Real & Simple No. 4: Answers to Your Most Basic Etiquette Questions

Sep, 28, 2015


List No. 4 of my “most asked” etiquette questions will help you solve more of those pesky dilemmas about dining, communicating, and other puzzling social interactions.

• Does the napkin go in your lap the minute you take your seat? If there is no host, yes. If there is a host, wait until that person places his/her own napkin on his/her lap, which indicates the meal has started.

• Should you use an office postage machine when sending out private correspondence? Always use postage stamps when sending out private correspondence.

• Should you tell someone if her perfume is too strong? If someone is wearing too much, just tell him or her that the scent is pleasant but that they may not realize it’s overpowering.

• Is email always the best kind of business communication in this tech day and age? Handwritten notes, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings are all suitable ways of communicating, depending on the type of business.

• Are thank-you notes still acceptable? Thank-you notes are always appropriate. Send yours no more than twenty-four hours after the event if possible.

• Is it best to make the toast at the onset of a meal? The host may offer a welcome toast at the beginning of the meal as a sign to begin eating. Toasts by guests should be offered during dessert.

• If your guest arrives at dinner stating that he’s a vegetarian should you be accommodating? As a host, you should be prepared to serve a special plate or always serve a vegetarian side dish that can substitute for the main dish.

• If children are not invited to a wedding, should the invitation specify this? No. But if guests RSVP that they are bringing kids, call them to say that the ceremony is for adults only.

• Do you have to send a wedding gift if you don’t attend the wedding? There’s no need to send a gift if you do not attend the wedding.

• Is a man’s best accessory his briefcase? A man’s best accessory is his watch.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, an on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler’s Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on and

Follow Lisa Mirza Grotts on Twitter.[/author_info] [/author]

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