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.

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6 Responses to Questions & Answers

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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

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