Halloween Etiquette: Tanja Lynn’s Top Tips to Avoid a Sticky Situation posted in: Etiquette, Halloween, Holidays, Uncategorized

Ding Dong! Are you ready for the mob of monsters expected to ring your bell on Hallows Eve? On October 31st, kids from coast to coast will get all dressed up to…well walk in the dark, talk to strangers, and get free candy. But it’s all in good fun.

As an Etiquette Consultant, I see this annual night of costumed celebration and candy, as a perfect time to reinforce manners, civility and neighborly conduct with our families. As
a home host, the focus is a safe environment (and sweet treats, of course), and as a wrangler of the little ghouls and goblins, the primary role is to make sure that trick-or-treaters are safe and respectful.

Posh Petal with edit


Here are my top tips to everyone has a Happy Halloween:

  1. 1. Know the Code.
    1. Lights On – Open for Business! An “on” porch light, well-lit home, and lit decorations are all signals that the home is accepting trick-or-treaters.
    2. Lights Out – sorry, we’re closed. If the porch light is off, the outside is not lit or all lights are off, simply move along to the next home.
    3. When a participating home runs out of candy, turn off the lights. You’re now closed.
  1. 2.    Ring the doorbell or knock once. Homeowners are expecting you. If after 30 seconds to a minute no one comes to the door, move on. They may unable to come to the door at the moment.
  2. 3.    Light it up and clear it out.Make sure that your drive and walkway is well-lit and free of trip hazards. Secure and mark items such as such as: electrical cords or sprinkler heads that could trip costumed visitors.
  1. 4. Use your magic words. When someone comes to the door, say “Trick or Treat.” Follow-up with a “Thank You” and “Happy Halloween”. And if someone makes a comment or ask about your costume, be sure to politely respond.
  2. 5. To Be or Not To Be….Alone. If your child/children will be joining friends in another neighborhood to trick-or-treat, make sure that there is an adult chaperon. If your kids are old enough to trick-or-treat without a chaperone, have a talk with them about appropriate behavior – discussing safety and respect.
  1. 6. Be respectful of people’s property. Walk along lit paths. Don’t run. Do not discard of candy wrappers on anyone’s lawn.
  1. 7. Don’t be a greedy grabber. While one treat per visitor is customary, if someone invites you to take another – this is fine, but don’t grab five. If a bowl of candy has been left on the porch, help yourself to only one piece, or one treat bag.
  1. 8. Stay on the Path. Keep to streets, drives, walkways and paths. Don’t take short cuts through lawns or flowerbeds.  Not only could you damage the landscaping, you could hurt yourself.
  2. 9. Be respectful of the time. Most cities schedule times for trick-or-treating (check the local news stations, fire department or town/neighborhood’s facebook page). Abide by the set times, and as a general rule, don’t trick-or-treat 9PM.
  3. 10. Don’t Double-Dip.  Visit a house only once. No matter how delicious the goodies, if you have been there before, you should not go again.

Bonus Tips
A few other guidelines to commonly asked questions.

How old is too old to Trick-or-Treat?  There really is not an official cut-off age for Halloween. By natural evolution trick-or-treaters make their last round between the ages of 12 and 14 years old. However, there may be times when a child a few year beyond this age is taking the littles candy seeking. If they are in costume, give them candy too. They just want to celebrate the spirit of the holiday for one last time. Be a good sport and give to all in costume.

I don’t want to hand out candy, but don’t’ want to be labeled the neighborhood grouch. First of all, it isn’t a crime to refrain from participating in trick-or-treat festivities. Secondly, you have a few options:

  1. In the instance that you will be home, but simply prefer not to answer the door. I recommend turning off most interior lights, but be sure to leave the front walk and porch well lit. Leave a bowl of candy on a pedestal at the front door along with a note. Retreat to the family room or den for a quiet evening with a movie, book or glass of wine.
  2. Plan to have dinner out during this time. In this case, all lights should be out when you leave our home.
  3. Put your car in the garage, pull the blinds, and kill the lights to make your “no candy here” intentions clear.


Have you ever found yourself in a sticky situation yourself on Halloween? Sounds below with your comments.


On a sugar-high,

Tanja & Co. Events & Etiquette

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Celebrate World Kindness Day 2013! posted in: Etiquette, Events, Holidays, Society News

Wednesday, November 13th is World Kindness Day!

World Kindness Day offers an opportunity to highlight goodwill in our world. It’s a day that brings people from all walks of life together for a common goal – to show kindness to others.

Celebrate World Kindness Day 2013

While an excuse is never needed to be kind, World Kindness Day exists as a reminder encouraging us to be courteous to others, to lend someone a helping hand, to show compassion or do something to brighten someone’s day. At Tanja & Co, we’ve created an online party, and would love to have you join us in celebrating World Kindness Day this year! By joining together we can see how as individuals focusing on the common thread of  kindness which binds us as one people regardless of race, religion, gender, politics or zip code,  we can effect and propel positive change in the world around us.

Another wonderful thing about World Kindness Day is that it can be celebrated anywhere and in so many different ways. Participation doesn’t have to be costly (be it time or money) to mean more than you may ever know to the recipient. You can do something as simple as invite a single friend to join you for a family dinner, set out and return an elderly neighbors garbage cans, leave a family in your community an anonymous a gift card for a ‘Nite at the Movies’. For more ideas for inspiration keep checking ourCelebrate World Kindness Day event page, or turn back to our recent National Courtesy Month blog post to get you thinking, and we would love to hear your suggestions on ways to spread kindness on this day.


world kindess day celebration ideas

If you’re wondering how World Kindness Day got its official start? It was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement which is comprised of about 20 different organizations across the globe.

The day is observed in many countries, including the USA, Canada, Japan, the UK, Australia, The United Arab Emirates Italy and India to name a few. Schools are also beginning to formally observe and participate and some also work with awesome kindness outreach programs The Be Kind Project and Life Vest Inside here the USA. If you have interest for schools in your area to join the movement, contact us at support@classroom-connection.org for more information.

So,  join us to celebrate. Be sure to check back here and on our facebook event page often for additional ideas.

Oh, by the way, share this post with your friends to invite them to join the movement and spread kindness!


Signature Tanja & Co. Events




Would you like to use this article in your e-zine or on your blog?

Fantastic! Please do, as long as you include the following complete information along with the article: Tanja Lynn is The Party Maven. She is a designer, event planner, image consultant and founder of Tanja & Co., a boutique event planning and etiquette consulting event firm based in the Virginias that serves client worldwide.


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September is National Courtesy Month posted in: Etiquette

September is National Courtesy Month, offering the perfect opportunity to extend kindness and respect to our fellow man. In essence, courtesy is consideration. It’s about showing kindness and respect to others.

please be courtous

Today’s high-demand and hurried pace makes it all too easy for common courtesies to fall by the wayside. And our reality TV world which is often ruled by rude and obnoxious behavior in effort to ratchet up ratings doesn’t’ help at all. Unfortunately, blatant disrespect and ruthless conduct toward others seems not only to be tolerated, it is at times encouraged and even in some cases rewarded. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing or personally experiencing ill-mannered behavior you know how uncomfortable and vexing these situations can be (if you have never encountered such behavior, CALL ME – we must talk!) Rude encounters can leave us wondering if some people realize how they come across or if courtesy is becoming a lost art.

So how can you keep courtesy alive? As elementary as it is, the key to keeping courtesy alive in our culture is to live according to the Golden Rule, to treat others as you wish to be treated. This principle directs us to consider how it would feel to be on the receiving end of our words and actions.  It’s important to note that courtesy if unaffected by a person’s status in society, balance in their bank account, or whether or not they can do something beneficial for you – everyone is worthy and due common courtesy. We are to show kindness and respect for others in both our initiated conversation and actions as well as in our response – regardless of other’s good or poor manners.

receiving end of my communication

There are small things that we can do every day to show politeness and respect to our fellow man, and most won’t even require much effort. Here are my top tips for extending courtesy to others:

1. Be clear and considerate in your communication. In all things, think about being on the receiving end of your actions – or lack of as it may be. How would you feel if your call wasn’t returned or text wasn’t responded to, you received a curt and seemingly demanding email, you set aside your valuable time only for your companion to leaving you hanging and show an hour late? Communication is an exchange of information between two or more individuals – take care in how your communications could be perceived by others. Be sure to communicate in a clear and honest manner.

2. Hold the door for a stranger. Isn’t it nice when someone holds a door for you? A stranger takes the time to acknowledge and wait for you – how nice is that? This kind of thoughtfulness makes us feel good. We all walk through several doors every day. So, hold the door open for the person behind you – it takes hardly any effort at all, but may mean a lot to the person on the receiving end.

3. Say no to tit for tat. When someone is disrespectful or downright rude to you, don’t

allow it to throw you off course and stoop to their level. I’m not suggesting that you be a doormat. However, depending on the circumstance, you can either turn the other cheek, or respectfully express your thoughts and let the person know that you are wiling to engage further only if mutual consideration is shown.

4. Roadway Rituals. Being one who travels frequently, I am all too aware of the lack of common courtesy when on the road. Drivers often cut off other cars in traffic, fail to use turn signals, and my personal peeve, remain in the passing lane – refusing to let faster cars pass by them. This rudeness has a negative impact on other drivers, and can lead to ‘road rage’, or even worse – an accident. Politeness is a must for all drivers. Common courtesy will make life on the road better and safer for everyone.

5. Leave things better than when you found them. Don’t down the last cup of coffee and walk away as if you didn’t know the ewer was empty. Put on a new pot of brew so the next person doesn’t have to face the disappointment. If you see a piece wrapper or paper laying about, toss it in the trash, don’t just step over it on your way to the copier. If you are the first one home in the evening and the house is in disarray from rushed morning, tidy up, turn the lights down, put the music on and open a bottle of wine – your partner will surely appreciate the inviting environment.

Doing even a few of these things will not only have a positive impact on the people in your life or brighten the day of a stranger, but will boomerang the positivity back to you. When we stop thinking only about ourselves and consider the needs and desires of others – great things happen. We do for others and in turn, it often ends up doing more for us than for them.


This September, let’s celebrate National Courtesy Month by showing patience, kindness and respect to our fellow man. Or be a real renegade, and practice this 24/7 365!

courtesy is contagious

What ideas do you have on how to spread courtesy across our great land?



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Cupid’s Cues: Valentine’s Day Etiquette posted in: Etiquette, Events

Unsure how to handle Valentine’s Day dating and gift etiquette? Fear not, we’re here to help with advice for gift giving and celebrating this day of love in such a way that would make Cupid proud.

They Call it Puppy Love There is nothing wrong with giving someone a Valentine’s card or even a small gift of friendship on this day. The key is to keep the card light-hearted and the gift appropriate – nothing extravagant or too personal. A simple gesture of friendship shows you care, think candies a something small that they might find useful or fun in day to day life. This is not the day to confess your undying love. Your sentiment could be taken as creepy rather than caring.

We’ve Only Just Begun
When getting to know someone, it’s OK for one person  ask if the other would like catch a movie or try the new bistro in town. If the other person accepts, great! ”However, if the other person stalls, let them off the hook easily, and schedule a date for another day (could be as  simple as they already have plans). If they say “yes, what about the gift? It’s fine to give something small. For example, if you know your date has a ridiculous sweet tooth, a bag of their favorite candy would be appropriate, or if they love butterflies, a small crystal butterfly would be thoughtful. And remember, you shouldn’t give a gift with the expectation of receiving one in return. Be prepared for the possibility that the other person may not have a gift for you, and make sure you can handle that before offering up your gift.

Love is in the Air
If you’ve been together for a few months, it is reasonable to expect that you’re going to make plans for Valentine’s Day. Broach the subject lightly, you could say something like, “Valentine’s Day is in a couple of weeks, would you like to do something, or would you prefer to pretend the day doesn’t exist?” The person’s response will tell you all you need to know (and will take the temperature of your relationship). It may be a beloved holiday for your sweetheart, or just another day on the calendar….and should you have differing views, compromise out of respect for one another. If you feel like giving a gift, choose something meaningful but not extravagant. A nice idea would be to think on the path of experience. Something such as tickets to an event or concert – something you know they like and that you also enjoy together.

Steady Rockin’
A funny thing happens as the years go by in a relationship— people tend to take the emphasis off of holidays such as Valentine’s Day…not taking time out to remind that special someone just how special they are, but rather treating it just like any other day. However, it is my personal belief (and studies back it up) that this is where we can go wrong in our relationships. Not making an effort to do something special is a mistake. This is a perfect time to share words of love and affirmation – to remind that special someone just how much they mean to you. Take the opportunity to celebrate together. It doesn’t have to be a candlelit dinner or a grand gesture…though a romantic weekend getaway would be nice. Maybe it’s a hike to your favorite spot and a picnic (if you’re somewhere warm) or a quiet evening cozied up by the fire with champagne and chocolate truffles. Plan whatever suits you as a couple so long as the time is about enjoying each other’s company. The etiquette here is to remember that this is not the day to discuss your relationship and what isn’t working well.

When Considering Popping More Than Just Bubbly
Probably the biggest landmine of all? Proposals. When couples have been dating for awhile, the questions running through many a lovers mind is whether or not to get engaged on Valentine’s Day. While it is a popular time for ‘popping the question’ along with some bubbly, a word of caution – If you know you’re with ‘the one’ for you and are feeling the time is right, then by all means, make the day extra special. However, if there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not proposing is appropriate, choose another day to ask this question. And if you’ll be on the receiving end of the proposal, do not become too focused on the possibility…so much so that if it doesn’t happen, the evening is a disaster and you end up in the “where are we’ conversation. Just because the love of your life didn’t choose to get down on bended knee on this day, is not a reason to doubt your entire relationship and love. So be prepared for a wonderful time together regardless.

Above all, however you celebrate the day, do it with full consideration, respect, and honesty. This is what etiquette is all about.

Do you have a tip to add to the list, or a great and/or horror story to share about any of your own Valentine’s Day experiences? We’d love to hear – leave a comment here.


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Etiquette: In Times of Loss posted in: Etiquette, Uncategorized

Losing a loved one is a difficult experience. Times of death are painful, filled with sorrow, and it seems that there are no words to properly express our sympathy to a friend during these hard times.

Have you ever been uncomfortable when speaking with a friend who lost a loved one, feeling unsure of what to say? One of the reasons why people are so  uncomfortable is because we’re unsure of what to say or what to do. However, while death may be an extremely uncomfortable topic, the worst thing we can do is  ignore it when it occurs in the family of a friend or colleague. It is important to acknowledge the death, avoidance or doing nothing, is not good etiquette.

We’re here to help  you navigate such uncertain times. Read on for guidance on what to say or do during times when someone you care for loses a loved one.

Offering Condolences

Whether you call, send a card or flowers, or visit, the important thing is to make a gesture that lets the family know you’re thinking of them and share their sorrow. Because expressions of sympathy are too personal to follow a set form, be guided by the following tips:

Say what you truly feel. A sincere line expressing the genuine feeling you had for the deceased is all you need to say or write.
If you are so included, offer a special memory or share how their loved one has positively affected your life.
Avoid discussing the details of an illness or the manner of death.
Ask if there is something you can do to help, even suggesting something specific, such as “Please let me know if I can help prepare meals for the family, or provide childcare.”

Responding to the news

Be guided by the following tips when a friend shares the news of their loved one’s passing:

Refer to the deceased by name and acknowledge their life
While there are no hard rules in regards to the timing send flowers or make a contribution, it’s good to make this gesture to the bereaved as soon as possible–either to the house of worship or funeral home in time for the visitation or funeral or to the home of the bereaved. However, some close friends send flowers to the home over the course of a few months as a reminder of their love and concern.
When the notations “in lieu of flowers, contributions to…would be appreciated” appear in an obituary, it is appropriate to send both flowers and a charitable contribution. However, if you wish to send only one expression of sympathy, follow the family’s wishes and choose the contribution.
Be a good listener. Allow friends and family to talk about their loved one and their death – but on their terms. If they don’t want to talk about it, don’t pressure them. As a friend, our role is one of support with a focus on the survivor’s needs.
Keep in touch with the bereaved after the services; be there for them when they are ready, send cards from time to time (up to even six months after the deceased’s passing), remember birthdays and anniversaries of the death (these times may be especially hard for the families).

Mistakes to Avoid

Though well meaning we may be, be guided by the following tips to ensure that our condolences are truly comforting to our friend and well received.

Don’t dwell on the details of the illness or manner of death
Don’t take control of the situation. The grieving family needs control to help them work through their grief.
Don’t mention other people’s experiences. Let the bereaved focus on their loss.
Don’t tell a friend or their family that you know how they feel.
Don’t suggest the passing to be “for the best”, “a blessing in disguise”, or “what was meant to be”
Ladies, be mindful of our handbag, don’t carry a large bag on your shoulder that could knock into the bereaved when you give them a hug
Wear respectful attire: Conservative and understated dress is appropriate. Save bold color combinations, wild patterns, low-cut tops, and up to there hemlines for cocktail parties.
Don’t expect things to be “back to normal” in a certain time frame
If you’re very close to the family, don’t pressure them to clean out the deceased’s belongings. Everyone is different, and this is something that they need to do in their own time, when they are ready.

While the passing of a loved one is most difficult for the immediate family, these times are also troublesome to extended family, friends and acquaintances. I hope these tips will be helpful to you when faced with this hardship of life.


Have an etiquette question? Message us on our facebook page, or send an email, and Tanja will respond to the question in an upcoming post!

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Gift Ideas for Your Holiday Hostess! posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Etiquette, Great Products

In less than 3 weeks, many of us will be traveling to visit family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday.  No matter if you are traveling across the country or a mile down the road to celebrate Thanksgiving with a delicious meal, you will probably want to bring your host or hostess a gift to show your appreciation!

At Tanja & Co., we wanted to make it easy for you find the perfect hostess gift!  Below we have listed some of our favorite hostess gifts to give (they are also gifts we wouldn’t mind receiving!).

A Cheerful Knife for a Cheerful Host

This adorable knife would make such a cool hostess gift (or holiday gift) for the culinary enthusiasts in your life!  It can be used to quickly chop herbs, veggies, and chocolate!

Be Cheesey!

This quirky set of cheese buttons will serve to identify the source of the milk used to make the cheeses displayed on your cheese board. Each animal profile grip anchors into the cheese with three pointed prongs. Guests can then hold the head to keep the cheese block in place for serving. A set of three includes one of each: Cow, Goat and Sheep.

Sip with Style

We think these cocktail napkins make the perfect hostess gift!  We love this “drinks” cocktail napkin set that comes in a Kim Seybert gift box. The assorted napkins include: red wine, champagne, margarita, dirty martini, cosmopolitan, and mojito.

Tea for One

A simply charming single tea service. This chic three-piece stacking set is comprised of a flat bottom, 12 ounce tea pot that perches atop a cup with saucer. A lovely gift for anyone who is passionate about the art of the tea service.

Don’t forget the (Chocolate) Chips

How about bringing these Neiman Marcus chocolate coated potato crisps?  Your host will love these unique chocolates that are a tongue-tingling twist of sweet and savory tastes!  This is sure to be a popular choice this year!

Bring the champagne….candle!

Have you seen the Voluspa Candles?  We love them and know your host will too!  From the moment you illuminate one you will notice why these candles are made from the purest high grade ingredients. The fragrance comes through perfectly, lingering in the air even after the candle has been extinguished. And because of the high quality of the ingredients, the fragrances are pure, clean and refreshing. Once your host burns a Voluspa Candle, they may not want to burn anything else!

Carry Your Champagne In Style!

When traveling to Thanksgiving this year, you’ll be able to travel light yet still chill your bubbly in high-style!  We love this champagne bag!

Mani/Pedi Options

After your holiday get-together, your hostess will love the opportunity to treat herself to a mani/pedi!  We highly recommend OPI’s new James Bond collection and are big fans of the Chanel nail polishes!  Which are your favorites?

We’d love to know which of these you’d like to give (or receive) this holiday season!  Leave us a comment below!   And, if you need are hosting Thanksgiving this year, we’d love to help style your home for the holidays!  Contact us here: http://ow.ly/eFDsT

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National Compliment Day posted in: Etiquette, Society News, Uncategorized

Hi Friends! I’m on the road (well actually  in the air) on my way to an industry conference (stay tuned for news on the latest in the world of events). Do you know that today is National  Compliment Day?! Well, it is, which brings a few thoughts to my heart that I would like to share.

In general, most of us like to receive compliments – they make us feel encouraged, reassured, confident,  and joyful.  It ‘s all too easy to get caught up in ourselves–our schedule, our email, our facebook page, our text messages, etc . .,that we  lose sight of how easy and  meaningful it is to share the wonderful things we think of others and their works. I truly believe that giving sincere compliments about internal characteristics is a great way to strengthen our families, friendships, groups and our communities.

I ran across something one day which I found quite clever which I would like to share with you. Being that today is a national day of recognition, I feel it appropriate to ask you to join me (if you are so inclined)  in “Mission A-Compliment,” an “exercise” if you will, designed to spread a little love and give our families, friends and colleagues self-image a boost. It’s simple:

Step 1: Pause for a moment to take notice of what others are doing well and let them know how you feel.

I was taught to say what you mean and mean what you say….and whole-heartedly  believe this to be of great importance. I may give a lot of compliments, but I speak what I feel. If I don’t truthfully feel/think it – I won’t extend it. Be sincere (and don’t allow yourself t feel threatened by what you find to be complimentary in another). Which brings me to another subject that has been on my mind (this could be a whole post in itself…)  – how some women regard and treat other women. I so often see and have personally experienced women relating to other women as being in “competition” with them rather than befriending them and celebrating one another. Each of us are unique, with various gifts and qualities – why not learn and grow from the best in each person we know and lift up one another?

When someone excels at something, or boldly steps out to sing a solo, create art, start a business  or blog, etc. ,  genuine, kind compliments and positive feedback can mean the world to them. I read recently that when our society doesn’t place value on individual talents and accomplishments that members of the society begin to conform to what the mainstream and popular opinion says we “should” be rather than to continue to develop one’s true authentic self.

We have the power to make someone else’s day, and there are lots of people out there doing fabulous work.  I bet they’d like to feel appreciated, so I encourage you to take your thoughts a step further and share a kind word with the persons who’s work or traits you admire.  There is  power in complimenting on things that really matter, for example, “I appreciate how you are always so happy.”  or “You have such a great way of making others feel comfortable around you.”  or “You are so good at prioritizing your life.  I can see that you put your family at the top of your list. I admire you and aspire to live my life in the same way.” This kind of complimenting emphasizes that the point isn’t to “fit in” or “be like everyone else.”  The point is to emphasize your unique qualities.  Our friends need this.  Our family needs this. We need this. A simple email, a handwritten note, or thoughtful words spoken to someone directly in their eyes truly takes little effort or time, but the impact and ripple-effect is substantial.

Because I run a blog and social media pages for business, I also read a lot of other people’s pages, and I comment as often as possible. The more we comment and compliment others on –innovation, discipline, cheerfulness, inner strength, kindness, etc., the more we encourage others to develop those traits.

In closing I would love to know What kinds of compliments you think are the best to receive? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Now I’m off to give someone a compliment!

Wishing you all a lovely day!


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  • Nicole Matthews: You are beautiful, smart and a rock star business woman!! It's always great to compliment those that make your day brighter!! Great post!!
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Prime Time for Popping the Big Q posted in: Etiquette, Weddings

Do you know that engagement season is in full swing? The time from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day has been dubbed “Engagement Season” by those of us in the industry because of all of the proposals that take place during this time of the year. Rushprnews.com reports in recent estimates that 1/3 of all engagements for the entire year will take place over the holiday season (with December historically topping the charts as the most popular month to “put a ring on it”)…which amounts to nearly a million couples! Perhaps it’s the warmth of the season, the family gatherings, the time of year when we reflect on what and who is truly important to us in life, but for whatever reason ‘this is the season! ”

The time when a couple becomes engaged to be married is generally a happy time. However for some, it can also be a stressful time. With engagement often comes pressure which can be overwhelming resulting in stress, especially when one isn’t well versed in matters of the etiquette surrounding an engagement and wedding. There can be a lot of questions such as, “Who do we tell first?”, “How do we announce the news to the world?” Here are our top tips to get your engagement started on the right (though truly left) finger.

  1. Announcing the big news! Proper etiquette says the news should first be shared with the parents of the bride, and the groom’s parents following soon after. If  there is concern that this arrangement may cause one set of parents to feel slighted, you can always tell both sets of parents together over a nice dinner. Next, share the news with close family and friends. This should be done either in person or by phone, avoid facebook and twitter when sharing the news with those closest to you. After this has been done, it’s time for the rest of the world to know. This announcement can be made by placing a wedding announcement in the local newspaper’s society page. Now is also the appropriate time for the parents of the bride and groom to call each other to offer congratulations.
  2. When should I announce the engagement? Any time after parents and close family have been informed. One word of caution, never impose on someone else’s celebration – wedding, anniversary, graduation, birthday party, etc– to make your announcement. Do not even consider asking the host and guest of honor for permission. If a host decides on their own that this announcement would add to the festivities – then OK, but you must be invited to make your announcement. However, a word of warning, if you’re attending a celebration for someone else and the host encourages you share your good news (or offers to make the announcement for you), make sure this is alright with the guest(s) of honor…as they may not share the same sentiment as the host. It is always appropriate and OK to decline a host’s invitation to make your announcement. Simply assure the host that while you appreciate the offer, you prefer to wait.
  3. Once the engagement has been announced, do I have to go dive into the details of planning? No, but in all honesty this depends on the length of the engagement and the scope of the wedding day you envision. We highly recommend spending time enjoying the engagement period  – savoring this special and exciting time before jumping into the “stress” of wedding fever. This is an optimal time to consider bringing a professional planner on board to help you  plan and handle some of the many details involved in preparing for the big day.
  4. When should an engagement party take place? While there is no time frame that is set in stone, generally speaking the engagement party should be hosted soon after the proposal to celebrate the occasion.  Three weeks to three months from the date of the proposal is appropriate.
  5. Who hosts the engagement party? Though traditionally the parents of the bride, an engagement party can be hosted by a family member, a close friend or the even the couple themselves.  While an engagement celebration is a wonderful celebration, it is not mandatory.
  6. Who should be invited an engagement party? The guest list should be limited to close family and friends.  Carefully consider sending out of town invitations to family and friends (to avoid any pressure on people who may feel obligated to attend), especially if the engagement will be a short one.
  7. Can I invite some guests to the engagement party and then others to the wedding? Everyone on the engagement invitation list must also be included on the wedding guest list.
  8. Are gifts given at an engagement party? This is one wedding function where gifts are not expected.  Should you receive a gift, wait until your guests have left before opening the package.
  9. How big should the engagement party be? This would be a great time to introduce family members from both sides of the bride and groom as well as close friends.  Keep the gathering small and save the larger event for the wedding ceremony and reception.
  10. Take time out. One the planning has begun, remember to spend quality time together as a couple on a regular enjoying your favorite pastimes or interests, and not talking about the wedding.

Are any of you wishing for a ring during Engagement Season?

Best wishes for love, laughter and happily ever after!

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Holiday (or any day) Etiquette Reminders – Having a heart of gratitude and showing kindness to others posted in: Etiquette

As wonderful as the holidays are, it is often a time that can be hard on the heart and manners. Etiquette for this holiday is really very simple when remember this – It is all about thinking of the needs of others and having a heart of gratitude for the people and things that you have in your life. Take pause and consider being on the receiving end of your words and actions (or lack thereof).

Be thankful of the people who take time out to be in touch which says “you matter”. Return the kindness and care to those you share theirs with you.

Be grateful for any gifts that you receive regardless of the size or cost of the gift. Someone thought enough of you to buy/make that gift. It is important to receive the gift with the same amount of thought that went into the giving of the gift. Few things will offend someone as quickly as someone not being thankful for what they have received.

As a houseguest, it’s our responsibility to be good company. Be considerate, complimentary and present. While you’re in someone else’s home, consider yourself “unavailable” to others (if you’re expecting an important call, set your phone to vibrate and excuse yourself to take the call). Take part in whatever your host offers and be active in the conversation and activities with enthusiasm. Make yourself comfortable, but be respectful – everyone is different, so it’s wise to take extra care in the use and handling of another’s belongings, and remember all things in moderation – whether it’s the canapés or the cabernet, try not to overindulge. Respect your host’s trust: Don’t snoop in cabinets or closets, and should you have an accident or break something, let your host know and offer to pay for the repair or replacement. And be sure to thank your hosts for their hospitality.

Take a moment to look around you. Are there people that are less fortunate or lacking? This is a great opportunity to serve them and lift their spirits. Maybe you know a family that is struggling and you have the means to anonymously provide them with food, gifts, money, or whatever else their needs are during the holiday season to lighten their burden and spread some Christmas cheer.

Another part of holiday etiquette for Christmas is display kindness while shopping. For some, manners and etiquette get trampled underfoot with the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping.  We all have different schedules and demands on out time, but try to always use the golden rule and do unto others as you would have done unto you.nd share some Christmas spirit.

May your holidays be merry and bright!

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Etiquette: Top Ten Tips for Successfully Surviving Black Friday with Aplomb posted in: Etiquette

The holiday shopping season officially kicks off this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Many people like the excitement of the big crowds and the thrill of the deal. If you are one of these people, then Black Friday can be a fun experience.  However, unfortunately in the competitive shopping frenzy, it’s easy for some people to get carried away.

You may encounter rude or outright obnoxious shoppers in the quest for savings. While most of us, will not behave in such a way, we can still unwittingly become part of the problem rather than part of the solution if we allow our emotions take over in the heat of a moment and momentarily lose sight of our good sense and etiquette.

Here are my top ten tips for successfully surviving the day. And should you encounter a shark in the water, keep your composure, don a smile, remember that you willingly chose to participate in Black Friday, and say to yourself “I never did mind about the little things”.

Soldier up!

1. Make a list and check it twice. Prepare a gift list, so that you know exactly what you are looking for. Write down the people you’re shopping for and what you want to find for them (it’s also good to have alternate gift ideas on your list)

2. Make a Plan. Review your shopping list and write down all the stores you wish to visit. Consider your gift priorities in relation to store locations and traffic patterns then plan your route. If you will be shopping in a city you are not familiar with, get directions in advance. Check stores hours of operation online, in your local paper or give them a call a few days in advance so you can firm up your schedule.
3. Have reasonable expectations. This is not the day to expect sales staff to dote on you—they will be slammed. Certainly ask for help if you need it, but keep your questions short and sweet. If there are items o your list that you expect to need more involved associate assistance , do your research before the big day, or come back another time. It would be wise to shop for the specific items that you need Also because the masses will be shopping on this day, stores may sell out of items. Be understanding, and do not demand miracles from employees.

4. Remember to use your inside voice. A volume of traffic doesn’t mean that we need to turn up the volume of our voices in turn. While whatever you are doing is very important to you, it is rude to force others to hear it. Talking on the cell phone loudly in line, or even talking loudly to a friend who is standing next to you, is a sure way to get the people around you thinking that you have no manners. Of course, it goes without saying that you should watch your language, and never yell at an employee if you are upset about something. Ask to speak to the manager in a firm, quiet voice if you have a complaint. You will get far better and quicker service, and the employees will appreciate your restraint.


5. Don’t cut in lines. It’s simply rude.

6. Wait Patiently. Anticipate lines, and quite possibly long ones. Eye rolling, sighing and exclaiming that cashier’s are moving at a snail’s pace will not make lines move faster (but can make those around you uncomfortable). Be sure to pack plenty of patience and allow extra time for likely lines. If along the way should become irritable, please don’t push yourself to suffer through the rest of the day. Feel good about what you did accomplish and allow yourself to enjoy lunch with a friend or simply go home.

7. “Holding spaces” is a No-No. Please do not stand in line for others or allow friends and families to cut in line at the last minute. Everyone should be kind, take their own place in line when ready to check-out and wait their turn.

8. Bring your “A Game”. This is not your average shopping day with friends. This is shopping bootcamp! Prepare yourself and gear up. Eat breakfast, stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes (give your stilettos the day off) and carry a small cross-body bag with your essentials (cash, credit cards, place to stash your receipts, keys, etc.). Have purchases and cash or credit card ready when you reach the register, and remember to ask the cashier for a gift receipt.

9. Shop need, not greed. There are other people who are trying to afford Christmas for their families too, take only your fair share.

10. Be considerate. It’s going to be a day of large crowds, but try to be mindful not to stand right upon others, step on toes (literally or metaphorically speaking) or move in reverse without looking back first. Pushing and shoving is not appropriate and not worth saving$10. Also, it’s a long day for store employees, an extra effort to give a warm smile along with a “please” and “thank you” may mean more than you know.

I for one do not have the patience for such an event, so I’ll leave this one to the pros. May you brave soldier shoppers enjoy a fabulous day and score some serious deals!

I sincerely wish everyone a safe, peaceful, love-filled Happy Thanksgiving!


Photo credit: Soldier girls courtesy of Martijn Mulder

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