Questions & Answers

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Ask Sandra a protocol/etiquette question. Use the comment form at the bottom of this page.

Please know that your questions & comments are greatly valued. All questions are answered as quickly as possible and as allowed by a busy schedule. Thank you in advance for your participation & interest in faithful living. May etiquette’s laws of kindness govern your life with Christ’s transforming power.

Ask Questions using the comment form at bottom of page.

13 Responses to Questions & Answers

  1. Jim O’Brien says:

    Gift protocol
    Hi: Don’t know if you take questions but – my friend was invited to a family member’s wedding. The invitation was for her and a guest, I am that guest.

    Am I expected to give a separate gift? Should I offer to share the expense of my friend’s gift?

    Any info would be helpful even the website of someone who might know.

    Jim O’Brien

    • sandra says:

      Shared Gifts – one present from two people

      Yes, I’m happy to offer an answer to your very valid question.
      First, let me ask, “Do you know the wedding couple?” If so, a small gift from you individually is a nice gesture of friendship but remember to tell your lady friend that you are doing this so there are no communication glitches. Generally, unless you are an engaged couple “mutual gifts” are not given.

      If you do not know the wedding couple, and because you are the guest’s guest, you need not send a gift ahead of time nor bring one to the wedding.

      The lady friend whom you escort to the wedding should pay for and send her gift (paradoxically from both of you) to the bride’s home at least a week before the wedding. Because you are her guest, her card should indicate that the gift is from both of you, but you are not obligated to pay anything towards the gift unless you want to do so.

      If this is the case, be kind to your budget and tell your friend early on the exact amount you can contribute towards the gift she selects and sends. She may refuse you considerate offer since a guest’s guest is under no obligation to buy presents for people he or she does not know. Thanks for your question—Isn’t it nice to know that etiquette has mapped out these areas for us, eliminated the guess work, and keeps us on the same page thereby reducing many bumps and misunderstandings in life. Thus protocol matters.

  2. Madeline Sullivan says:

    Hi! I am hoping you can help me with the following question of what is the protocol when you invite your child’s friend to come along to the movies? Who should pay? Recently my friend asked if my daughter Angela would go with her daughter Laura and husband to the movies. When Laura and her dad came I gave Angela $20 (9 yrs. old). Laura’s said the money was not necessary, but he took the $20 from Angela. I am baffled that he would not have given her change back. I know it is probably petty and I should just forget about it, but they are a wealthy family :o)

    • sandra says:

      First, dear PM friend, you are not being petty. You’ve been left in the dark with a legitimate question. The lack of Mr. Dad’s accountability means he’s in the dark too. Invitations involving money often create misunderstandings.
      Extending a simple invitation such as “going to the movies” requires good communication on the hosts part because, at times, a host plans on paying and other times, not.
      Whenever we invite anyone (especially a child) to an event that involves tickets, we, as the host, should clearly specify whether or not we intend to pay their way.
      Often (not always) the person making the invitation buys the ticket, but circumstances vary. There isn’t a set rule on who pays in these informal situations; so if payment details are not made clear when the invitation’s given, its good to ask. It was thoughtful of you to cover the bases and give Angela $20 to cover costs.
      Was it Laura’s mom who said the money wasn’t necessary? If so, it sounds like she was planning on treating Angela. Dad should not have taken the money…perhaps he didn’t realize this. (Laura’s mother should have informed her husband that Angela was their guest).
      In any event, Dad should have returned the change to Angela or you. If the $20 was fully spent, rather than leaving you wondering, dad should have let you know. Accountability matters no matter what the amount.
      Speaking of accountability, my sincere apologies for this delayed response…the switchover to the new Protocol Matters blog comes with its challenges and during the holidays with many family joys amid some serious health needs for my dear dad. What can I say except I’ve fallen behind. Thank you for your patience and caring about protocol matters.

  3. Ranae Barker says:

    Is it proper etiquette for mothers to give a baby shower or better for someone else to do

    • sandra says:

      My apologies for a delayed response. Protocol Matters did not receive some comments and questions until now. At any rate, your good question deserves an answer. When “showering” with gifts, mothers should not give a baby shower for their own children–or grandchildren. It properly best for close friends to give a shower.

  4. Karen says:

    Dear Sandra,
    I have many questions about teaching a class based on your book. I have no experience and really need some advice! Can you please email me so that I may obtain guidance, or a recommendation of another person with whom to speak? I would be most grateful to receive a response from you. It is planned for this fall. Thank you.

  5. Maureen Folan says:

    I need an answer My Grandaughter,(who lives out of town) graduated from College last summer. Family had a party in Sept. 2012 Everyone brought gifts. .She was married in May 2013 had a bridal shower that month. Relatives and friends brought gifts. Had a local wedding reception in July 2013
    guests brought gifts. She is now having a baby in November. I need to know what is proper as far as a baby shower??? I feel very uncomfortable asking many of these people back for a fourth celebration for her. She is out of town with her husband (his family lives near them) and needs baby clothes and furniture. Parties are usually held at my house. Do you have any ideas or alternatives? P.S. Many of the same family and friends have been invited to these celebrations…

  6. Pauline rodgers says:

    Dear Sandra,
    Can you tell me please if it is etiquette for the Drum core of a marching band to wear white gloves while playing indoors and not on parade.We do not wear our hats while playing in concert or recital mode.
    Thank you

  7. Sheila says:

    I have a unique situation. I have been invited to attend a first time music recital for two Granddaughters. Their Mother is my Daughter, however I gave her up for adoption many years ago. The girls do not consider me their Grandmother, and I am ok with this. I have never met my Daughter’s Mother or Father, or anyone in her family. They will most certainly be attending. I only see these girls 2 times a year and I see my birth daughter 6 times per year. I want to go, but I am very hesitant. Is it protocol to give the girls a “gift” for their accomplishment? What sort of gift is appropriate? I am a bit self conscious about meeting them, etc…Not sure what is appropriate to say or not to say.

    • sandra says:

      Hello Sheila
      Please forgive me if my reply to your question comes late…I just received your question. Some things have lagged behind on our PM blog due to circumstances beyond my control. I’m posting an answer just in case its helpful at this time.
      Your situation shows how complicated life can become. Your desire to give a gift in recognition of your granddaughters accomplishments certainly has good merit…very thoughtful! In my part of the country fresh flowers or a balloon “bouquet” are sometimes presented after the recital by relatives and friends. (The older the “performers” the longer stemmed the flowers).
      Since you are concerned about the circumstances and meeting people for this first time recital, opt for some mini roses or carnations tied with a bow, along with a card from you.The flowers are less attention getting than floating balloons. You might also ask the girls’ mothers (or music teacher) for a suggestion if you are still uncertain.
      As for meeting the girls family and any conversation, don’t feel pressured to say too much. Be sure to smile if introduced and take your cues from the relatives you meet. It’s always acceptable to informally say, “Hello” or “I’m pleased to meet you” (if you are). A simple comment about the enjoying girls performance provides neutral common ground. Your tone shows that you thoughtfully look to the future, and that is a positive thing.
      Thank you for sharing with PM…blessings on your endeavors in this regard. Sandra

  8. Sheryl C. says:

    I am looking for the proper protocol on post memorial service invites to luncheon. My mom is getting all this in place and is looking for what the proper etiquette is for this (she is 91). She and I have been checking out different restaurants to host a luncheon buffet for family and friends however she would like to keep the friends list to a minimum ie not the whole church family. In regards to family and the friends from her apartment complex we already have 30-40 factored in but there are several people from her church that she would also like to be apart of that list. We know that we would not be able to have the minister announce the post meal after the service and adding the comment descreetly in the bulletin would not be acceptable either, how do we handle this situation?

    • sandra says:

      The easiest way is for your mom’s close friend and/or family member(s), such as you, to invite in advance the specific people your mom would like to include by telling them that there is a private luncheon for a limited number of close family and personal friends after the service. If perchance you don’t have advance opportunity to invite a special person, its acceptable to discreetly invite them when you see them at funeral service reception. Even if they can’t join your mom, they will most likely appreciate the invitation. While a restaurant can usually accommodate an extra person or two its best to discuss this possibility in advance to they can plan accordingly.

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