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Thread: Etiquette Questions

  1. #51
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Nemeses;2816268;
    As long as I live, I'll never understand why the courtesy of writing thank you notes is falling by the wayside. And it's not just because I'm a southerner who grew up expecting to give and receive those courtesies, I think it should be expected in all countries and in all generations. And it doesn't even matter if the host/hostess you're sending the Thank You to 'gets it' or laughs at you, it's a question of fulfilling your own obligations to courtesy and proper manners.

    It's just unthinkable to not send a 'Thank You' within a day or two after being a guest at someone's home! I have several sets of small cards with my name engraved on them in various designs and colors, just waiting for me to add a personal thank you note inside them and pop them in their matching envelope to be sent off to the host/hostess. I consider it one of the finest old genteel traditions still around, and feel it and other forms of proper manners should still be taught in school.

    Once all of my cousins and me had reached the age where we could act on our own knowing better, my grandmother used to joke that she was going to make decisions on Christmas and birthday gift giving based on receiving thank you notes for previous gifts. If you didn't write her a thank you note, you wouldn't get a gift.

    After she passed away, I was given the job of assisting in organizing/auditing/accounting for her checkbook. In going through that process, we discovered that she had done exactly what she threatened. I had always assumed that all of her grandchildren received checks as gifts in the same amounts. It turns out my sister and me (the thank you note writers) were given larger gifts. Everyone got a gift, but they were not the same amount.

    Of course, I would assume my cousins had no idea that they were receiving less. But I'm guessing it made her feel better to know that good manners were being rewarded by her.

  2. #52
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    When my nephew married, they never sent thank you notes. Not for any of the shower gifts or wedding gifts. My mom made their wedding cake as their gift - it was huge and beautiful - but she didn't get a thank you note. I gave her a family cookbook filled with handwritten recipes from all generations of both sides of the family. It took me 6 months to put this together because I had to send out recipe pages all over the country and ask people I didn't even know to do contribute. No thank you note. Their excuse was that she was too busy with school - she was in her senior year as a nursing student. Now, I know when you are in nursing school you literally have no life, but in that case I figure if you can't handle the obligations that go along with something as important as a wedding, then either elope or wait until after graduation to get married. She didn't sent thank you notes for her graduation gifts either - needless to say they didn't get any gifts when their twins were born.

  3. #53
    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    You know, if writing personal thank you notes after a wedding is such an ordeal, the bride and groom can buy the pre-printed ones where all they have to do is sign it and address the envelope. You can get some cute and affordable ones at Target! You don't even have to spend the bucks to get them done at a printers! And now you can print your own at home with those kits made for your computer. No, it's not as personalized as writing a handwritten note--but at least it lets the guests know that their gift was received and appreciated. Some people are just lazy.

    And I would like to add that women bear the brunt of writing the thank you notes and sending holiday cards. I don't mind doing it...but I do know that if I was the type that doesn't send cards, my husband -- as much as he hates doing it -- would've been on it so that people were thanked in a timely manner. Honestly--people spend a lot of money on gifts. The least you can do is thank them for it.

    When one of my husband's friends invited us to their kid's birthday party, they also sent us a long list of all the things the kid wanted. They took the time to do that... but did they take the time to have the kid write a thank you note for receiving that gift? Nope.

  4. #54
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    For a while now, we've received photo cards of the bride & groom (or in one case, a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary) with the pre-printed thank you on them. You can get them done at Costco for around $30, I believe. I really like getting the picture along with the thank-you. I agree with Lois, the acknowledgement is the main thing.

    I don't send nor expect thank-you notes for kids' birthday parties, though. If the kids get something in the mail from a relative, I have them either call or create a thank-you note, but for kids that actually attend, I just make sure they thank the child and the parent when they leave the party. Mind you, I wouldn't dream of attaching a wish list to an invitation I would send out on behalf of one of my kids. Tacky.
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  5. #55
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    here in Minnesota in the winter most people have "no shoes in the house" rules or else our floors would be constantly dripping wet from snow being tracked in, ruining the wood floors or staining the carpets. Most people have a "shoe area" by their door, and guests ususally see that and leave their shoes there and continue into the house in their socks.
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  6. #56
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by AJane;2816524;
    Mind you, I wouldn't dream of attaching a wish list to an invitation I would send out on behalf of one of my kids. Tacky.
    I'm not partial to wish lists with respect to adult celebrations, either. A few years ago, a friend of mine in her early forties (a VP at an international company) married a man in his late forties (successful professional photographer). I rsvp'd for the ceremony and got to working on a painting of a temple in the country they married/honeymooned in, when I received a mass e-mail letting people know that they were combining households and didn't require anything, but they would be happy if we all contributed to what would appear to be a giant airline gift card type of deal so they could vacation at will. I'm sorry, but I really don't like being told what to give as a gift, particularly to a pair of successful middle-aged professionals. I politely informed her that I was sorry, but I didn't realize the date she had given for the wedding was actually the Labour Day weekend, and we had a prior commitment (don't worry - not a formal sit down dinner - didn't leave her with an extra meal). It is possible that I was rude to back out, but being told what to get them was honestly a bit of a final straw.
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  7. #57
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    Honestly, and you can think I'm an old sourpuss by admitting this, but if I get a wedding/shower/party invitation with any sort of "we want cash, not kitchen appliances" or "here's the five stores where we're registered" I am old-fashioned enough that I find something else to do that day. I was brought up that any sort of solicitation of gifts is tacky. What you get a couple for their wedding is supposed to be based on your relationship to the couple, period. Registries were originally intended so that you could get the couple pieces from their china or silver, not so they could sign up for a fancy breadmaker that they're planning to return for cash anyway. I can't believe the blatant fundraising that you see in wedding invitations you see these days! I actually don't blame the brides, I blame the wedding industry for convincing brides they need to put registry cards in the invitations, that sort of thing. Again, I know it's old-fashioned of me but I just can't see that as anything but tacky.

    Of course, if I know and love the couple it doesn't stop me from giving them a gift, but I don't give in to demands for cash, I'll give them something other than money - whereas, if they hadn't said anything I would have written them a check.

    Having said that, my nephew who went to college this year wrote me a thank-you note after Christmas. It made me smile to know that the first time he was away from home he didn't forget.
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  8. #58
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    I was just telling someone that the people with the most money often are the tackiest, greediest people.

    I've gotten a lot of shower and wedding invitations that have a card inserted saying where the couple is registered. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's nice to know. On the other, let ME be the one to ask the person throwing the shower or the maid of honor where they're registered. I tend to be more old fashioned on this one and follow the Emily Post rule that you don't tell your guests where to buy your gift.

    When I got married, I registered at a couple places and registered for everything from small kitchen things like ladles that cost about $5 to more expensive items that my family wanted to get for us. But there was a nice price range on there so that no one would feel "cheap" if they got us something that cost $30 instead of $200. I didn't tell my guests where I was registered--they asked the person who was throwing my bridal shower and my sister (my maid of honor) and most of them shopped from the registry. There were some who purchased things elsewhere and that was wonderful, too. Others gave us gift cards or cash. That was nice, too.

    I guess I'd be more likely to want to help a young couple out for whatever fund they wanted...but a middleaged couple that's already on their feet?

    On the flip side, what do you all do when the invitation specifically says NOT to bring a gift? I feel really weird not bringing a gift to a kid's party or a wedding. Is it OK to make a donation to their favorite charity on their behalf? Or to send flowers? I don't want to do the wrong thing, but I just feel awful not bringing a gift...

  9. #59
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Lois Lane;2816595;
    On the flip side, what do you all do when the invitation specifically says NOT to bring a gift? I feel really weird not bringing a gift to a kid's party or a wedding. Is it OK to make a donation to their favorite charity on their behalf? Or to send flowers? I don't want to do the wrong thing, but I just feel awful not bringing a gift...
    I've been married twice, and both times I had a no-gifts-please policy in place, and was quite pleased that nearly everyone respected my wishes. I think that if someone requests no gifts, they're much happier if you don't give a gift, and there is absolutely no reason to feel akward about it. In fact, I was not really happy about receiving the one gift we did get - a set of china that we accepted graciously, stuck in the closet for a year and then gave to Goodwill.
    All I wanted was a 45, a stinking 45 - the record or the gun. I'd even settle for the damn malt liquor. - Al Bundy.

  10. #60
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Re: Etiquette Questions

    This is all very interesting to me, because I can see there's some definite cultural differences with wedding and shower etiquette between what I'm used to and what so many others are. My husband's family is Ukrainian (as was my maternal grandmother), and many of the kids I grew up with are as well. It's standard to note "Presentation" on the wedding invitations, which basically means "money gift". (I've also been to Italian and French weddings with the same tradition.) "Presentation" is part of the ceremony, though it's held at the reception - the bride, groom, parents, and wedding party line up behind the head table, and everyone gets in line with their envelopes (cards and cash or cheques). Sometimes there's dancing at the same time, but they always play ethnic music and everyone goes up to the table, congratulates the couple, hugs and kisses everyone, and then receives a token gift. The gift is really small and they vary greatly - Italians favour these terrible mint candies in a silver holder, or I've gotten hand-painted fridge magnets, birds fashioned out of dough and varnished, shot glasses, picture frames...whatever your imagination can dream up.

    Gifts are usually given at showers, and it's very common to include where the bride is registered on the shower invite. The "hall shower" is also common (though maybe not as much as it used to be - it seemed to always be the old-country grandmas who were involved in organizing and cooking for these). You rent a hall and invite basically every woman the bride or the bride's mom or grandma ever spoke to. The wedding party and the moms/aunties/grannies prepare the food, and oftentimes a group gift is given by the wedding party or family members.

    And finally, in my home province, it's also standard to have a "wedding social" before the actual wedding. This is an actual fundraiser for the couple, organized by the wedding party. You rent a hall and get a liquor license, then sell tickets (around $8-$10 a person) for admission and liquor tickets for booze, then drink and dance the night away. Some ethnic groups, Italians especially, bring kids, but it's usually an adults-only party. All the profit goes to the couple. It's a ton of work for the wedding party, but they usually compensate by getting the most drunk.

    And yeah, this is all SOP for couples getting married, though it's getting more common for people to forgo the wedding and reception in favour of beach weddings in warmer climates. Either way, it costs everyone else a fortune.
    All my life, I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve.~ Thursday Next
    I don't want to "go with the flow". The flow just washes you down the drain. I want to fight the flow.- Henry Rollins
    All this spiritual talk is great and everything...but at the end of the day, there's nothing like a pair of skinny jeans. - Jillian Michaels

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