How Not To Be a Bridezilla

How Not To Be a Bridezilla

Your wedding day is a time for rejoicing and merriment and it is important that you are well prepared in advance for this big day in your life. Stress, fatigue, and anxiety are common symptoms that can occur for weeks leading up to the event. These few tips will help you to keep your composure on your very important day and prevent you from turning into a Bridezilla.

Tips To Avoid Being a Bridezilla

  1. Avoid Long Drawn out Conversations about the Wedding – One habit that seems to occur in those about to get married is the endless conversation about wedding plans. If someone asks you how the wedding plans are coming along, answer in a couple of sentences. If they want to know more, they will ask you. There is no sense in giving them a 30 minute monologue. The wedding may be the most important thing in your life right now, but it isn’t to most other people.
  2. Make a Budget and Stick to It – Once you figure out your budget, stick to it. Each and every upgrade will add expense to your budget. These expenditures can quickly add up and end up costing you a couple of thousands of dollars more. If you stick the expense on a credit card, it may ruin the honeymoon and the beginning of your marriage.  Your wedding reception really is JUST a party.  You could have 17 ice fountains and 52 doves released at the moment you both say “I do”, but that isn’t going to do anything to help your marriage go the distance.
  3. Do Not Neglect Your Future Partner – Make sure to take some time from your busy wedding schedule and appointments to spend some time with your future partner. This will help to keep you both connected and focused on your future together. In other words, spend some girlfriend-boyfriend time together. Additionally, while there may be some men who will really truly care if the bridesmaids are wearing Champagne Pink vs. Pale Pink dresses…most men won’t. Let him in on making the big decisions and helping with the seating chart
  4. Remember How Your Parents Feel – It is important to acknowledge what your parents are going through. You are still your parents child and no matter how much they smile, they know that they will lose you on your wedding day. Try to understand how they feel and be compassionate about it.
  5. Remember that is is NOT all about you – I don’t care how popular it is to be a Bridezilla.  To the rest of the world, you are just a spoiled brat and everyone will loathe being around you if you are only concerned about the wedding and “your big day”.  The rest of us have lives.  Get over yourself!

Although there are many other things that you can do or not do to avoid turning into a Bridezilla on your wedding day, the above 5 tips will ensure that your day will go as well as planned. It is normal to be nervous, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Many people are overcome with human emotion at weddings. These tips should help your day run smoothly as possible.

8 Facebook Etiquette Rules You Wish People Would Follow

8 Facebook Rules You Wish Everyone Would Follow

Facebook Etiquette Rules You Wish People Would Follow

Facebook is easily the most fun one can have with former friends that they have not seen in twenty five years. It is great to network business-wise. It is incredible to keep up with family that lives far away or that lives around the corner.

That said, there are some things that Facebook users need to learn. They need to understand some simple Facebook etiquette rules and follow them to perfection.

Here are eight that must be followed to stay on my friend’s list:

Keep the home drama home – The last thing I want to wake up to with my morning coffee and Facebook review is a huge picture of a bloody nose from last night’s bar fight. If you hate someone, don’t blast it all over the place and make Facebook your personal diary. People are listening!

Don’t “Vaguebook” – Posting “Ugh, don’t ask!” is just begging people to ask you what is wrong and makes you look like a Drama Queen.  Posting passive aggressive digs at people just makes you look petty.  Either come out and say/post it or don’t post anything at all.

Don’t send me the Facebook bribe post – When I get the “Re-post this or you are not really my friend” posts, I make that a reality. No, I am not your friend if you try to bribe me to share your drama. This also goes for the “Post this or your lottery winnings will go to someone else” and the “Re-post this or you don’t really love your Grandma” posts as well.

Don’t send me game requests – My farm is in my backyard and I have little time to help others with their cafe. If I wanted to play, I would sign up myself. That being said, there are some games that I will play. If you send me a request, check to see if I responded. If I didn’t, don’t send me another request!

Don’t send me friend requests if I have no connection to you – If you request my friendship, make sure you are connected to me in some way. Either I know you directly, you are a friend of a friend that is networking, or we have a business relationship.

Don’t complain about Facebook updates and changes – I am curious if these guys that complain realize that Facebook is free. They can walk away at any time and be free of the horror of Facebook updates and changes.

Don’t automatically believe what you read on Facebook – If you are connected to Facebook, you have access to real life information. If you see something that sounds unreal, look it up and check it out. Don’t spread the drama because it only hurts your own credibility.

Don’t slam your job in public if you want to keep it – Finally, don’t talk about how your boss smells and your co-worker picks his nose. You might be shocked at who those friends are. One might be your CEO’s wife that met you at the Christmas party. (and you forgot that they sent you a friend request!)

These are only a handful of the rules I would implement.

What are some that you would like to see? Let us know down below in the comments!

Basic Cell Phone Manners

Basic Cell Phone Manners

Basic Cell Phone Etiquette

The invention of the cell phone in the last century is probably one of the most revered inventions. It is affordable, and offers the ability to connect with those that are important to you, whether you are in the office, on the road, in the car, or out at a friend’s place.

However, in spite of its convenience, there are problems with it use. It has gotten out of control, simply because of the user’s lack of respect for others.

These tips will teach you basic cell phone etiquette, so you can have the convenience of the cell phone, and be mannerly about it.

  1. Entertainment Venues - When you are in an entertainment venue such as a movie theater or play, make sure that you turn off the ringer on your phone. You can set it to vibrate and if you should receive a call, exit the screening room and step out into the lobby to take the call.
  2. Restaurants - When you are in a restaurant, turn off the phone. Put it on vibrate instead. If you should happen to receive a call, answer it in a low voice and tell them that you are eating and you will call them back later.
  3. Public Transportation - Turn it on vibrate or turn it off completely. Only take emergency calls and remember that it is rude to talk on your cell phone in public.
  4. Places of Worship  - It is important that people are permitted to worship in peace, without even the sound of your phone vibrating (yeas – we can hear it). Leave your cell phone at home or in the car.  If whatever phone call you are expecting is so important that you can’t turn off your phone at church, then just stay home from church.
  5. At the store – Get off your phone before you start to check out your transaction.  The cashier in front of you is a person and deserves your attention and respect. You are not more important than them!
  6. Flying – Before the plane takes off it is important that your cell phone is turned off. Electronic gadgets may cause some interference with navigational equipment and therefore, avoided at all cost.

These tips will teach you the basic rules of cell phone etiquette. Although this gadget is convenient, try to think of the days of long ago when there was no such thing. Use your discretion when using the cell phone, in order to please those that are around you.

10 Etiquette Rules For Movie Theaters

movie theater etiquette

The last time I went into the movie theater, I paid nearly fifty bucks for my family of five to watch a cartoon. Throughout the entire movie, we listened to two women loudly discuss an impending divorce and who has the best hair extensions. Needless to say, I was irritated. It got me to thinking…what if we had a movie theater policeman?

I know we have bigger fish to fry, but wouldn’t that be cool? He could enforce the rules of the movie theater etiquette and ensure that the movie going experience was a polite one. Here are the rules I would ask him to enforce:

Show up on time – If you show up late to the movie, you should never come in loud. In fact, coming in late to the movie should require that you take the first available seat that will keep your backside from blocking the movie screen. Perhaps we should consider a late arrival section in the back of the movie theater.

Leave the baby at home – If there was ever a good time to get a babysitter, it is when you are headed to the movie theater. Even kids going to see Disney get frustrated with a screaming baby.

Close your mouth when you eat – If I hear you munching your Goobers from across the aisle, you are probably eating them with your mouth wide open. Please eat with your mouth closed.

Keep your feet down – The most common excuse I get from teens about this one is that “nobody is sitting in front of me, dude.” While that might be true at the moment, someone eventually will sit in that chair. When they do, they probably won’t wish to smell your stinky Crocs.

Leave one seat between you and others when possible – This rule, commonly known as the courtesy seat, is very important but often overlooked. When people come in and crowd your space for no reason, it is irritating. Always leave some space when possible.

Turn off the cell phone – This is the most common complaint and with good reason. Nothing irritates people more than listening to someone have a conversation on the cell phone while others are trying to watch the movie.

Yes, that includes text messages – You might think you are being polite by switching over to texts, but the screen is still illuminating the theater and your vibrations are getting on people’s nerves. Put the phone away and take a break. They will be there when the movie is over.

Don’t talk to the screen – Here is a quick newsflash…no matter how many times you tell the dingbat on the screen not to “go in there” she will continue to do so. They can’t hear you!  Problem is, everyone else in the theater can and they don’t appreciate it.

If you are seven feet tall or insist on wearing huge hats, get a wall seat – Being tall rocks in virtually every situation in life. Movie theaters are the exception, however. If you are ultra tall, be thoughtful and sit where nobody is going to be behind you. Theaters are usually empty enough to find a spot anywhere. Those folks that wear the hats…you know who you are…you need to reconsider.

Clean up after yourself – When the credits roll and you leave the theater, please make sure you clean up after your own mess. People will leave any number of things behind as though the floor is a trash can. Pick it up!

These are my personal rules for theater etiquette, but I am sure I have missed some.  What other rules can you think of that you would like to see enforced? Sound off in the comments below.

How To Teach Your Children Good Manners at a Restaurant

How To Teach Your Children Good Manners at a Restaurant

Picture a beautiful couple sitting in their favorite corner of the restaurant in which they got engaged. The lighting was perfect and the lobster divine. As they raise a glass of wine to toast their tenth anniversary, a G.I. Joe comes whizzing by their heads followed by an apologetic mother that looks like she has been through boot camp herself. As they return to their moment, a screaming, kicking four year old is quickly whisked away begging for his army man.

Folks, the moment is gone.

There are many thoughts on this subject floating around out there and I have heard them all. Here are some I have heard most often along with a quick thought on each:

“Those kids have no business being in the restaurant if they don’t know how to behave.”

Though there is an element of truth in this, it is much easier said than done for most parents.

“Parents should learn how to tame them before bringing them out in public.”

Says the man or woman who clearly never wants kids and has no clue.

“Kids would act better if they had a better example.”

Again, it is clear to me that this person has no kids. Yes we have to give them a good example, but the reasons kids act out are deeper than that. You can give the perfect example and still have a kid that acts like they have lost their mind when they go eat.

“I should be able to take my kids anywhere I want. People can ignore them.”

Can people ignore them? That is the real question. If you your kids are polite enough that this is possible, then you are absolutely right.

“People should mind their own business.”

This is true as well as long as you are allowing that to be possible. If your kid is disrupting their meal, you are making it their business.

So, what is the answer?  How do we get these little stinkers to go out to eat and act like little ladies and gentlemen? That is the magic question, right?

Here are some tips:

  • Start teaching them manners early and follow through when you say you will remove them if they act up. You will be inconvenienced a few times at first, but have a much better chance at well mannered kids long term.
  • Never, ever bring your kids to eat when they are starving or tired. Doing so is basically begging for trouble.
  • Always bring along a small toy or something to occupy their attention. Bored children lose manners quickly.
  • Don’t use eating out as a test to see if they like new things. Stick to old favorites that are easy to eat and you know they love.
  • Embrace the family friendly restaurants and wait until they are established before you try the more expensive places.
  • Avoid rush hour eating because it will make it much harder to keep them calm. You also will have far fewer people to get upset and a waiter that is relaxed and attentive.
  • Sit them near the window so that they have something to watch outside. Kids love to observe but you don’t want them staring at the people at the next table.
  • Park near the exit and sit near the exit. This makes a quick attitude adjustment simple and quick.
  • Sit outside if the weather permits and enjoy the freedom of not worrying about every little noise.
  • Praise outstanding behavior. Kids respond to positive compliments far better than negative ones. Sometimes you have no choice, but try to hang out in the positive end of the pool.
  • Be fully prepared to leave if necessary. In fact, having an exit plan that results in a doggy bag is important. Kids need to know early on that bad behavior has consequences.
  • Team up for the best results. Having both parents or an adult friend along can make all the difference in the world. One parent trying to handle an unruly child is not a good idea. Lord forbid if they have several.
  • Finally, always remember to tip well. No night out with kids at the restaurant is easy on the waiter, so be fair when you decide the tip. Even if the kids are well mannered, they usually leave a bigger mess.

Eating out with the kids can be a pleasant and easy going experience if you follow these tips. Most of all, understand that some folks will be impatient and difficult regardless of how your kids act. Those folks are not worth your time and should simply be ignored.

What are some of your tips for teaching children how to behave at restaurants?

How To Be A Good Dinner Guest | Dining Etiquette

Dining Etiquette | How to Be a Good Dinner Guest

Dining Etiquette

Knowing how to be a good dinner guest will ensure that you are asked back at another time. There are common rules of etiquette when you are invited to dine at someone’s place.

The following tips may help to make your stay more comfortable and impress the host. An invitation to dine at someone’s home is a gift; make sure that you are a good guest.

  1. Respond to the Invitation as soon as you can – When you are invited to dine at someone’s place make sure that you accept the offer within a reasonable period. This will allow them to plan their time as well as offer alternative dates if you have a scheduling conflict.
  2. Clarify WHO was invited – In most cases, the invite will come from a friend and it will likely not be a formal written invitation and they will say who is invited.  Still – that doesn’t mean that your children are invited unless expressly mentioned in the invite (be it phone, email or engraved invitation). If the invite doesn’t mention your children, say something like “Great! Let me just make sure that I can get a babysitter for the night!”.  When you say that, it will give the host the opportunity to either say “Don’t be silly – bring the kids!” or they will say “Can’t wait to hear back if you can make it!”.  if they say the latter, then your kids, no matter HOW wonderful you might think that they are – are just NOT invited.  Don’t bring them anyway.  Seriously – DON’T!
  3. If you have any dietary issues – Let them know of any dietary concerns that you may have. This will help the dinner to be prepared and eaten without any discomfort. If you are on a gluten-free diet, gently let them know that.  If you know that your host is not familiar with any restrictions that you have (vegan, gluten-free, kosher, etc), offer to bring a dish that you can eat.  A guest doesn’t want to show up and only be able to eat salad, bread and butter.  On the other hand, most hosts would be embarrassed (and somewhat annoyed for not knowing in advance) to go to the time and effort to prepare a meal, only to have their guests not eat it.  This is a 2-way street. If you have bona-fide food allergies or restrictions, POLITELY mention them to your host (and no “I hate anything with onions” doesn’t count)
  4. Give Cancellation Notice – If you should need to cancel, make sure that you do so within a reasonable period. This usually means an advance notice at least 48 hours ahead of the date planned. Your host might be shopping and preparing foods in advance and if something comes up, you want to minimize their cost as well as their inconvenience!
  5. Don’t cancel unless it is an emergency – once you have accepted an invitation, then you are bound by it.  Don’t back out at the last minute because you are too tired, or you had a bad day at work.  Your dog died?  You have the flu (or even a bad cold, especially if your hosts have small children)?  You are bleeding out of your eyes?  Those are good reasons.  Not realizing that is was the Season 4 Premiere of The Walking Dead that night is NOT a good reason!
  6. Arrive on Time- When invited for a dinner party, it is vital that you arrive on time. They have spent the time ensuring that the food is bought and prepared properly. Do not be late and cause the food to be overcooked. “Fashionably late” is only for very large parties (and even then, it is considered rude to show up late)
  7. Bring a Gift- It is important that you thank the host by bringing a gift to the dinner. This can be a bottle of wine, a salad, or even a dessert (although wine or chocolates are always best.  In the case of a formal dinner party, bringing a dish could be considered rude). If you have no time to pick up something to bring to the host, send something through the parcel post as a thank-you gift.

The above tips are just common dining etiquette, and should be followed at every dinner that you are invited to attend. Knowing proper dinner etiquette will help to ensure you are invited back another time.

10 Rules of Parking Lot Etiquette Society Should Follow

parking lot etiquette and manners

Parking a car is a simple process. Although anyone can park a car, people are constantly getting into altercations in parking lots with other drivers. Why is this? To be blunt, it is usually because someone is being rude or selfish. Calm, rational people rarely duke it out verbally or physically in a parking lot. Still, crazy things happen when you put lots of people in a confined area and expect them to get along. If everyone would follow some simple rules for parking, we would all have a place to park and no road rage incidents to worry about.

Here are my top ten parking lot etiquette rules to follow:

1. Leave the Ferrari at home if you are going to double park – Most people don’t double park so the ones that do really stick out like a sore thumb. If you have a car that is so valuable that you feel the need to double park, then leave it at home when you visit the Piggly Wiggly.

2. Don’t block traffic for a great spot to open up – Sitting and blocking an entire lane of the parking lot while you wait on someone to leave the store that parked on the front row is obnoxious. If someone is actually backing out, that is fine. Otherwise, you are not being very thoughtful by dominating the entire lane.

3. Observe the fire zones/loading zones – Pull into virtually any parking lot of any size and check out the loading/fire zones. They will almost always have a car or truck parked there that doesn’t belong. This includes cars sitting and idling. All it takes is one fire or emergency to understand why it is a big deal.

4. Handicap parking is for handicapped people – Duh!

5. Don’t squeeze it in just because you can – We all know someone that does this. They pull into a parking lot and find the tightest possible spot for their SUV just so they can brag about how they got it in there. Don’t be that person.

6. Let pedestrians pass – Pedestrians in a parking lot are always going to be in the right if you run them over. Give them plenty of room and be prepared to let them cross when you pass the front of the store. That brings me to…

7. Move slowly – There is absolutely no reason at all to drive fast in a parking lot. Only bad things can happen when you do this, so slow down and take it easy.

8. Keep kids beside you and not pushing the cart – If you are planning on letting your small children push your shopping cart, at least wait until you are in the store and they can only knock over wine displays and banana stands. As horrible as that may be, it is better than denting that Cadillac. Keep kids right by your side for their safety as well.

9. Put your cart back – When you do come out with your shopping cart and you are ready to climb back in the car, for Heaven’s sake put the cart back in the shopping bin. Don’t leave it out there for other cars to attempt to dodge.

10. Put your finger down – Road rage is an ugly thing. Keep your wits, calm down and don’t even think about showing your finger to anyone over a parking spot. People do it all the time and it needs to stop in a civilized society!

What tips would you add to this list of parking lot etiquette? Sound off in the comments below!

Giving a Woman a Gift | Clues For The Clueless!

gift-giving-etiquette

Giving a Woman a Gift – Clues for the Clueless

Giving a woman a gift is not rocket science. Right out of the gate, however, I am going to address the elephant in the room…men are not always the most intelligent gift givers. They give out some of the most lame brained, ignorant gifts ever thought up. The problem is an old one. The Neanderthals probably thought that giving their cavewomen new rocks to ground up grains with was a great gift too. Men simply don’t get it and for good reason…their focus is usually a bit off.

Think about it….when men are buying a gift, what exactly is on their minds?

  • Are they thinking about whether the gift will get them sex?
  • Are they thinking about how it might benefit them?
  • Are they thinking only about cost?
  • Perhaps they are men of rare intelligence…it is rare that they show any.

I kid, but it does make one wonder. Giving a woman a gift is really not all that tough. Here are some tips for the clueless for giving a woman a gift:

If the gift is going to benefit you, odds are it is a bad choice.

When you pick out a gift for your woman, the key is to think about what she loves. This is not an opportunity for you to finally get her that blender she has talked about. You should buy her the blender just because, dude.

If it is see-through, you are probably headed for some trouble.

Lingerie is a gift you get because you want to make her feel special. She will not feel special if you get her lingerie for her birthday. She will see right through you. Save this for Valentine’s Day as an add-on gift with something else.

There are few things that belong in the kitchen that should be on your radar.

Do you really think we don’t know that you will be eating the results too?

Appliances will get you a black eye.

Giving a woman a gift and getting your laundry done should not be related. This goes for ovens, vacuum cleaners or toasters too.

Find something that she has talked about

Women love using code language but we are pretty direct about certain things. Items we would love to own is on that list for sure. If you have been listening, you already know what we want. If not, then there is no saving you.

Be sentimental but don’t be cheap

What is the difference?

Writing your wife a song and then performing it for her on the guitar with a nice bottle of wine at your favorite private spot is sentimental.

Giving your wife a coupon for a kiss is cheap.

Don’t confuse the two.

Giving a woman a gift is really about common sense, guys. Think about what they want, consider who the gift is going to benefit and listen to what they have recently hinted at. It really is that simple.

No go buy her something nice.

Facebook Etiquette Questions

More Facebook Etiquette Questions

Who do you turn to for Facebook etiquette questions? It is not always an easy thing knowing what to do on Facebook. More importantly, knowing what not to do can be just as trying. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there were some type of Facebook guru out there that had all the answers?

Fortunately for you, I am just that person. At least I am the best thing you have going right now, so pull up a chair. Here are some Facebook etiquette questions I have been asked along with my wise answers for your perusal:

How much sharing is too much where your own content is concerned?

I understand that need to put yourself out there. If we are creative, entrepreneurial or trying to build a brand, a Facebook presence is important. There is a fine line between putting your name and brand out there and swamping every friend you have with oceans of self-serving content. Perhaps you might consider sharing something of theirs on occasion. It is amazing what sharing the love can do for their patience when it comes to your content blasting their cell every five minutes. Share, but be considerate of others.

Is it proper to stalk the pages of high school crushes on Facebook?

Most all of us have gone hunting an ex or two to see what they look like, who they are with and how ugly they have become since they were with us. While this might be fairly normal behavior, it is not without rules. If you are going to do this sort of thing, you have to follow the most important ones. Here are the rules that can’t be broken:

  • Never spend more than five minutes looking at a picture. Then it becomes a bit weird.
  • If you feel the need to make a comment, aim it at the couple and not the ex personally.
  • Never listen to music that was popular back then…when you were with the ex.
  • Step away from the keyboard if you begin to yearn. Yearning for someone you have not spoken to since fifth grade is not going to end well….ever.

Should you share what you ate this morning, afternoon and evening?

Some people on Facebook like to post every single thing they eat. This is no big deal, but these same types generally post every single thing they do period. If they are not a chef and are including a recipe, they are probably just making me hungry for the fun of it. That is not good for anybody. What is it that they always say? Don’t poke the bear? An occasional food post is fine, but I really don’t need to hear about every last thing you eat.

Why is posting my naked, drunk by the poolside photos a bad thing on Facebook?

If I really have to answer this, you have no right to be on Facebook at all. Still, there are countless of these on Facebook for the world to see. The bottom line is that you should not be sharing anything that you would not want your mom or dad to see. Cause guess what?

They can probably see it too. Along with your boss, your pastor, your teachers, your friends, your boyfriend….get the picture?

Why is it a bad idea to “like” every status randomly for speed’s sake?

There are those out there that simply have to like every single status update that comes through their feed. It is like a contest. I was looking over my Facebook feed and in just a short five minutes, I came across the following:

  • A mother talking about the loss of a child.
  • Someone that lost her pet of 15 years.
  • Someone that broke his leg.
  • A sister that was talking about her brother that died overseas.

What do these status updates have in common? People were liking them. What is likable about these posts? Nothing! They are terrible. These are the posts where you should comfort and take the time to type a kind word or two. If not that, then type nothing at all. Rather than think that people are actually that cruel, I have to believe that they simply were running through their status updates and trying “catch up” with all their likes. This is silly. Read the status updates and then decide what is appropriate.

Is it ever a good idea to poke someone on Facebook?

Though poking is a heck of a lot of fun in real life, it is not very fun on Facebook. This feature is so antiquated it is not even funny and the joke is old too. Get rid of it!

Why do people say things on Facebook that they never would in real life?

Generally because they are cowards. If you are being brave behind a keyboard, that is just sad. Never say anything that you would not say face to face. You know who you are and you know if you are doing this. Stop it, because we usually know who you are too.

That concludes this particular session of Facebook etiquette questions. If you have any questions you would like answered, let me know in the comments below. I will try to include them next time around!

Wedding Etiquette for Step Parent

bridezillas

Step parents are a scary proposition to many wedding planners and with good reason…there are a ton of various social minefields possible when you bring parents, step parents and weddings together. While some families are fortunate enough to have good relationships with their exes new spouses, others find it to be a complete train wreck. How do you deal with these situations in weddings and how does that work?

Here are some tips for wedding etiquette for step parent:

The bride and groom are numero uno – What the bride and groom wants plays heavily into these decisions. If the groom is closer with his stepfather than his biological dad and he asks him to stand up beside him, then honor that. Likewise for the bride. When they have an opinion on the subject, it should be the overriding answer to the following issues. Otherwise, you may consider the following rules as a general guide.

Write invitations to make all happy where possible – Invitations are a tricky proposition but can be handled rather easily by simply saying “The parents of” and leaving out names. If you do list the names, go ahead and list all involved parents if needed. Brand new step parents would not need to be included in most cases nor would they expect to be.

Taking her down the aisle – This is completely up to the bride, but you certainly can involve a pair of parents. If you like, have one on either side. Step dad could bring you in and then dad could bring you the rest of the way. Whatever the case, the bride is in charge of this all the way.

Seating issues – For Heaven’s sake this one is easy but people make it so darn complicated. All you have to do is make sure they all are on the front row together. At the reception, place them at two tables, both up front and center, each with their current spouse. Seating issues should never be a problem and if they are, perhaps the adults should take a look at just who is getting married.

Loudmouths not allowed – No matter what the issues may be between parents, if they can’t get along for the wedding they should not be present. Seat them apart from one another, avoid each other and whatever else is necessary, but anyone that can’t control themselves should be asked to leave. Weddings happen only once (hopefully) and it should be a joyous occasion no matter what your family history is.

Really, wedding etiquette for step parents should boil down to the needs and wants of the bride and groom. That pretty much covers the entire issue if you are putting the focus where it should go.

Phone Interview Etiquette

talking-on-cellphone

As we move towards a more high tech future all the time, phone and web interviews are becoming more and more popular. Why not? They are convenient, can do wonders for a nervous applicant and allow employers to look at twice as many potential employees in half the time. Along with this comes a whole new set of considerations for potential employees. How do you navigate these types of interviews properly?

Here are some phone interview etiquette tips for those that are not familiar:

Keep your information handy – When you interview on the phone, you should have your resume in your lap or on the desk in front of you. Don’t leave it in a file, across the hall or anywhere else. You don’t get to put your potential employer on hold.

Ditch the cell phone – Bad connections, funky ringtones, dead batteries and similar problems can all be avoided by using the good old fashioned landline. Don’t risk it with a cell phone.

Get rid of your interruptions – If you have the ability to turn off your call waiting, do so. Make sure kids and other distractions are in another room and that you are totally freed up to deal exclusively with the interview. The last thing you or they will want is interruptions.

Write everything down – If you have it in writing in front of you, repeated questions will be unnecessary. Nobody likes to repeat themselves over and over again. As they give you pertinent information, take notes as you go.

Know what you want to ask as well – If you have questions you want answers to, have them written down as well. Trying to remember them last minute is always irritating for you and the interviewer.

Speak clearly and don’t eat anything – If you are slurping on a milkshake while you try to phone interview or crunching potato chips, you are not going to get the majority of jobs. Leave the snacks for later.

Finally, dress the part – This is common sense if you are having a video phone interview, but it holds true even when you are doing a straight phone call interview. Why? Your attitude, demeanor and tempo will be different if you are dressed for success. If you are sitting there in your Superman pajamas discussing the ability to sell life insurance to professionals, somehow I think they will know. Put on a suit or at least some nice casual clothes folks.

Phone interview etiquette is much like any other type of interview. Treat it professionally and with respect and prepare beforehand, and you will be just fine.

Do you have any tips to add?

Proper Gift Giving Etiquette

gift-giving-etiquette

Proper Gift Giving Etiquette

Giving someone a gift is not really all that tough but you would think it was rocket science on occasion. Some people are just not blessed with the gift giving gene I guess. Giving a good gift requires that we think outside of ourselves, so I guess that can trip some folks up occasionally. Also, some people just don’t have the creative mind that it takes to come up with something truly unique and exciting.

These mistakes of gift giving are generally understood, but some gift giving mistakes are simply rude. How do we navigate the waters of giving out gifts without offending? Are there rules? Here are a few tips to help you out:

Re-gifting is okay…sometimes

If you receive a gift from your Aunt Samantha in Chicago and you decide your friend in Los Angeles would like it better, go right ahead and re-gift. The key here is to make absolutely certain that your re-gifting can’t be discovered. Hurting someone in that way is unnecessary and cruel.

A late gift is better than no gift

Gifts are optional expressions of gratitude or celebrations. You are not obligated to do anything at all, but generally speaking we should gift at appropriate moments. Many people find themselves in situations where they are unable to give a gift at a given time. This leads to avoidance behavior and other stupid mistakes. Instead, apologize and send your gift later. Friends will understand and those that don’t are really not someone you need in your life anyway.

Gift cards are okay…but not supreme options

Generally speaking gift cards work just fine these days as gifts. There are some notable exceptions…the Weight Watchers gift card to your uncle who has put on a few pounds and didn’t notice yet for example. Gift Cards are awesome when you are unsure what to get, but a personal gift that you picked out yourself is always better.

Keep in mind that the receiver is the one that should be happy…not you

It is a natural instinct to inject our own thoughts and opinions when we are gift buying. Imagine you are shopping for someone that loves country music and you love metal. That would be hard to shop without your own biases sneaking in. The key is to completely turn off that part of our brain and focus entirely on what you would want if you were them. What you like doesn’t matter.

Include the gift receipt

Re-gifting happens because people get things they would never use. Why not give them the option of getting something else if they don’t like it? The key is to put the receipt in with the gift and not to make a point of identifying it. Many people point out that it is in there and it comes out wrong. Just put the receipt in there and let them do as they may.

Never give with an agenda

There are those out there that still give gifts with an agenda or an expectation of something in return. This is so tacky and it always ends up in disappointment either for the gift giver or the gift receiver. If you have an agenda, you should save your money and simply give them a hug. Agenda givers are always obvious to the receiver and it is the ultimate insult to many.

Proper gift giving etiquette is really all about considering the person you are buying for, leaving your feelings at the door and giving with a pure heart. If you do these things with regularity, the blessings will come back to you a million times over.