Etiquette Consulting Inc

Tools to help you avoid Social Faux Pas

In a world where image is everything, you must make your brand stand out in order to attain your goals.

Jules Hirst, Etiquette Expert

Who Needs A Wedding Planner — I Do!

Wedding Planner and Bride Every lit­tle girl dreams about their wed­ding day. They spend time plan­ning all the details and act­ing it out. It’s a fun time. How­ever, plan­ning the real thing isn’t always that fun. Most brides have to jug­gle the demands of their work and their rela­tion­ship at the same time as plan­ning the wed­ding. There are only so many hours in a day and the stress from all of this can be too much for some cou­ples. To help resolve this issue, why not hire a wed­ding plan­ner? A wed­ding plan­ner is an addi­tional cost that you prob­a­bly weren’t plan­ning on, but weigh the cost against the ben­e­fits described herein and see if it might be some­thing that could ben­e­fit you.

The wed­ding plan­ner can help you with the design of your wed­ding, the style of the wed­ding and, most impor­tantly, the bud­get for the wed­ding. The wed­ding plan­ner also has a net­work of venders who they have worked with in the past and con­sider reli­able. These ven­dors can help bring to life the style you want and work within your bud­get. They will also save you the time of search­ing all over town for reli­able ven­dors and you will have to sched­ule less meet­ings to pick your vendors.

Plan­ning a wed­ding involves a great deal of logis­tics. There are the events of the cer­e­mony. There are the events of the recep­tion. There are seat­ing charts. There are save the date cards and invi­ta­tions and know­ing when to mail all of these. There are wed­ding favors that need to be designed and ordered and picked up. There are also all of the con­tracts from your ven­dors and mak­ing sure they know the time­lines and you know when the money is due. It is the job of your wed­ding plan­ner to han­dle all of these details for you. The wed­ding plan­ner won’t make the deci­sions for you – that’s your job. How­ever, once you’ve made the deci­sion it is the wed­ding planner’s job to make sure it gets done and done correctly.

Finally, when fam­i­lies get together for the big day there are bound to be someDon's stress out on your wedding day issues that arise. Your wed­ding plan­ner gets to deal with these. The wed­ding plan­ner gets to be the “bad guy” and you get to enjoy your day.

Most wed­ding plan­ners have dif­fer­ent pack­ages that you can select from, includ­ing a ‘day of’ pack­age where they will only be avail­able for the rehearsal and wed­ding day events. If the cost of a full pack­age is pro­hib­i­tive to your bud­get, con­sider a ‘day of’ pack­age. It is your wed­ding day and you should be able to enjoy every minute of it with­out aggravation.

Wedding Gift Etiquette: When the gifts last longer than the marriage

Celebrity wed­dings rarely last and the lat­est attempt has come to an abrupt end. It is sad to say that Kim Kar­dashian has filed for divorce from her hus­band, Kris Humphries, after only 72 days of mar­riage. With a wed­ding that was reported to cost $10 mil­lion and had a two-night cable spe­cial, it has lead many peo­ple to won­der if this was a cha­rade for rat­ings and money. Whether it was or not, 72 days of mar­riage is not a long time and it leads to another ques­tion. What hap­pens to the wed­ding gifts?

Many guests will feel upset or cheated if the gifts are not returned because they spent their hard earned money to buy the gift and the wed­ding was short-lived. Com­mon eti­quette says that any wed­ding gifts should be returned if the wed­ding is called off prior to the cer­e­mony or if the mar­riage ends shortly there­after. There are a few sit­u­a­tions to deal with. All unused gifts should be returned. Any gifts that were mono­grammed or per­son­al­ized should not be returned because it is almost impos­si­ble for the giver to return them. Also, used gifts like bed­ding should not be returned. Com­mon eti­quette says in the case of a non­re­turn­able gift, it is proper to ask the giver if they would like the item back or offer to reim­burse them for the cost. With any gift that is returned, a note should be enclosed thank­ing the per­son for their gen­eros­ity but they regret­fully can­not keep it because the mar­riage did not work out.

Kim Kar­dashian has announced that she will not be return­ing the gifts because they were given out of love. How­ever, she has offered to make a $200k dona­tion to her favorite char­ity. So now she gets to keep the gifts and receives a tax write-off. Appar­ently celebrity wed­dings end bet­ter as well.

Is Black the new White in Wedding Gowns?

 After Vera Wang’s fall 2012 Bridal Show she will have us won­der­ing “is Black the new White ” in wed­ding gowns.  Here is what the New York Times said.….

AFTER a sea­son of high-profile wed­dings, begin­ning with Kate Middleton’s royal affair and cul­mi­nat­ing with Kim Kardashian’s blowout, could bridal design­ers be expe­ri­enc­ing white-dress fatigue?

For her fall 2012 bridal show this month, Vera Wang, who designed Ms. Kardashian’s wed­ding dress and those of count­less other famous brides, sent a flock of black wed­ding dresses down the run­way. “I found black to be fresh and tongue-in-cheek,” Ms. Wang said in a tele­phone inter­view. “With all the big wed­dings that hap­pened this year, it was fun to step out of the box.”

Ms. Wang, who has been in the bridal busi­ness for nearly 22 years, has dab­bled in pur­ple, pale green and dusky neu­trals in past bridal col­lec­tions, but never in a palette this outré. In an indus­try that is as tradition-bound as this one, and given Ms. Wang’s rep­u­ta­tion as a set­ter of trends — wed­ding attire as ready-to-wear; gowns with swirls of ruf­fles (see Chelsea Clin­ton) — the col­lec­tion caused quite a front-row stir.

“It was shock­ing and out­ra­geous, but it was also fab­u­lous,” said Mark Ingram, the owner of the Mark Ingram Bridal Ate­lier in Man­hat­tan. “It was bold, but it also made me pay atten­tion to the details all that more carefully.”

Ms. Wang bal­anced her inky palette with sheer lay­er­ing on bodices and skirts. She drew on lin­gerie motifs with exposed corsets, and added insets of frothy gray tulle. Even so, the looks were far from sweet and vir­ginal; they were almost gothic.

“I did take it to a witchy kind of place,” she admit­ted. “For me, it helped build a sense of mys­tery that I was hun­gry for. And it added this sen­su­al­ity and sex­u­al­ity, and a lit­tle bit of sever­ity, too.”

Ms. Wang, who has the safety net of a more tra­di­tional and acces­si­ble line for the David’s Bridal chain, designed the col­lec­tion while she was in Los Ange­les, far from her New York head­quar­ters. The dis­tance, she said, had freed up her per­spec­tive, allow­ing her to explore novel ways for black to read “wed­ding day.” Not that the noirish hue would be all that strange at her home base. (“No mat­ter what peo­ple say, black is very asso­ci­ated with New York,” she said.) But the col­lec­tion had per­sonal res­o­nance as well.

“I wore white on my wed­ding day,” Ms. Wang said. “I was very frus­trated, it being so tra­di­tional at the time, but the bridal indus­try wasn’t so evolved back then.”

Con­ven­tional eti­quette would still say that a bride (and no one else) should be in white at a wedding.

“The bride who chooses the black dress does not care about eti­quette,” said Jung Lee, a founder of ªte, an event-planning com­pany in Man­hat­tan. Ms. Lee advises brides on the intri­ca­cies of every­thing from invi­ta­tions to attire. “That’s not to say she doesn’t have man­ners,” she said, “but it’s cer­tainly not eti­quette. My advice is that she really think about it, and not just in the short term. Think how the pic­tures would look 10, 20 years from now. A bride in black will draw more atten­tion than one in white or ivory. You have to be pre­pared for that.”

In the celebrity-saturated con­text of the times, the black wed­ding dress may her­ald a new phe­nom­e­non: the wed­ding aisle as red car­pet. Ms. Wang’s darkly roman­tic wed­ding gowns would be equally at home at an impor­tant awards show. And for many brides, the wed­ding day (the expen­sive gown, makeup and acces­sories) is the clos­est thing to a red-carpet rit­ual. Is it that much of a stretch to say that the celebrity expe­ri­ence has become the modern-day fairy tale?

Source: The New York Times
Writ­ten By: Bee-Shyuan Chang

Wedding Etiquette: Diamonds and the Four C’s

Engagement RingWed­ding eti­quette says A bride-to-be does not need a ring to make her engage­ment offi­cial. Many cou­ples will go to the jew­eler together, this way the future groom can get an idea of what kind of ring his future bride would like.

If you will be mak­ing a trip to the jew­el­ers here are some things to keep in mind about Dia­monds and the Four C’s.

DIAMONDS are the emblems of love and engage­ment, and are the tra­di­tional gem­stones for engage­ment ring.
CARAT ~ Carat is the weight of a dia­mond.
CLARITY ~ Dia­monds are rated on the basis of blem­ishes that occur in nature, such as bub­bles, specks and inner cracks that are hard to see with the naked eye. The size and place­ment of the blem­ish deter­mines the clar­ity rat­ing. FL stands for flaw­less and is the high­est clar­ity rat­ing and the least desir­able rat­ing is imper­fect.
CUT ~ The way a dia­mond is cut deter­mines its bril­liance. It is the most impor­tant of the four C’s. This is what causes the stone to sparkle.
COLOR ~ If a dia­mond is clear and col­or­less it is rated a D, the high­est color rank­ing. The low­est is Z, yel­low. Some dia­monds nat­u­rally have some tint of color are in a spe­cial cat­e­gory called “fan­cies.”[1]

Don’t for­get to get a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. This is writ­ten proof of a dia­monds weight, grade and iden­ti­fy­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics from the Inter­na­tional Gemo­log­i­cal Insti­tute. You will need this to insure your ring.

 Jules Hirst is a sought after speaker and a rec­og­nized eti­quette coach.
She con­ducts lec­tures, work­shops, sem­i­nars and webi­na­rs in busi­ness, social & wed­ding
eti­quette. Jules co-author Power of Civil­ity where she shares strate­gies and
tools for build­ing an excep­tional pro­fes­sional image.
Jules can be reached at: or 310−425−3160
[1] Post, Peggy. Emily Post’s Wed­ding Eti­quette. New York: Harper Collins, 2001.

Gay Marriage ~ Wedding Etiquette

Here is an arti­cle from Sunday’s New York Times sent to us by Michele Ondre.

If you find an arti­cle that you think should be posted, send us a link to If we use your sub­mis­sion, we will send you a dig­i­tal copy of the book we co-authored, “The Power of Civil­ity.”

 Gifts for Every Occasion

Sev­eral years ago, I attended a les­bian friend’s com­mit­ment
cer­e­mony, and I gave the cou­ple a gift to mark the occa­sion. Now, she
and her part­ner are mar­ry­ing. Should I give them another gift?

Anony­mous, Vermont

Is it about the gift or about express­ing your hap­pi­ness for your friend,
now that she and her part­ner may marry? This isn’t a case of a
“second-time around” wed­ding, where one isn’t oblig­ated to give a gift,
espe­cially if a wed­ding gift was given for a first mar­riage. Even so, a
good friend often does give a gift out of affec­tion for a remar­ry­ing
friend and in honor of the occa­sion. To answer your ques­tion about your
friend’s com­ing wed­ding, I say, yes, do give a gift. It needn’t be
elab­o­rate or even expen­sive. And if they already have an estab­lished
house­hold, con­sider some­thing fun (tick­ets to an event), friv­o­lous
(Cham­pagne for after the wed­ding) or seri­ous (a dona­tion to a cause).
This is a very spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion for your friend, so join in the
spirit of the occasion.

Find­ing the Right Words

My part­ner and I plan to marry next spring, and we’re won­der­ing how
to word the invi­ta­tions. Do we use the same for­mat and lan­guage as for
straight couples?


Some cou­ples may wish to style their invi­ta­tion on the tried and true
tra­di­tional wed­ding invi­ta­tion, while oth­ers may take a dif­fer­ent tack.
There’s no rea­son you can’t be cre­ative with yours, as long as the
word­ing is respect­ful and reflec­tive of the occa­sion and con­veys the
infor­ma­tion a guest needs to know: who is doing the invit­ing, what is
the occa­sion, when and where will it take place, and how to respond.
Gay and les­bian cou­ples make many of the same choices as straight
cou­ples in word­ing their invi­ta­tions, with a few twists. Because there
are two brides or two bride­grooms, the “bride’s fam­ily first” con­ven­tion
doesn’t apply when list­ing the wed­ding hosts. The cou­ple, and their
par­ents if they are the hosts, will have to decide which names to list
first, with the sim­plest choices being alpha­bet­i­cal order or a coin
toss. The same is true if par­ents have divorced and per­haps remar­ried;
decide what makes the most sense in the sit­u­a­tion. Cre­ate the
invi­ta­tion, for­mal or infor­mal, that feels right to you and your part­ner
and informs your invi­tees of the nec­es­sary details.

A Tan­gled Wed­ding Web

I am hav­ing some trou­ble nav­i­gat­ing what to do about two guests I
have invited to my wed­ding.  They are both good friends whom I have
known for many years.  These two were roman­ti­cally involved for a while
after I left the city where we all lived.  I had always planned to
invite the woman to my wed­ding, as she is the closer friend. But
recently I have renewed my friend­ship with the man, who actu­ally doesn’t
know that I know he and my other friend were involved. They tried to
keep their rela­tion­ship a secret for rea­sons I won’t go into.  

Recently, I have been see­ing more of my male friend, and with­out
think­ing of my female friend, I ver­bally invited him to the wed­ding, and
then fol­lowed up with a save-the-date e-mail.  When I did this, I
wasn’t think­ing about their his­tory together and that she still takes
pains to avoid see­ing him. Now I real­ize that if I tell her I invited
him, she very likely won’t come to my wed­ding because see­ing him is so
hard for her. Should I unin­vite him?  I would feel awful doing this. But
she is the closer friend, and it’s really impor­tant to me that she
attend my wed­ding. She and I live in the same city where the wed­ding
will hap­pen, and she has been help­ing me plan; he would be trav­el­ing
from a city sev­eral hours away. I have thought about approach­ing her
with the prob­lem, but then she might insist on not com­ing so that, in
the process of uninvit­ing him, I don’t reveal to him that I know about
their past.  Please help!

Anony­mous, Pennsylvania

Sounds like you need a GPS to nav­i­gate this tricky tri­an­gle. The short
answer: Do not unin­vite your male friend. It would be hurt­ful to retract
the invi­ta­tion, and there is no pos­si­ble way to give him an expla­na­tion
with­out reveal­ing what was told to you in con­fi­dence by your female

But per­haps you are antic­i­pat­ing trou­ble where there might not be any.
Plenty of wed­dings have occurred against the back­drop of dicey
under­cur­rents of exes. Think about divorced par­ents who attend their
children’s wed­dings. Poten­tial mine­fields often lurk right below the
sur­face, but some­how — actu­ally on account of fore­sight — they get
through the big day. Since you are such good friends with both, it would
be nat­ural for you to invite both of them. So go ahead and do just
that. Give them each a heads up: “Matt, I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing
both you and Saman­tha at my wed­ding!” Encour­age your female friend to
attend, and assure her you will do what you can to ease the awk­ward
inter­ac­tions. For exam­ple, if you have assigned seat­ing at the
recep­tion, seat them far from each other at sep­a­rate tables, just as you
would a divorced couple.

With care­ful plan­ning and a dose of civil behav­ior among those involved,
I’m sure you can help these two friends avoid any uncom­fort­able moments
or soap-opera drama while being with you at your wed­ding. One would
hope that they will join you and rec­og­nize that this occa­sion isn’t
about them, but about you, their good friend. Surely, they will be able
to share your joy while putting their secret past behind them.

Learn­ing to Love a Heart­felt Gift

My son and his wife recently married. My sis­ter and her fam­ily sent
them a wed­ding gift of a clock that plays music. My sis­ter indi­cated
that it was a costly gift (one I know they could ill afford). When my
son received it, he called me to say that he and his wife did not care
for it at all. They can­not return it as it was pur­chased at a store out
of town. I know they will write a gra­cious thank-you note. I have
offered for my son to send it to me, and I would take care of the
return. Unfortunately, it was bought at a store that sells only
time­pieces, and I’m not sure if they will find any­thing else to pur­chase
at that establishment. Here is my ques­tion: Should I just return the
gift, get a store credit and not say any­thing to my sister? Should I
tact­fully explain to my sis­ter that my son and his wife had no use for
the gift and ask her if she would want her account credited? I don’t
want there to be any hard feelings. 

Anony­mous, Maryland

The gra­cious thank-you note for the gift is a great start and a must.
There’s always some­thing pos­i­tive to say about a gift, even one that
doesn’t suit the recip­i­ent. “Dear Aunt Sarah, Uncle Char­lie and Leah,
We’ve just opened your thought­ful gift. Every home needs a good clock,
but we never expected one so ele­gant or tune­ful. We both appre­ci­ate your
gen­eros­ity and the care you took to find some­thing spe­cial for us. Joe
joins me in send­ing our thanks. We’re glad you could join us at our
wed­ding. It meant so much to both of us to have our fam­i­lies with us.
Love, Jessica.”

O.K., now what to do with the clock? Your son and his new wife should
keep this unique gift, even though it’s not some­thing they wish to use.
While it is gen­er­ally totally O.K. to exchange gifts when they are
dupli­cates or wrong sizes, or when the giver says, “Please exchange it
if,” that’s not the case here. It isn’t about the tan­gi­ble item itself,
but all about the effort and, as it seems in this case, the sac­ri­fice
made to show affec­tion to the new­ly­weds. Exchang­ing the clock for
another isn’t worth the chance of caus­ing hurt feel­ings or upset­ting
fam­ily rela­tion­ships. The cou­ple can keep the clock in a closet, or in a
room that is infre­quently used. They could make sure it’s in view and
in full chime when Aunt Sarah and Uncle Char­lie visit.

The “Can I exchange it?” lit­mus test says: Keep the gift when it is
one-of-a-kind (an heir­loom or a unique clock like this one), when it is
hand­made or if an exchange would cause hurt feelings.

Writ­ten by: Peggy Post
New York Times 
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