Random Correspondence Issues, Vol. 7, Issue 22

Dear Etiquetteer:I am putting together my wedding invitation wording and have hit a roadblock. As the bride, my parents are hosting the wedding. My mom, being the closet feminist that she is, does not want me to address them as "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith." I find this rather archaic myself, but what is the alternative while still using honorifics and not offending any one else? These are the options I have come up with: "Mr. And Mrs. Smith," "Mrs. Mary and Mr. John Smith," and "Mr. and Mrs. John and Mary Smith." Which one would be the most proper etiquette? Please help me! 

Dear Bride to Be: 

The honorific "Mrs." is used with Perfect Propriety only with the name of the husband, e.g. "Mrs. Stephen Haines." If your mother does not wish to be referred to as "Mrs. John Smith," then the form your wedding invitation should take is:

 Mr. John Smith and Ms. Mary Smith

request the honour of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter

Miss Perfectly Proper Smith

to Mr. Manley Firmness

Feminists everywhere claimed the honorific "Ms." in the 1970s, and it has only grown in acceptance since then. It's high time, in Etiquetteer's opinion, for your mother to come out of the closet.


Dear Etiquetteer:

I have recently gone through an interview, and sent both parties a thank-you note, via email. They mentioned they would be interviewing for the next 2-3 weeks. Since I have sent the thank-you notice, how long should I wait till I contact them again? How should I contact them, phone or email? How often should I attempt to contact them?Dear Interviewed:

Since you have already initiated correspondence with your interviewers via email, Etiquetteer suggests that you continue to correspond with them this way. So as not to appear impatient, you might wait to check in with your interviewer after 3.5 weeks have passed, making a gentle inquiry to see if you can provide additional information.

Etiquetteer wishes you well in your job search, and encourages you, after subsequent job interviews, to send a letter of thanks through the mail on crisp white stationery. It still makes a positive impression, and it also gives you more of an opportunity to proofread.


Weddings and Whistleblowers, Vol. 5, Issue 5

Dear Etiquetteer:Do I have to invite someone to my wedding if I was invited to theirs?Dear Engaged:Etiquetteer suggests you consider your relationship to the couple in question before using attendance at their wedding as a factor. If it’s your sister, yes, you should probably invite her and her spouse. If it’s the brother of a colleague you see at quarterly meetings, probably not.Long story short, invite the people you want to be with you, and the people your parents want to be with them. Then plan the reception based on that number of people. Yes, this might mean you can’t offer more than a thin slice of cake and thimble of champagne to each of your guests, but so be it.

Speaking of weddings, Etiquetteer found himself getting mighty annoyed reading a discussion about pregnant brides over as Smart & Sassy. (Special to Etiquetteer's mother: there's a lot of profanity, so you probably won't want to read it.) This led Etiquetteer to create a wedding survey, which you are cordially invited to take here. This does involve controversial questions about bridal pregnancy, wedding clothes, and catering, so be prepared.

Dear Etiquetteer:Do you stand by a whistleblower who is a friend? Not necessarily a friend but an honest person?Dear Ethically Challenged:Your question reminded Etiquetteer of Little Mary Haines in TheWomen asking her mother "Which is more important, Truth or Honor?" "They are equally important, darling" coldly responded her glamorous mother, played by Norma Shearer in the most memorable role of her career.If you believe the whistleblower to be not only an honest person but also accurate in the accusations, then YES, by all means, back up that person in the face of all adversity! How else are we to have a Perfectly Proper society unless innocent bystanders like yourself stand up for what is Right and True to defeat the Wicked and Evil?

EXAMPLES FROM THE DAILY LIFE OF ETIQUETTEER: Etiquetteer had occasion recently to begin a journey to a Distant City by train. One of the most distressing experiences was trying to purchase two magazines at a magazine stand from a Woman For Whom English Was Not the First Language who was much more absorbed in talking with her friend on her cell phone than in conducting any business! Transacting business in these circumstances is difficult at best, but with someone whose attention is actively engaged elsewhere . . . well, it didn’t make Etiquetteer feel like a valued customer, to say the least! A brisk "Excuse me, would you please finish your conversation later?" was definitely in order.

Etiquetteer cordially invites you to join the notify list if you would like to know as soon as new columns are posted. Join by sending e-mail to notify@etiquetteer.com.