Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Nametags


Our local Historical Society is hosting a Christmas party.  It will be a dressy Christmas event with the men wearing coats and ties.  The ladies will be wearing their nice holiday outfits.  Is is appropriate to have nametags for such an event.  One friend thinks it would be very tacky and another one thinks it helps people recall names or meet new people they don't know.   I need some sound advise in order to make a decision.  I certainly don't want to take away from the event or make a social blunder.

Dear Ms. McDaniel:

Thank you for your inquiry.

I strongly recommend name badges for the event that you describe. The reason for the gathering is not for guests to dress up.  I assume that it is for guests to gather, mingle, talk and enjoy the company of fellow guests in a festive setting and, possibly, for the historical society to thank special people who have supported the organization throughout the year. Not only do these VIP types need to be identified, but all guests need to be, as well. No one wants to be nameless, and people hate to have to dig like a miner to extract the names of their fellow guests. Name badges make things easier for everyone and encourage people to use and remember names and to make new connections. Best practices: print first names larger than last names on badges; limit the size of logos or designs to maximize space for names; use a clip-style badge that won't damage clothing; wear badges high and on the right side.

P.S. The only type of event where name badges would be verboten is a black-tie event.

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Nancy Mitchell


Social etiquette; Business etiquette; Entertaining etiquette; Wedding etiquette; Protocol, domestic (US) and international; Flag etiquette; Dining etiquette; Restaurant etiquette; Spa etiquette; Travel etiquette


Nancy R. Mitchell is a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol consultant and trainer with more than 30 years of experience in the field. She owns the firm The Etiquette Advocate and is an owner and founding partner of the firm Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at The George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses in the School of Business and the Career Center, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was director of special events and protocol at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other distinguished visitors, galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, Mitchell served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, embassies, academia and corporations.

Protocol and Diplomacy - International Protocol Association

Mitchell is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by CNN, ABC Nightline, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the Associated Press and Washingtonian magazine, has been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News and National Public Radio, and is an etiquette columnist for, etiquette consultant to Alexandria Woman and to Engaged! magazine, and technical editor of Wedding Etiquette for Dummies (Wiley, 2010).

B.S., University of Utah, 1969

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