In an era of constantly updating technology and online communication, it’s easy to start thinking that the notion of etiquette is irrelevant. But the truth is, it’s more necessary than ever. One hundred more ways to communicate means there are at least one hundred more ways to commit some kind of social faux pas. That’s why this month, we’re shining our spotlight on Lizzie Post, etiquette expert and great-great-grand daughter of the etiquette queen herself, Emily Post. Read on to see Lizzie’s advice for everything from dinner parties, to Mother’s Day to modern weddings, as well a few of her top Pottery Barn picks!
Q: Do you recommend bringing a gift to a dinner party?
A: Yes, especially if it’s a new friend, your first time visiting this person’s home (or new home). If these are friends you socialize with often then it’s not necessary, but always welcome!
Q: As the hostess, are you expected to send “thank you” notes in return for gifts?
A: No, because you receive these gifts and open them in front of the giver, it’s fine to thank him or her in person. If you absolutely love the gift, a note later on is always welcome!
Q: What are your favorite last-minute gift ideas?
A: Flowers in a vase are always my go-to if I’m in a pinch. The other is a food item I know the hostess loves, even if it’s silly like Oreos. I’ll dress them up and write “Erin Only” or “In Case of Emergency” or some other silly thing on them to personalize the gift.
Q: Are gift cards acceptable as last-minute gifts?
A: I’d advise not. I think the hostess gift is one time where you should have something other than “cash” as a gift. It could seem weird…weirder than Oreos.
Q: What’s your best advice for making sure Mom’s gifts are special and well received?
A: Try to think about what your mother really loves. My mom adores flowers and she can never have enough vases and bowls to put them in. So, even if I’ve done it seven years in a row, I’ll still get her fresh, gorgeous flowers from her favorite shop and put them in a new vase or bowl for her. She loves it. It doesn’t have to be original or incredible to me. It just has to make her happy
Q: Is it okay to stray away from a couple’s wedding gift registry?
A: Absolutely! You should always pick something that’s within your budget and that you feel comfortable and confident giving to the couple.
Q: What do you recommend if the bride and groom have specifically asked for no gifts?
A: Don’t get them a gift. If they’ve said “No gifts”, it’s ok to stick to that. You might get a beautiful card and write a thoughtful message on it. Not one with words? Copy a love poem or a paragraph from a classic novel that has to do with love and life.
Q: What should someone do if gift items on the registry are over their budget?
A: Then stray off the registry and get something that is within your budget. (Truthfully, Pottery Barn frames that you can get engraved are my go-to.)
Currently coveting… Sunshine…It’s been a long winter here in the Northeast.
My go-to gift for a wedding is… Pottery Barn picture frames that can be engraved. I usually go with “Oh Happy Day” for an inscription.
Favorite vacation spot… Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado Springs, CO. Ahhhhh-MAZING!
I’m best known for… Having the best dog ever and bringing him with me EVERYWHERE (literally: to work everyday, to pick-up soccer games, sometimes he even comes bar hopping in the summer).
Most prized possession… My grandfather’s belt buckle and a set of three rings: my grandmother’s wedding and guard rings, and my great grandmother’s wedding ring.
My best entertaining tip… Have fun at your own party! Even if the food gets burned, the dog gets into the garbage and the power goes out, as long as you have fun, your guests will too and, truthfully, that’s what will make your party great.
My go-to cocktail to serve at a party is… Ketel One, St. Germaine, lime and soda water.