Your Etiquette Questions Answered

Have a burning etiquette question you'd like answered? Read the answers to these questions submitted by Charlotte Parent Magazine readers.
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Toronto History

Thank you to those who submitted their etiquette questions. Please feel free to email me any etiquette questions you may have that pertain to manners and etiquette like dining, interview, business or social etiquette for you or your children. Please email me at Thank you!


Q – I’ve been invited to my friend’s wedding next weekend, and although the invitation was addressed just to me, I just met a guy and I want to bring him to the wedding with me. Can I just ask the bride if I can bring him along?

  • If the bride is your sister, close cousin, or best friend, I’d say, “Go ahead and ask”, but given that this is just a friend and this is a NEW guy you’re dating,  then the answer is, “No, you can’t ask to bring someone else along.” The bride will have already done the seating chart and given the caterer the exact headcount for meals, so you can’t just show up with another person. For any invitation, you will know who is invited by whom the envelop is addressed to such as Aimee Symington plus guest, or “and children”.

Q – My wife has a really large family and for Christmas we usually spend a fortune buying gifts for everyone. How can I nicely suggest that we don’t buy something for everyone this year?

  • Tell your wife how you feel and bring up that most likely other family members are also tired of spending so much money and time buying gifts for each member of the family. Suggest that this year that all of the adults pick one other adult to buy for, and then each adult still buys a gift for the children in the family. You take on the responsibility of suggesting this to the family if your wife doesn’t want to, and also volunteer to draw names for the adults.

Q – I know it’s important to have nice table manners, but I am not exactly sure what to teach my kids since I was never properly taught by my parents.

Here are some of the top things to teach your children:

  1. Before the Meal – Sit down properly in the seat, place napkin in lap, and wait for everyone to be seated before eating.
  2. During the Meal – Make polite conversation during a meal and to not have their cell phone at the table, keep elbows and arms off the table, and pass food to the right.
  3. After the Meal – Place fork and knife on the plate properly to indicate you're finished (if the plate were a clock knife and fork placed at 10:00 and 4:00 with the blade of the knife facing in), thank the host for the meal, and if eating at home to take the plates into the kitchen.

Q – When I see someone I know but can’t remember their name, how do I handle it politely?

  • Immediately greet them with a smile and shake hands and if you think there is a chance they don’t remember your name say something like, “Hi, I’m Aimee Symington, we met last week at our kids’ soccer game.” Or, introduce them to the person you are with by only giving the other person’s name and hope they give their name, like “This is my husband, George Smith.” If those options don’t work, be honest and say something like, “I remember talking with you last week at the soccer game, but I am horrible with names, could you please tell me your name again?”.

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