I’m no Emily Post but I have picked up a few etiquette tips over the years. For starters, I grew up under the tutelage of a mother who went to an old-fashioned Southern finishing school. She stoked my interest in decorum and it stuck. I was chapter hostess in my sorority during undergrad. Over the years, I’ve jumped at every dinner seminar, workshop, wine tasting, etc. I could take in–so many that I eventually began facilitating and presenting on the topic of etiquette. It’s something I enjoy and find to be a little underrated in current times. Some of my friends jokingly refer to me as “Miss Manners” and I take no offense. 🙂
With the holiday season approaching, I think this is an opportune moment to launch a short series of blog posts dedicated to etiquette topics. I gauged y’all’s interest a few weeks ago on Instagram and this is something most of you want to learn more about it. So far, I plan to touch on dining and hosting in the coming weeks. In the spring, I’ll put something together about wedding guest etiquette. I’ve also gotten a couple of queries about workplace behavior, for which I might put on my HR hat and address. Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to know and I’ll either add another post to the lineup or incorporate it into one of those. I’ll also gather questions to answer each week via my Instagram story. You can also send them in via email if that’s easier. This week, I asked what general etiquette questions y’all have. Let’s get into them!
- How do I know what to wear to an event? The invite should tell you (example: Black-Tie Optional) but these days, an invite might just be a two-line text. If you don’t know, ask. 🙂 I always inquire about the attire for an event if it isn’t clear. Sometimes, it’s as simple as “What are you wearing?” or “What will the vibe be like?”
- Best tip for being a good host? It’s said that the whole point of etiquette is to put people at ease. Guests take their cues from their host so whatever habits and manners they exhibit will be reflected. My best tip is the be yourself and relax so that your guests can as well. More to come on this topic in a dedicated hosting post (in the meantime: a few entertaining tips)!
- How to make good conversation? This seems like common sense but try to listen without interrupting. People like to talk–especially about themselves. I love this TED Talk on how to have a better conversation.
- To bring a bottle or nah? Unless explicitly discouraged from doing so, it’s never wrong to bring a bottle of something (budget-friendly wine picks here and whiskey ideas here) but here’s when you definitely should:
- When you want to make a good impression
- When you want to thank your host
- When asked to do so
- Is RSVPing still a thing? Come on. Yes! If you’re really close to the host, I’m sure they’ll forgive you if you don’t but don’t be rude. Just respond.
- Do people still write thank you notes? And do I have to? In this day and age, you can get away without writing thank you notes outside of major events like weddings, showers, and housewarmings. Thank you texts and emails have become more and more acceptable in minor situations. The point is just to say thanks. 🙂 Full transparency: I’m not perfect. All of my housewarming thank you notes haven’t made it out…and it was last spring. *insert hiding monkey face emoji* More correspondence chatter in this post.
I hope y’all will pick up a useful thing or two from this series. If you don’t see your question here, don’t worry–I’ll be sure to address it later in the series. Feel free to email or DM me if you have a pressing query. 🙂 Thanks for reading!