I was lucky enough to interview Lizzie Post last week and ask her all my questions about hosting summer guests, attending expensive weddings and dealing with your smartphone at dinner.
Lizzie is the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post. Her most recent book is “Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th edition”
I joked with her that it must have been something growing up in her house with all that etiquette flying around. But she says her family is much more casual at home. Somehow I don’t think her family is like mine.
Here is some of her advice:
What do you do when house guests bring you a gift, even when you specifically asked them not to?
Lizzie says we should accept the gift with a simple thank you. She says you don’t have to send a thank-you note if it’s given in person. If your guest sends a gift after the visit, you should respond by dropping a thank-you card in the mail.
When guests visit, who is supposed to pay for dinners out?
We’ve all been in the awkward position of not knowing who is going to pay. Lizzie says if you’re hosting house guests and you say you would like to take them out, you should plan on footing the bill.
She says you can’t expect your guests to take you out, but it is a nice gesture. If your house guests pick a restaurant, you shouldn’t be shy about ordering what you’d like. She says guests will choose a restaurant that is within their price range. Don’t order the most expensive item on the menu, but don’t feel like you have to stick to salad and soup. She says one great way to save money is with BankAmeriDeals from Bank of America. You can choose the cash back deals you want and use them at your favorite restaurants.
How do you handle excessive wedding expenses at multiple summer weddings?
Lizzie says the guest’s budget comes before the bride and grooms. So if they’ve only registered for extremely expensive items, you don’t have to go off the registry. You can pick something else that you think the couple would love and still stick to your budget.
When is it OK to leave your smartphone on the table?
Here’s where I think she may be a little old fashioned. Lizzie says we should never have our phones out. Maybe she’s right. She says you can leave your phone in your pocket on vibrate, if you think there might be an emergency, but you should let your guests know ahead of time. She says it’s OK to take the phone out for a photograph, but you should wait to instagram until after the meal.
You can see my full interview in the video here:
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