Napkin Placement

I’ve had a few comments asking about napkin placement when setting the table. Does it go on the right, left or center? Unlike the game, there are no dice to roll to tell us the answer. It ultimately depends on the formality of the meal, so allow me to guide you through it.

For the most formal eating occasions, the napkin is in the center, either on the plate or charger. Although the only silverware on the table during each course is what is to be used during said course, the table is fully set until the first course is served. At that time, everything is removed other than what is needed for that course. This is when having help comes in handy. Alas, most of us do not. From this stems what most Americans consider formal…the “working in” method, with the utensils to be used first generally on the outside. Even in this instance, I would recommend that you place the napkin on the plate. One extra benefit of this is it encourages people to immediately put their napkin on their lap, which is in accordance to etiquette.

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For less formal occasions (even those still involving china), you can place the flatware directly on top of the napkin or place the napkin directly to the left of the fork(s).

 

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For a typical place setting, you have one fork (two at most, as shown in photo), a knife and a spoon. I would recommend placing the napkin to the side of the fork(s), unless space is an issue. This biggest concern with placing the napkin under the fork(s) is the potential fumbling when people pick the fork(s) up and try to replace them.

If you are uncertain, err on the side of caution, and place the napkin on the plate. No one will notice that you don’t have servers; they’ll be too impressed with your napkin-placing skills. 😉

Please let me know any questions you have! Thank you for reading!

Addressing Envelopes

imageAddressing an envelope is more important than many people believe. For mass-letters, such as an invitation that is pre-printed, it indicates who is invited to said event. For more casual mailings, it indicates to whom the letter is mailed. While a letter is only signed to be from one person (though it is common and acceptable to sign all of your family members’ names), a letter is often address to numerous people. For example, a birthday party invitation (pre-printed) would indicate on the envelope everyone invited.

Even when addressing close family members, it is  a best practice to formally address the envelope – i.e. Mr., Mrs., etc. For example: Mr. and Mrs. James Evanson.

For addressing children living at home, their magical age for titles is 10. Boys until age 10 are titled as Master. Girls have no title until age 10, at which time they take the title of Miss.

Children do not require last names in the envelope, unless using titles. The exception is when the child’s last name is different from the parents’ last name.

Here is a big misconception (hopefully) cleared up. If a name is not on the envelope, they are no included. Therefore, if a wedding invitation is address to only the couple and not the children, only the couple is invited.

When addressing an envelope to a married couple who have the same name not using titles, the woman’s name actually comes first. There is an old adage of ‘never separate a man from his name.’ For example: Emily  and Garrett Glass. Alternatively with titles is would be Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Glass.

Knowing how to address an envelope can help ensure the intended recipients are included. Bringing back the art of the handwritten letter can also help promote this trick!

Please let me know any questions you may have! As always, thank you for reading!

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Good Old-Fashioned Dates

imageThis may be a shorter post, as I’m posting from my phone; however after as most of my friends are married or engaged (hence the wedding posts), I have been oblivious to all of the dating  faux pas taking place. I was sadly brought back into light after hearing a story of a girl’s terrible date. Now, I want to preface this post with a disclaimer: I’m an advocate for the modern woman. I have no desire to stay at home. I love working. However, I also am not offended by chivalry. If you are, this may not be the post for you.

Regardless of who invites whom on a date, the person being asked is the guest and should be treated as such. In simple terms, they should not pay. They’re being treated. Even married, it makes me feel so special when my husband purposefully asks me out and pays. There are a few other simple etiquette rules that for some reason have gone away. Let’s bring them back! 😉

First and foremost, there are very few reasons to be late for a date. If you are going to be late, even a text is better than them not knowing.

Don’t assume for your date. Let him or her place their own order for dinner (unless this is a ‘thing’ y’all have).

Open their door. It’s part of the feeling special feeling. If it’s a first date, definitely don’t honk to let them know you’ve arrived.

To the one being treated: not per etiquette, but my granny told me to order something I liked from the middle of the menu. I’m pretty sure this is just an old Southern tradition, but it shows your date you aren’t with them for money AND you don’t think they’re broke by ordering the cheapest thing. This one is up for debate, but I snagged the man of my dreams, so I’m sticking to it.

Finally, THANK the person for taking you out and THANK your date for coming with you. Leaves a good last impression. ☺️

Any other etiquette guidelines to improve dates?

Introductions

So many bits of information on etiquette I know, I learned from either Mrs. V, the family and consumer science teacher at my high school or my sorority. One hot topic, particularly in college was introductions. Contrary to popular belief, new members (no longer called pledges, apparently) are not hazed and made to feel lower than dirt – at least not in my sorority, though I would honestly assume not in any. You are taught to be a lady and to treat others with respect. Therefore, when a new member is being introduced at the house, it was very vital the introduction went correctly so they knew we valued them. Either that or in today’s sue-happy world, we found the risk wasn’t worth the reward. I’m kidding. Kind of.

So! To make sure you’re not making the dire mistake of essentially insulting someone (truly kidding here….it just can come off as uneducated, not actually insulting unless they really value themselves), I am here to help guide you. For starters, you speak to the “more important person” first. Here’s a general guideline: someone older than you or the person you’re introducing them to, a woman when meeting a man, a person with a title when meeting a person without a title, etc.

Now, the next part used to get a little tricky with varying language from “I’d like to introduce you to” or “I’d like to introduce to you,” and yes, the different was great. the “outsider” is introduced to those in the “circle,” regardless of their status. Status only comes in with the initial name use. However, to simplify things, you can always say “I’d like you to meet.” Although this is not completely interchangeable with the former introduction lines mentioned, it’s considered a safe route by many etiquette experts.

The most important bit to remember is: don’t let the fear of introducing keep you from doing so. We all could stand to make more friends.

That’s it for now! Please let me know your thoughts.