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Our question is about holiday party invitations, entertaining and mask-wearing.
Today is the day we had planned to send out our holiday party invitations and order a Vermont party ham, but we have no idea what to do because the new Omicron variant of Covid is spreading like wild fires in the USA, and we need to know how to party in this time of the Omicron variant? The usual suspects had been advised that we were hoping to continue our ritual holiday party – having suspended it the year before. Sadly, the biggest problem is that some potential guests are not fully vaccinated, many of whom travel around a lot. We invite mostly people from the neighborhood and close friends, but some commute into the city.
Dr. Fauci and the WHO say to only have small gatherings, mandatory mask wearing for those not vaccinating and good ventilation, and distancing. Well good ventilation isn’t possible with a fire burning in the fireplace, the thermostat up to 69 degrees, and the social awkwardness of asking people to wear a mask. We’re all sick of wearing masks. We can’t ask people to show us their CDC vaccine status and their most recent Covid test result! Do we wing it and have faith that anyone sick or who has been exposed decides not to attend our holiday party? Or do we simply call the whole thing off for another December? Everybody wants to party, especially the kids.
–Linda, Greenwich, CT
My question is about restaurant dining etiquette. At a restaurant, is it considered rude to keep talking in front of the waiter when he brings the food or is it rude to interrupt the conversation?
- Garçon is the french word for boy and these days one would never ever address a server using boy. A waiter is usually an adult.
Didi, we are vegan and we are in the midst of planning our vegan wedding reception dinner menu. Understandably, not all of the guests are vegan–especially those guests of our parents’ generation. We’re not redneck hippies about food, but we want to adhere to our principles about food. Do you have any recommendations for us? We’re looking for a festive menu for a seated wedding reception dinner that will appeal to 150 guests. Or least be palatable to most. Do you have any suggests?
–C & W, Boston, MA
(Guest's name in a large handsome font.)
macomber turnip and apple soup
roasted heirloom baby carrots, hazelnut pistou
grilled marinated cauliflower steak
shoestring onions, vegan demi-glace
sweet corn polenta cake
baby kale, caramelized onion, piquillo pepper
shallots, lemon, herbs
orecchiette with vegetarian meatballs
caramelized onion, arugula
local green salad with herbs
romanesco cauliflower, endive, fennel and turnip
saffron poppy seed dressing
sweets and dancing, dancing, dancing
Date of reception
CHARLOTTE & WILLIAMC & W, please, do let us know--if you do use any of this above menu--how it worked out so that we can be helpful to other vegan hosts. Have fan at your fantastic wedding!
Vegan wedding care and sweets.
Photo credit: VG Patisserie, Paris, France
Are interruptions rude? In a real life conversation can’t an interruption sometimes enliven the discussion? At a recent dinner party of eight friends around the table the conversation at one point got rowdy in a jolly way, with everyone putting in their two cents on a particular topic. It was all in good fun and didn’t get out of hand. No one was mean or critical.
- Isn’t it far better–and more fun–to have real life lively conversation rather than too many dreary dead silences?
On a professional level, when our company team is problem solving on a Zoom and colleagues start interrupting, we often find that the conversation becomes more constructive and productive. Really, are all interruptions rude?
–Diana, Newport, RI
- Social anxiety, on the other hand, manifests in someone who is speaking way to much and way to fast. Like a nervous tic it can be annoying for all. They need to slow down.
- Zoom conversational hijackers are rude.
- Add to the what the speaker has to say, do not negate the speaker.
- The reality is that some people are just simply oblivious to other people.
- You can say, "Please, don't interrupt me." If the rude interruptions continue, that's not cooperation,
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First of all Bonjour! A conversation never starts in France without saying “Bonjour” first. A good European Manners Tip. I have a question for you!
What do you do when an ‘almost’ friend has painted a portrait of your dog and it is the worst painting you have ever seen. To boot, I have a collection of professional painters that have painted my Violette and they are hung in my long entrance hallway. I can’t hang this one. Honestly, not to hurt her feelings what do I do? I’m attaching a photo of my favorite painting of Violette to date.
–Cynthia, Uzès, France
- Be sure to first tell your new artist friend exactly what you like about her painting of Violette, before detailing exactly what you don't like.
- Even if that's a hard conversation to initiate.
I have two questions about my daughter’s upcoming wedding: escorting her up the aisle and my toast. My former wife and I have come to an agreement that both parents escort the bride up the aisle at our daughter’s backyard wedding next weekend. My former wife at first insisted that just she should escort our daughter up the aisle. We reached a compromise and we’re both walking our daughter up the aisle. My questions are: On which side do we each take, and at the altar where do we, her parents, stand during the ceremony? It’s a backyard wedding. They were supposed to be married in a church followed by a large reception at the height of Covid-19.
Instead of paying for a big wedding, I helped my daughter and my future son-in-law finance a house in New Hampshire (where their wedding ceremony and reception are taking place) with the money I would have spent on their large pre-Covid wedding. My toast has been relegated to the rehearsal dinner the night before, because the groom’s father “isn’t up to it,” and my wife is giving what should be my toast at the wedding reception. I prepared a fifteen minute toast, and was told it was too long. Then I pared it down to eight minutes. Please advise.
–A Traditional Dad, Newport, RI
- At the altar you would stand on your daughter's right side. Your daughter the bride stands to the left facing the officiant at her father's right side.
- Welcome the guests to the wedding and specifically to the rehearsal dinner; if you are not also paying for rehearsal dinner, thank the groom's family by name(s) for hosting the rehearsal dinner.
- Introduce yourself with, perhaps, a short story about when you first met the groom.
- Thank the guests for coming to the wedding couple's happy celebration.
- Make it clear that you're proud of your daughter for making such a wise choice.
- Tell your daughter you love them both.
- Toast the wedding couple to have a brilliant loving future.
- Time your toast to last three to five minutes.
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I have an etiquette question about giving a cash wedding gift. My nephew was married last weekend. My family of five adults–me, my husband, and three children, all in their twenties, attended. So I thought $200 per person would be the $1,000 wedding gift. Is that correct? I typically ask my sister these questions, but she’s the mother of my nephew and I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable.
Last question, our daughter who lives and works in Paris is attending a wedding in the south of France and she is a bridesmaid. Do you know what the protocol is for a wedding gift in France? Does she give cash to a wealthy couple? Sorry to pester you with these questions. Any advice would be appreciated.
–Deb, Portsmouth, RI
–Didi, Newport, RI
The protocol on Memorial Day for raising the American flag is that it is flown at half-staff only until noon. But when raising the flag to half-staff, first raise it to the top of the flag staff for sixty second before lowering it to half way down the flag staff.
- At twelve o'clock raise the flag up to the top.
I am from Florida and have been invited to a black tie optional wedding in Newport. The ceremony is at 1:30 pm and the reception is at 5:30 pm at The Bohlin. Am I supposed to wear 2 different dresses?
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–Jennie, Brookline, MA
- For instance, in Belgium, "Two sets of four people make a 'corona bubble' who can visit each other's homes. No one else is allowed into the domestic social circle." Eventually that first bubbles enlarges as trust and caution become the normal.
- Social bubbles allow some social contact, while continuing to limit the risk of further Covid-19 transmissions.
- The goal is to get to level 3 where your household bubble can include people such as close family members, care-givers or someone who needs care.
- Beware that if the number of deaths does not continue to drop or the average number of people infected for every Covid-19 case increases, people will then not be allowed to use the bubble scheme.
- Two sets of four people make a "corona bubble," who can visit each others houses but there are no hugs or other physical exchange like kissing.
- In Northern Island now six people from different households can meet outdoors as long as social distancing is practiced.
- Your social bubble is the people you live with. With extreme caution you can manage adding to your bubble.
- Anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms, or who is at a higher risk, should not be in a bubble, and needs to self-isolate.
- When do you go out? For what reason?
- Do you where a mask?
- Do you keep 6 feet away from others?
- When are you communicating with family?
- What happens if someone in the bubble has symptoms of Covid-19?
- What questions do you ask others?
- What is the process for entering a bubble?
- How would we set up protocol and etiquette?
- What would be the protocol and etiquette?
- There is the possibility of extending the bubble.
- The bubble doesn't have to be forever.
- The bubble gives everyone something to look forward to.
–Althea and Ben, Washington, DC
- Depending upon the location regulations, a mini-mony, a small ceremony, consists of a total of a dozen participants, and has the possibility of a follow up celebration or sequel wedding at another date.
- If you already have a wedding website be sure to update it so that you won't have to be answering the same questions over and over from guests. When your wedding is a go, add local hygiene guidelines; suggest they time washing their hands to the chorus of "Marry You" by Bruno Mars.
- Remember many churches and wedding venue sites may have to integrate tighter restrictions on the number of people in the church or the banquet hall after the restrictions are lifted. Seating may still be limited.
- Keep in touch with your wedding planner or venue.
- Keep up to date on local government developments: state and town.
- If your wedding insurance policy was taken out before the lockdown and venue closures were put in place, check to see if your policy covers cancellation or rearrangement due to issues relating to travel bans, flight cancellations or government acts, including bans on public or social gatherings or any kind of travel restrictions.
- Call your wedding insurer to ask about the terms and conditions.
- If you paid any of the downpayments with a credit card, you could be covered, so check that.
- Most travel insurance policies cover trips cancelled due to government restrictions, be sure to check your individual plan.
- Check on your wedding dress as many are made in China and you want to be sure you have time to get it fitted properly whether your wedding is huge or mini. If there is a problem, you can buy wedding dresses on line to try on at home.
- Hygiene guidelines for your wedding should include asking the venue to have antibacterial soap and disposable paper towels in the restrooms, additionally ask that staff spritz every guest with high quality alcohol-based sanitizers and provide for everyone to wear a mask, except the bride and groom.
- Chic gift bags could include additional masks and hand sanitizers.
Whatever you decide to do,
working it out together
will deepen your love for each other.
- I am (Sharon and I are) deeply sorry for your tragic loss. Bob was my best guy friend, I couldn't have had a better friend.
- It is with a heavy heart that I (George and I) write to send you my (our) deepest sympathy. Charlotte was the kindest, dearest friend and neighbor from that first day when she arrived after we moved in twenty years ago with blueberry muffins, to only last week when she picked up our curbside grocery order.
- A few warm words to say how sorry I am (we are) for your great loss. Charles had to be one of the wittiest raconteurs I've ever met, always with a friendly smile and an amusing anecdote to start the conversation going.
- Our whole family is mourning your great loss. It is our great loss, too. Thanksgiving won't be the same without Aunt Susanne, always curious to learn what the kids and their own families were up to and joyfully praising their many accomplishments.
- One of my favorite stories about Harry is the time he found a woman's wallet in the ATM entrance to his bank, where he had gone to take out money for the long holiday weekend. It was late on a Friday afternoon after the bank had closed. He ran out looking left and right, but he didn't see anyone in sight. Leaving the wallet where he found it wouldn't have been safe, so Harry took it home and found her name and address on her driver's license, called 411 and was connected to her house phone. The woman was grateful that she had answered the phone because she had been on her way out the door to do an errand without realizing that she didn't have her wallet. Long story short, he left the wallet in a manilla envelope in his porch mailbox, she picked it up while he was out, and two weeks later he received a hand written thank-you note and a gift certificate to her restaurant. They met, they dated, they fell in love.
- Alison was an amazing person, full of surprises, and truly one of the most capable, unassuming people I've ever known. Once I took her out on a sailfish, I was at the helm because she had never been on a sailfish and said that she didn't know how to sail. We were curious about a particular cove and our goal was to find it. Once there we had a swim before starting back to the dock in the harbor, but just as we were entering the bay a fierce gust of wind came out of the northeast and swept us out to sea. The sky suddenly became dark as black clouds headed our way and I had a really bad cramp and couldn't move, Alison without saying a word took the helm and the jib and brought us safely back to the dock.
- End with words of praise for the deceased. "As a working mother I could have never finished my thesis and kept my job, if it hadn't been for Susanne's support, she was a real friend pitching in when my son was sick and I couldn't miss another day at work, and helping me through postpartum depression and rough patches in my marriage. Susanne was always there for me, never judgmental, though always helping me question my values. I don't know how I could have gotten through the early years of parenting without a true friend, as true as Susanne.
- Conclude by writing something such as this: Gordon joins me in saying we are (deeply) sorry for you and your family, and hope that you will receive the comfort and strength to bear this tremendous loss.
- Ideally, a letter of condolence should be hand-written without delay, "to bolster the surveyor for the funeral," which gives a sense of convivial urgency. If you missed the boat, receiving words of sympathy after the funeral are also greatly appreciated. Not that there are funerals these days, but there may be memorial services and burials eventually. Sometimes, I think, those later letters are the hardest to write because they express the deepest sentiments. The writer has taken a lot of time to mourn.
- A widow or widower would be happy to read a praise of their happy marriage; that you thought their marriage was perfect in it's happiness. An unforgettable happiness that would survive always in your memory, and be an inspiration to you and all who knew the couple.
- Be ware: If you're not totally sure of the recipient's religious belief, steer clear of expressing your faith. The condolence letter is not about the writer. The surveyor could become angry and annoyed by any hint of proselytizing.
- In the event that the condolence letter is to a member of the your staff or to the staffer's family, the letter can be printed out on office stationery.
- Signing off "With dearest love," to someone you you've known for a long time or "Alex joins me in sending our love (to you and your family)," are sincere; or more formally, "Kindest regards," or simply, "Sincerely."
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What is the etiquette for social distancing outdoors in terms of greeting and meeting during COVID-19?
How can we make the experience of going out to exercise less anxious and more friendly without seeming snooty or overly friendly. Everyone I am about to encounter either walks out into the street to avoid me or ignores me by looking in the opposite direction or at his feet.
–Jason, Providence, RI
- Give right of way. The person on the right has the right of way. It's right to give right of way to the person on the right. When passing on a sidewalk or steps, the person closest to the street gives the person closest to the building or railing the right of way--even if she or he has to move out onto the street.
- Greet even strangers with one word: Hi, Hello, Hiya! We're all in this together, whether we like it or not; their life right now probably isn't any easier than yours whether they're pushing a stroller, carrying groceries, or skateboarding.
- Patience has never been more of a virtue.Always use please and thank you. To anyone and everyone who assists you in any way -- from holding the subway door open to bringing out your curbside grocery order to you.
- Smile to ease their pain and yours -- even if they can't see your smile through your mask.
My mask protects you;
your mask protects me.
Our son is home from college where, of course, he was used to being around people his own age all the time, so how do we get him to understand socializing and social distancing etiquette? Yesterday he went over to a friend’s house while he was out walking the dog. My husband pretty much blew a gasket when he found out. Were they passing joints? Were there girls there? Any kissing? Vaping? How many of their other friends were there? Why doesn’t he get it that he can’t just go to someone’s house and hang out? We understand that it was the house of someone he grew up with and they’re both home indefinitely from their respective colleges, but come on – we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic!
We’re so annoyed we can’t think straight. Can you, please, send guidelines for our quite brilliant college student who appears to live in la-la land, or as the kids call it, it’s a corona-cation.
–Kathleen, Middletown, RI
- He minimizes the number of people he interacts with physically.
- He sticks with one friend who limits their other social contacts, too.
- If that friend feels sick, he stays away.
- As long as his friend is well, social contact by going for a bike ride or hike is fine, but they should keep six feet apart.
- That means NOT sharing finger food, liquids, bodily fluids, or joints, cigarettes, e-cigs or vaps.
- The significance of adult and children's temperatures differ.
- Plus, we all have our own normal temperature baseline, based on weight, gender and activity level; it's helpful to find out what everyone's is, so it's precisely monitored.
- Normal can be anywhere between 97.7-99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fever is likely to be between 99.5 or 100.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Hyperpyrexia would be dangerous at 104.0 or 105.8 degree Fahrenheit.
- Baseline temperatures vary based on age, sex, physical activity and health, and whether it is taken in the mouth or armpit, which can be lower.
- To find a person's normal, take the temperature every day at the same time for at least three days, sticking to either mouth or armpit.
- Know the facts, but don't overdo it, too much information can aggravate stress.
- Put the coronavirus pandemic in perspective.
- Refrain from blaming and shaming.
- Ask for help, now is the time to turn toward one another.
- Encourage him to partake in social distancing in a positive way by calling his friends to actually talk about what's happening in the world around them.
- Discuss the difference between social and physical distancing, if, in fact, there is a difference. What does he think?
- Advice to avoid the coronavirus through social distancing can increase the risk of physical and emotional harm from inadequate social contact.
- But without physical distancing the virus spreads like falling dominos.
- Prepare him for when, not if, the coronavirus strikes.
- He should know where to find your estate will and your living will; in the event he has to make choices for you.
- Having a down-to-earth conversation with your son can be both heartrending and heartwarming.
- Honoring your wishes when you are unable to do so is one of the most loving and bravest things an adult child can do for a parent..
- Scientist call our longing for human touch "skin hunger."
- Physical touch triggers the orbit of frontal cortex in the brain, according to Daniel Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkley.
- Regular touch reduces levels of stress hormones, says Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
- Hugging stimulates the thymus gland regulating the body's white blood cell production, which helps fight infection, according to research at the University of North Carolina.
- Women who are frequently hugged have lower blood pressure, than those who are not according to research at UNC.
- People who received regular hugs had fewer flu symptoms than participants who were hugged less frequently in a study at Carnegie Mellon University.
Accepting A Compliment