AML in Print

Christmas Celebrations and Etiquette Protocol

As district vice president and BFT's ongoing support and participation, enthusiasm in many events of San Marino County is to be congratulated.

RSVP etc.
Received a call from "Anita Count." Would you please remind everyone of the necessity of a RSVP for invitations during this holiday season". It seems she is frustrated with having to call invited guests for a response to a written invitation. The following may be preaching to the choir, but perhaps this is the right time for a refresher course in Manners 101.

Formal invitations should be done promptly, and should be hand written on personal stationery, preferably ecru or white. If the monogram is black, one should use black ink for balance and presentation.

Lisa Mirza Grotts, former director of protocol for the City and County of San Francisco, and the founder and director of the AML group, a San Francisco based etiquette and protocol consultant firm offered some updated social guidance.

"Etiquette is a set of rules that change as our culture evolves. Who would have thought that 20 years ago an e-mail would have been an accepted form of communication, or that fax machines would be practically obsolete?"

"Remember, good manners are not just about which fork to use or where to place your napkin. They begin from the reception of the invitation, to the RSVP, to the gracious party guest. Invitation etiquette is both the responsibility of the host and the guest. If a hostess has sent a written invitation, the guest should take the time to respond."

"With the last holiday season at our doorstep, here are some thoughts to responding promptly to party and other invitations. Not to the ones you can accept but to the ones that you need to regret.

For formal invitations, a phone call is usually acceptable and a phone number will be given. The White Houses uses the phone for most invites, so if it's good enough for the president of the United States, we can do it too!"

As a rule if thumb, invitations should be accepted within a week. If you don't know if the babysitter will be available or your husband's business trip will be postponed, call at least. Give your hostess the courtesy of a timely response. Likewise if you have accepted but at the last minute find yourself in a conflict, a call to your hostess followed by a note of apology or flowers is appropriate.

For the hostess, "It is best to stay away from 'regrets only' for the reason that people having a hard time responding will make up their mind at the last minute when you have not planned for them in the party preparation or included then in the caterers count. Better to be safe and know who will be attending. The exception would be a large cocktail party where the exact number of guests will not be critical."

For the guest "Send in those response cards or leave a voicemail by the invitation response date, don't have the hostess phone you and ask if you'll be attending."

Remember the golden rule, 'Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.'