Etiquette is a tricky topic in today’s world. What worked a hundred years ago might not apply to current times. And while Emily Post had good intentions when she wrote her book, Etiquette, in 1922, we believe she’d also agree that revisiting some rules is completely necessary. We’ve talked a lot about our journeys to becoming Redefined Hostesses, and therefore we’re diving into redefining etiquette rules, as well. This month, we’re answering timing etiquette questions, such as: Can I show up late to an event? and Is it rude to plan a personal celebration on a holiday weekend? Read on to discover these answers and more!
Did you miss last month’s Etiquette Series post?
Check out Invitation Etiquette: Which Rules Can You Ditch and learn which rules we’ve rewritten.
Rules, Rules, Rules: Do We Even Need Them?
So many times, it’s rules that keep us from connecting. Worrying about what’s proper, if our homes are complete enough, if our hosting abilities are good enough. We always say there are no rules to hosting in your home. Set the table the way that speaks to you. Choose the decor that makes you smile. Serve the recipes that you enjoy making.
When it comes to etiquette rules, sometimes there are guidelines that are meant to foster connection through consideration for others. So, remember that some rules are malleable, allowing us to live in the gray of life, and that some might help bring you closer to loved ones. With that, let’s break down some timing etiquette questions!
Timing Etiquette: Is It Okay to Show Up Late?
(+ Other Debatable Questions)
Timing Etiquette Rule: Showing Up Late
We’ve all been there. An event starts at a particular time, and given the list of tasks you still need to check off your to-do list, you know you’re simply not going to make it on time. You do a quick calculation and determine you’ll be around 15 minutes late – or maybe a bit more? You start to wonder: is it rude to show up this late? Is it better to just not go at all?
If you’re going to be late to an event, how late is too late to show up? It depends.
There are two different kinds of showing up late.
It’s important to ask yourself why. Why are you late? Laurie, our Content Manager, admits that she used to simply always be late. It wasn’t until she saw the message it was conveying – “My time is more important than your time.” – that she decided to make changes. And, although she wasn’t meaning to give off this message, she knew she also wasn’t truly considering how other people were affected by her perpetual lateness. So, if you’re late because you perpetually run late, reassess how you’re prepping for events. Make a conscious effort to start your getting-ready process 10-15 minutes earlier. Set alarms on your phone to keep you on track. In short, tardiness that is perpetual is not a great reason to show up late.
However, if you’re late because of obstacles out of your control, your friends and family will understand. Send a text or make a quick phone call to either the hostess or another guest just to give them a heads up. This will eliminate any sort of awkwardness or uncomfortable feelings when you arrive. Life happens. Just let the hostess know that life happened to you and caused you to be late. Like we said earlier, we’ve all been there – and communication is your best bet in this situation.
In short, it is okay to show up late. We already give ourselves too many reasons not to show up. Let’s get rid of the antiquated etiquette rules that keep us from connecting. It’s better to show up late than not at all — just keep the hostess in the loop!
Timing Etiquette Rule: Including an End Time
When it comes to certain events, it’s common to see start and end times on the invitation. This gives guests an idea of how long the event will last, allowing everyone to plan their days out better. But, what if guests stay longer? And, is it proper etiquette to even request that guests leave at a certain time?
Let’s break these tricky questions down.
Is it rude to include an end time? Not at all. Listen, we all have our own style of hosting, our own commitments and busy lives, and if you want to put an end time on your event, you can do that! Giving an end time also helps your guests plan, as well. This can come in handy especially for kids’ birthday parties. Parents will be able to plan their day around the hours of the party, which, as parents ourselves, is always appreciated.
But, what do you do if guests stay past the end time? This one’s tricky. If you’re going to include an end time, you also have to accept that some guests might not leave at the requested time. Usually if there are just a few guests left, thanking them for their presence in your home is an excellent way to politely show that the special occasion is coming to a close. However, if guests still are present, try changing your mindset. Let yourself relax and embrace this extra time with friends and family. Try looking at it as a blessing and not a burden. We all could use more connection in our world of so much disconnection. Opening yourself up to this extra time spent together might actually be the perfect intimate ending to your larger gathering in your home.
Timing Etiquette Rule: Holiday Weekends + Personal Celebrations
It’s expected that you’ll have cookouts and gatherings on holiday weekends. Fourth of July, Labor Day Weekend, and so many more three-day weekends turn into memorable moments with loved ones. But, what about baby showers, bridal showers, and other celebratory special occasions being held on holiday weekends? Is it rude to ask friends and family to plan a holiday weekend around your personal celebration?
Is it okay to plan a personal celebration on a holiday weekend? Of course. After all, it’s your special occasion — but be prepared. Often times, holiday weekends are when many people plan their vacations and therefore planning your personal celebration on a holiday weekend might mean some friends and family might not be available. Typically, for any occasion, you can expect up to 20% of invited guests to decline attending, however on a holiday weekend, that percent can easily go up.
Still, if a holiday weekend celebration is what you have your heart set on, go for it! Just keep an open mind and respect those guests who might have other commitments and obligations already in place.
Timing Etiquette Rule: How Much Food Am I Expected to Serve?
When it comes to considering the time of day and type of gathering, does the amount of food expected to be served ever change? If you’re hosting an event outside of “normal” meal hours, what’s the expectation? Well, there’s a simple answer to this one.
Always provide refreshments for your guests, no matter the time of day or occasion. And, of course, if you’re hosting a dinner party, dinner is expected. But things get a bit gray when it comes to mid-morning or mid-afternoon gatherings. However, rest assured, food should always be offered. If you don’t fancy yourself a home chef or cooking stresses you out, we’ve got you covered with How to Host a Dinner Party With Little to No Cooking. (P.S. This post applies to any occasion – not just dinner parties!) But if you only plan to serve light refreshments, such as appetizers or finger foods, that’s completely fine as long as you give your guests the heads up. It’s best to state “Light refreshments will be served.” on the invitation so guests can plan accordingly. Again, clear communication is key to most of these etiquette questions, so as long as you communicate with guests, you’re good to go!
The Etiquette Rule of Thumb
You might’ve noticed there’s a lot of gray area when it comes to etiquette rules. While we can debate over which individual rules from Post’s Etiquette should be kept or not, here’s a rule of thumb to follow. If the rule has to do with other people’s perception of you, toss it. If you’re truly trying your best and have the best intentions, then don’t worry too much about etiquette. We are all trying to do our best, and friends and family will know that, especially when everyone communicates clearly.
However, if the rule has to do with considering others’ time, energy or effort, keep it.
So, get to connecting. Open your doors to loved ones. Make meaningful memories. And don’t worry about the rules so much. Be considerate. Have the best intentions. Know that life means living in the gray.
Hap-Bee Hosting, friend!
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