our babies to make small talk around their house for the day was not my idea of a fun Mother’s Day.  Finding this balance can be tough.

            For all of you dads who have wives to make happy, and moms and grandmothers to feel appreciated, here are some ideas to make the day enjoyable for everyone.  The first solution is to see if you can spend the day with your mom and/or grandmothers on the day or weekend before Mother’s Day.  You can give out flowers, gifts, and/or take them out to lunch or dinner the day you see them, and then call them on the actual day.  If this is not an option, then invite all of the moms in your life out to breakfast or brunch on Mother’s Day.  Give any cards and gifts after you eat, and then you can give your wife the opportunity to spend the rest of the day however she wants to spend it. 

Trying to make it a full day of fun and pampering for your mom or wife?  Ask the mom in your life exactly what she wants to do. It could be a day to her self, breakfast in bed, a day of shopping, a special gift, or a day at the spa.  What sounds fun to you or your children may not be what Mom really likes. Surprises can be great, but asking every mother in your family what is truly important to her will turn out to be her best Mother’s Day yet. 

How to Politely Say NO to Solicitors


            I must confess that I had a brief stint in college as a true solicitor.  I had a job working for AAA cold calling people and trying to get them to sign up for a membership.  I cannot remember how long I lasted, but it must not have been more than one week.  People hang up on you, or tell you never to call again, and overall are pretty darn rude.  It is not pleasant being rejected over the phone, from AAA services, to a friend saying no to a volunteer position that you beg him to take.  As a result when I get a solicitor who calls me, I feel so bad saying no.

            How do you politely get solicitors off of the phone without ruining their evening or making them want to run and quit their job?  I would say let them at least finish a few sentences of their pitch before you graciously cut them off.  After you hear them out, you can then smile and thank them for asking, but nicely refuse the service.  If you tell them you will think about it and to please call later as a way of getting them off of the phone and sparing their feelings, you are not doing them a favor.  Be honest and say thank you for calling, but you are not interested.   Just like when a guy drops you off after a first date and says he will “call you later,” and you think he is really going to call, but actually he says that instead of just “goodbye.”  With a solicitor if you act like you are interested, he really is going to “call you later.”  Being a good listener, and then saying no thank you politely in a pleasant voice is the best way to handle phone solicitors.   

Expensive Wine and the Restaurant Bill

 An expensive bottle of wine is a given for a lot of people when they go out to dinner.  Other people obviously do not like wine, or do not care to spend a lot of money on it. When you have mixed feelings about expensive wine at the same restaurant table, the question is when it comes time to pay the bill, should the bill be split evenly, or should the expensive bottle(s) of wine be taken into consideration? 

Men are known to split everything down the middle, and women tend to get what everyone owes down to the penny.  Either way, when you have an item such as wine, the person who ordered it should take responsibility for the cost of it unless he or she knows for a fact that the other people at the table share the same appreciation for it, and are willing to spend the money.  If someone in the group does not drink it, the person/people who ordered the wine should offer to pay more of the bill.   Another option is to ask if the wine can be put on a separate bill before you order it.

If you are the person who did not participate in drinking the wine, and the offer to split the bill is not made, there are ways to tactfully take control of the situation.  Ask to see the bill, figure out your portion, and politely announce what your share of the bill is.  If someone at the table beats you to the bill and tells everyone to pay the same amount, you can still politely speak up.  Ask to see the bill, and then tactfully say something like, “I am going to pay XYZ since I did not drink any wine.  I hope that is okay with everyone.”  Another example is to say, “Bill and Robert, why don’t you guys get the tip since you drank the bottle(s) of wine, and we will call it even.”  If this proves to be uncomfortable, in the future when dining out with the same group, take the waiter aside discreetly and ask for separate checks.  

Wedding Etiquette – What to Wear

 What to wear to a wedding has changed somewhat over the years.  Now it comes down to common sense.  Here are a few pointers on how to feel confident that you are dressed appropriately.

            Start with the time of day the wedding and reception are, what part of the country you are in, and how formal the wedding will be.  Years ago I attended my cousin’s wedding in Buffalo, NY, and no one bothered to tell me that the church ceremony was during the day, and the reception not until later that evening.  I was dressed in a daytime suit, with a hat, and felt very out of place at the reception where the guests were dressed in formal wear.  I have learned since then to grill the appropriate people for details.   Black dresses used to be frowned upon, but they are now fine – especially for an evening reception.  For males, khakis and a button down for a more informal wedding, and a coat and tie for a more formal one is appropriate. 

            If it is okay to wear white is a common question, and once again use your common sense.  I have two friends who said when they were getting married their mothers were the ones wanting to be the center of attention, and both mothers wore a white dress to the wedding and reception.  It sounded like the mothers looked ridiculous, and it made the brides very angry. 

            Lastly, wear something pretty and tasteful, and not too sexy or revealing, or something that will cause attention.  Remember the attention should be on the bride and groom, because the day belongs to them.

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