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Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Questions Answered by Expert Nancy Mitchell

SubjectDate Asked
death1/22/2017
  Q: my dads brother in law passed away (his sister died 4 years ago) . My dads brother in law was like ...
  A: What a lovely gesture to send flowers at this sad time. I would send the flowers to your father and ...
dvd12/20/2016
  Q: I would like to know if Ms. Nancy has all her videos on DVD for purchase. I teach etiquette to my ...
  A: The videos were produced and are the property of the website Monkeysee.com, parent company ...
joining club10/24/2016
  Q: I have a friend who I have coffee and lunches with regularly and he belongs to the premier social ...
  A: I see no problem or awkwardness in asking your friend to sponsor you for membership in the club. ...
This is awkward!9/20/2016
  Q: acquaintance whose father died a month ago. She and I are not close - that's why I didn't hear of ...
  A: Because you don't know the specifics of your friend's relationship with her father in his final ...
Formal dinner seating for two3/31/2016
  Q: What would be the correct way to seat two people - an older, married couple - in a large, private ...
  A: This seems an odd circumstance to me, that two people would be seated alone at such a large dining ...
suicide of current boyfriend11/17/2015
  Q: My daughter current boyfriend of less than a year took his life and my daughter found him. His ...
  A: May I begin with condolences to your daughter, her boyfriend's family and your family. Such a ...
Wedding invitation protocol6/18/2015
  Q: Is it customary to send wedding invitations to the parents and siblings of wedding attendants?
  A: It is not necessary, nor expected, that you send a wedding invitation to the parents or siblings of ...
HS Grad gift for boss's son6/6/2015
  Q: I'm a veterinarian in a small 3 doctor practice. I'm the only non-partner in the practice. I just ...
  A: JF: Thank you for your question. I think you are spot on with your ideas for graduation gifts for ...
Offering to help host a party5/28/2015
  Q: A close friend of mine from high school is getting married this summer. Her sister is the maid of ...
  A: I agree that it would be inappropriate (and possibly insulting) to email unsolicited ideas for the ...
60th birthday1/9/2015
  Q: In this modern age, is it appropriate to invite guests to a 60th via sms, Facebook and/or email? ...
  A: You may use social media to invite guests to a birthday party, but please remember that you have no ...
Adult only RSVP12/29/2014
  Q: I am hosting a retirement party for y husband and the venue is adult only. Some local friends have ...
  A: If we were living in a time when people still knew the rules of social engagement, you could convey ...
Friend Communicating with Her Boss12/28/2014
  Q: My friend works in a small office. She gets along well with her boss. Recently, the boss started ...
  A: Because your friend gets along well with her boss, I assume that the boss is a fairly reasonable ...
double standard?12/11/2014
  Q: I'm a male and have been emailing an old (we're both in our 60's) school classmate for awhile, just ...
  A: Personally, I think it would be a mistake for you to take on all of the expenses for the type of ...
friends calling only when they need something12/11/2014
  Q: I have a friend who tends to call me when she needs help with something. Often their call will be ...
  A: Your friend seems to have forgotten the analogy that friendship is like a garden--it needs tending ...
Nametags12/11/2014
  Q: Our local Historical Society is hosting a Christmas party. It will be a dressy Christmas event with ...
  A: McDaniel: Thank you for your inquiry. I strongly recommend name badges for the event that you ...
language10/26/2014
  Q: my wifis and i are french wen invited at ebglish speaking friendsis it polite to to converse ...
  A: I recommend that you speak with your wife in English when attending gatherings where the majority of ...
Is It Rude to Not Call Someone Back Right Away?10/11/2014
  Q: Good day Nancy, I have a 50 year old friend who is always "on me." The day I came back from my ...
  A: There is no established rule that defines the time frame in which we must return a phone call, but ...
Non Halloween Observer8/6/2014
  Q: Mitchell: Every year, before Halloween, many people ask me what my Halloween plans are. I do not ...
  A: I don't believe it is your friend's place to determine if your answer is appropriate or not. How ...
Is It OK to Try New Recipes for Pot Lucks?7/6/2014
  Q: Yesterday, I was invited to a barbecue with the neighbors. I love to bake, and so I made a Betty ...
  A: Let me begin by saying that I am astonished by the mean-spirited comment of your neighbor. It was ...
doctoral degree graduate open house5/16/2014
  Q: How can I word the invitation (for a 40 year old doctoral degree graduate) open house to indicate ...
  A: Standard practice is to omit any mention of gifts on this type of invitation, so simply invite your ...
walking on headstones4/23/2014
  Q: a family I know took a family photo in a cemetery and stood on others...not their ...
  A: A large dose of reverence and respect is required when visiting a cemetery, and I think that most ...
My mother-in-law is throwing her own birthday party.3/30/2014
  Q: My 85 year old Mother-in-law is throwing her own birthday party. She is throwing it in the town ...
  A: Your mother-in-law is hosting the party, so she gets to run the show. Clearly the candle lighting ...
Serving3/11/2014
  Q: This is a serving question. I understand that while being served, you are to expect service on your ...
  A: Cristofer: You are correct--food is served from the left and cleared from the right. Beverages, ...
Utensils3/4/2014
  Q: I work in a casual Canadian restaurant, and I have noticed that people tend to use cutlery in a very ...
  A: I am in complete agreement with you. Pasta should never be cut with knife and fork. Long pasta ...
wedding invitations3/3/2014
  Q: Is it appropriate to invite someone to a bridal shower but not invite that person to the actual ...
  A: Guests who are invited to a bridal shower should be invited to the wedding. To fail to do so will ...
Death of Father-in-law2/8/2014
  Q: My Father-in-law recently passed away. I am very close to my wife's brothers and sisters. Although ...
  A: You have already given the best gift that you can give to your family members at this difficult time ...
High School graduation1/26/2014
  Q: My daughter will be graduating from high school in late May. Her father passed away 2 years ago and ...
  A: Two things to keep in mind when drafting a graduation invitation or announcement: 1. Unlike a ...
Renting Vacation Home with multiple families1/2/2014
  Q: We are looking to rent a large vacation home with multiple families for a week over the summer. ...
  A: I recommend that you divide the rental cost by the number of bedrooms, using the example below. For ...
Family Birthday Invitation8/12/2013
  Q: My brother's 40th birthday is on Aug 29th. This also is the day my husband and I move into our new ...
  A: How unfortunate that your brother's birthday celebration is planned for the same day as your move! ...
etiquette at hotel continental breakfast8/8/2013
  Q: Mitchell, I am having a discussion with a friend as to what is appropriate when a hotel provides a ...
  A: Food that is presented in a hotel's inclusive continental or full breakfast is meant to be consumed ...
Ettiquette on monument8/5/2013
  Q: Good Day Nancy, I am helping make funeral/cemetary arrangements for my grandmother so that when she ...
  A: You have an advantage that many family members don't have when designing the headstone of a loved ...
Proper introducions7/27/2013
  Q: We will have an event to celebrate a national date. The guests include: The Mayor of a City in ...
  A: Alicia: Thank you for your inquiry. Protocol dictates that you establish an order of precedence ...
celebration of life party7/12/2013
  Q: We are having a celebration of life party several months after my mom passed. I have friends and ...
  A: Seems like a good idea to open the proceedings to more people so that more people hear your mother's ...
timeline for graduation open house6/13/2013
  Q: What is the proper timeline as how early College graduation announcements should be mailed out for a ...
  A: Rest assured, there is no "too early" in this scenario. The earlier, the better for mailing the ...
Flower girl for court wedding6/11/2013
  Q: I was wondering if it is okay to have a flower girl even if I am getting married by a judge in a ...
  A: I recommend that you check with the clerk of the court to learn about the format of the courthouse ...
Thank You5/24/2013
  Q: My husband was treated by a wonderful doctor during his fight with colon cancer, he died three weeks ...
  A: Please allow me to share my condolences. Next I must share my shock and sadness upon hearing of the ...
complicated graduation announcement4/22/2013
  Q: I am preparing to send announcements for my son's graduation and have seen previous answers on the ...
  A: Two things to keep in mind when drafting a graduation announcement: 1. Unlike a wedding ...
Correspondence After a Death4/21/2013
  Q: My mother suffered a massive stroke, was in a coma for 8 days and then died. While she was in the ...
  A: Please let me begin by expressing my condolences on the loss of your mother. Personally, I do not ...
greeting cards4/14/2013
  Q: when I received a greeting card of well wishes, what is proper way of acknowledging it?
  A: The general rule is that when receiving a greeting card that includes only the sender's signature, ...
going away3/22/2013
  Q: I've been living in a small town upstate NY for the last 10 months and it's time for me to move back ...
  A: How very kind of you to want to say goodbye to your US friends before your move. If no one is ...
wedding at age 603/3/2013
  Q: I am getting married at 60 this is both of our second marriage. I have been a window for 27 years ...
  A: Allow me to begin by sending you and your fiancé best wishes on the occasion of your wedding and for ...
my birthday1/26/2013
  Q: My Birthday was last week. I turned fifty. I did not hear from either of my brothers on my big day. ...
  A: There is no graceful or appropriate way to let others know when they forget a milestone in our life. ...
Rude hostess1/17/2013
  Q: My neighbor, whom I'm not particularly close to, called me and asked me to come down to her house so ...
  A: I am pleased that you shared your question with me, because I believe that etiquette is more than ...
Second wedding or vowel renewal?1/13/2013
  Q: we eloped overseas to get married and it was horrid! Firstly the celebrant mucked us around, then ...
  A: I am so sorry to hear about the disappointment associated with your wedding. You label that ...
signing a christmas after the death of a spouse12/12/2012
  Q: Is it appropriate to sign a Christmas card with the name of your deceased spouse? I have a friend ...
  A: Let me start by saying that I applaud your friend for having the fortitude and energy to send ...
Not sure the proper way to handle this situation.12/11/2012
  Q: What would have been the proper response for this situation? The host asks me to bring a food ...
  A: I agree with you that what happened when you arrived at the party was an unpleasant surprise and ...
Headstone protocol12/3/2012
  Q: We are about to have my son's headstone engraved. His father and I are divorced and he wants his ...
  A: Please allow me to begin by extending my condolences to you and your family on the loss of your son. ...
Museum visit12/2/2012
  Q: upon entering a room where other people are present one should greet them, that is basic. How about ...
  A: It is very kind and thoughtful of you to have concern for the museum staff who serve us all. I think ...
Return Labels11/19/2012
  Q: Is there ever a time to use a return label with just my name if I am married? For instance, if I am ...
  A: Either of the forms of your name mentioned in your question is appropriate for your return address ...
poor customer service10/31/2012
  Q: Mitchell I went into a store just to pay a bill granted that i was dressed poorly because I was in ...
  A: The unpleasant experience that you describe should not have happened. No matter how you were dressed ...
family etiquette10/29/2012
  Q: I have a small family. I am single. My brother, his wife and son are my only "family". My ...
  A: Family is one of the most important things in our lives, and it is also one of the most challenging, ...
Sending a card to a family member10/22/2012
  Q: We will be attending my Uncles birthday party in February. I have two brothers that are married and ...
  A: As soon as children move out of their parents' household, they are old enough to send their own ...
Son's still-married live-in girlfriend10/14/2012
  Q: I need your help. Next month I will celebrate my 70th birthday. A small dinner party is planned ...
  A: I suggest that you invite your son and his live-in girlfriend to your birthday dinner. Because she ...
Improving family relations.10/8/2012
  Q: I have a sister in law that I would like to get closer to. I come from a lower social class than she ...
  A: I encourage you to change your frame of mind in regard to your social standing in your husband's ...
Print date10/2/2012
  Q: We are having a 50th anniversary dinner the day after the actual date. Is it proper to print the ...
  A: I recommend that you print the actual date of the anniversary on the napkins and any other keepsakes ...
60th Wedding Anniversary8/29/2012
  Q: My sister and I are planning a dinner for our parent's 60th Wedding Anniversary. We are planning ...
  A: You are correct to be concerned about the impact of alcohol on the overall cost for this event, ...
Was I still obligated to be the designated driver for an event even though I was left behind?8/23/2012
  Q: Two of my friends and I made plans to attend an outdoor event together one evening. Let's call them ...
  A: This was, indeed, an unpleasant experience for you, caused by two very thoughtless and self-centered ...
Dinner guest8/17/2012
  Q: After making a time consuming and expensive dinner my friend phoned later to tell me "that dinner ...
  A: I agree. This is a rude comment from a rude guest. He should not have shared this information with ...
Traveling "home"8/16/2012
  Q: My friends, family and I all have differing opinions regarding what the proper etiquette is for when ...
  A: Let me begin by saying that you have my sympathy, because there are a number of thoughtless and ...
party etiquette/ hiring8/15/2012
  Q: My brother and his wife want to hire their 16 year old daughter, Lauren, and two of her friends, to ...
  A: I share your concern. What you describe is a disaster waiting to happen. Unless your brother and ...
Summer Party Etiquette6/19/2012
  Q: I have been invited to a casual summer barbecue party. The party will be at a co-worker's home, ...
  A: There is definitely cause for concern in the scenario that you describe. Few of us are comfortable ...
wedding gifts6/17/2012
  Q: We are getting married this fall, in our back yard( big field)we are suppling main course pig roast ...
  A: Congratulations and best wishes! I applaud you for not focusing on gifts as you prepare for your ...
Taking money from a friend6/15/2012
  Q: My daughter's friends mother sent me a check with a thank you card? She thanked me for taking her ...
  A: You are kind and correct with your assessment--the mother meant well by sending you a check to thank ...
New Office Open House5/30/2012
  Q: Is it necessary to send an RSVP with an invitation to an office open house? Thank you, Myra
  A: Please, do respond to the invitation you received to the office open house. Many people have lost ...
Serving finger food5/16/2012
  Q: As I'm from another culture, we have our own way to serve food to our visitors and guests. When ...
  A: You definitely want to offer a napkin to your guests whenever you serve food or a beverage. Think of ...
A going away party5/7/2012
  Q: My son has enlisted in the Army and he's leaving to go to bootcamp. I'm having a cook out for him. ...
  A: What a lovely gesture to give your son a festive send-off prior to his departure for boot camp. The ...
wedding guest list4/10/2012
  Q: I am from a family of eight siblings many of us have moved to different states over the years. A ...
  A: Let's pretend for a moment that you are an only child and you have been invited to this young ...
including graduates address4/10/2012
  Q: How can I politely include my son's address so that our recipients can send "congrats" to him ...
  A: and congratulations to your son on his accomplishment. Since your son is old enough to have his ...
hostess gift etiquette3/19/2012
  Q: My bridal shower is in two weeks in Chicago and I live in Phoenix. My future mother in law is ...
  A: yet challenging waters of your wedding journey. In regard to your question about whether or not to ...

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Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Nancy Mitchell

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Expertise

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

Experience

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. www.etiquetteadvocate.com www.theprotocolpartners.com

Organizations
Protocol and Diplomacy - International Protocol Association

Publications
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 Experience.com, etiquette consultant to Alexandria Woman and to Engaged! magazine, and technical editor of Wedding Etiquette for Dummies (Wiley, 2010).

Education/Credentials
B.S., University of Utah, 1969

Past/Present Clients
America Online (AOL), American Bar Association, American Society of Interior Designers, Asian Development Bank (Manila, Philippines), Association of American Indian Physicians, Association of American Medical Colleges, BAE Systems, Inc., Capital One Financial Corporation, The Catholic University of America, Clark Construction, LLC, Choice Hotels International, Coppin State University, D.C. Bar Association, 40 PLUS of Greater Washington, Dress for Success, Inc., Emerging Leaders Institute(Fairfax, VA), Fannie Mae, General Dynamics Corporation, Georgetown University, George Mason University, George Washington University (Admissions Office, Career Center, Department of Athletics, School of Business, MBA Association), Grant Thornton LLC, Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, HITT Contracting, Inc., Howard University, Howrey LLP, KTA Group, Inc, Library of Congress, Life Technologies, Lincoln Military Housing Corporation, Marketing Directors Support Group (Baltimore, MD), Miss DC International Pageant, Montgomery County Commission For Women, National Center for Children & Families, National Press Club, Oberlin College, Orphan Foundation of America, Professionals in the City (Washington, DC), Ragsdale Liggett, PLLC, Ritz Carlton Hotel (Pentagon City, VA), Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, SOC Enterprises, Stratford University, Team Enterprises, Inc., Travel Industry Association, Trinity University, Umstead Hotel and Spa, University of Virginia, Washington and Lee University, The World Bank, World Travel and Tourism Commission, Year Up, Youth Business Initiative.

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