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Discussion Forums

The Etiquette Queen

Questions of Money


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Ask your questions of the Etiquette Queen now.
You may even see your question and answer posted in the space below.


Dave asked:

What is the proper amount to tip a valet person at a restaurant or hotel? Does it matter if the parking is free? >

The Etiquette Queen says:

Restaurant - waiters should get 15-20% of the check. Valet - $2 per car. Doesn't matter if parking is free. They are performing a service.


Sandy asked:

Who pays for food, transportation and lodging when the children invite relatives to the parents 50th wedding anniversary?

The Etiquette Queen says:

The transportation and lodging are on the invited guests. Usually there are parties that include the food such as an evening party to celebrate and a brunch the next day for out-of-towners. You can usually negotiate a block of rooms at a hotel or motel at a group rate.


Georgina asked:

Is it expected that you tip your caterer? I'm having a wine tasting party for 40 people, hors d'ouevre's will be catered. >Do I tip?

The Etiquette Queen says:

There is usually a percentage service charge included in the catering service. Find out and if there is, tipping isn't necessary. But if there isn't, do so.


Joyce asked:

A group of friends have decided on a New Years party at our home. We decided on a fairly elaborate menu and the friends will chip in. If we want to extend the invitation to others, how do >we go about letting know that others are contributing to the cost and solicit >their financial aid as well?

The Etiquette Queen says:

When you extend the invitation, tell the invitee that is a pitch-in party with everyone paying the same thing to attend. Then tell them how much and let them decide whether to attend. Be sure to tell them what is included.


Ami asked:

When dining with a certain friend we sometimes forget to separate the bill.. (she is a bartender and relies on tips for income) she always grabs the bill and divvies up the charges and adds my part of the tip... only she has me leave 20-25% as well as herself. I believe that kind of tip is only warranted by super service ..sometimes not what we are>given. I give 15% tip and always polite I clean up after my child eats and I give 20% when necessary. Although I don't think a tip of 50% is >necessary I usually do it anyway for the sake of argument help!!! >

The Etiquette Queen says:

Boy are you easily intimated. If this happens all of the time, simply ask your server before ordering to give you separate checks. That way you can tip the way you see fit and so can she. If she won't do that or the restaurant doesn't do that, you get the check first and make the decision for yourself. If you don't stick up for you, no one will. Explain to her that over tipping someone else doesn't put anything in her pocket.


Ted asked:

My daughter is having her Bat Mitzvah party next week. We have heard that we should tip the catering manager (who we have been working closely with) of the hotel where we are having the party. What is an appropriate amount? >

The Etiquette Queen says:

I have only worked with caterers who have the service charge included (the tipping of the help). If you feel that this person went above and beyond what they should do, go ahead and tip. There is no appropriate amount.


Scarlette asked:

My finance and I are getting married Jan 1, 2000. We are both >39 yrs old. He still lives at home and I have 1 daughter at home (12) and >one daughter lives with her dad (17 yrs) This is my second wedding and his >first. Is anyone supposed to help us pay for the wedding? We are very >tight on funds but would like to dress in formal wedding attire with one >bridesmaid and one groomsmen no catered reception (we can't afford it) a >wedding cake and a photographer. We are just planning a fellowship at the >church with cake and punch immediately following the ceremony. Our >honeymoon will be at his parents cottage (cost free). My question is who >should help us pay? What is the role of his parents and what would the >role of my parents be? My parents would rather us elope and don't know >why we have to have a "wedding". Is anyone supposed to give us a shower? >DO I ask them to give us a shower. We don't need housekeeping stuff but >cash would be nice so we could at least s! >! >tart out our lives together with no debts from the wedding. We are doing >things as cheaply as we can. Who pays for flowers?, corsages? Do I put >my 12 yr old in a formal dress? Do I have to ask one of my sisters or my >17 yr old daughter to be my b'maid or can I ask a friend. What if no >one can afford to be a b'maid? Are we to ask his parents to help pay? >(they are well aware of our plans by now and know we are having a tough >time financially and haven't made any offers. I know this is a lot to >answer but please help ASAP.. Time is running out. thx a million > >

The Etiquette Queen says:

At your age, no one need help you pay, just do what you can afford. Each of your parents should just enjoy the ceremony as special guests and you might want to mention them in your vows. As for a shower, it would be nice if your friends would get together to give you one but there is no "supposed to" when giving is involved. You can't ask for cash directly but maybe a good friend could circulate that information. If you can afford a new dress for your daughter, buy one but don't make it a bridesmaid one because she'll never wear it again. Make it something she can use again. You pay for the dress and also the flowers. As far as being a bridesmaid, if you do the wedding in black and white, whoever stands up for you need only wear a good looking black dress (something she'll wear again. I don't know your relationship with your older daughter but I would include her if at all possible. It would be nice to have both your daughters standing up for you. The bottom like is this: As long as you say the vows in front of those who love you, the other stuff is not important. If you love each other and each other's family, everything will work out. There is no need to do anything you can't afford.


Nicole asked:

I am preparing invitations for a Surprise birthday party held at a restaurant. Should I include the menu options in the invitation? Also, is there a way to let people know that they are responsible for the meal, tax and tip? I've had bad experiences. >

The Etiquette Queen says:

Include the meal options with the price of each. that will do two things: let them know the price of the item they pick and also that they are paying for it. I can't believe that anyone paying for a meal would not include tax and tip but ask the wait staff to give separate checks.


TNH asked:

If you are having a baby shower at a restaurant, who pays for >the food? Each guest or the person's) hosting the event? >

The Etiquette Queen says:

It could go either way. If you are all ordering off the menu, each guest should pay for her meal. If you have a private room with a set menu, they you pay. The beverages and dessert should be on the hostess.


Kristi Thomas asked:

I am having a bachelorette party for my best friend. There will be about 20 adult guests. I am going to have some adult entertainment (male dancer) and want to know if it is proper etiquette or OK to write on the invitation $10 for entertainment and food or something like that to help cover the costs of the party. Your comments please.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not ask. I have always been asked to chip in.


Keri Cook asked:

Help....I'm having a bachlorette party. We are renting a >bus. How do I tell the guest that they have to pay to ride the bus? >I would like to put in on the invitation. How can I do this?

The Etiquette Queen says:

After the regular info, date, time, place, etc. put $____ per person for bus rental.


DeAnna asked:

I recently received an invitation to a surprise 40th wedding anniversary dinner (hosted by adult children) requesting $25/person to attend. Is this socially acceptable???

The Etiquette Queen says:

They are really asking you to help pay for the food. This is just fine. Go if they are friends of yours and have a great time.


MAGGIE asked:

My siblings and I are planning a 75th Birthday for my>Mom. We are planning to put, "No Gifts, please". I know that some people will bring something regardless. How can I say that we do not expect gifts, but to save those who feel they MUST bring something that there is a Peggy Read Vacation Fund, (a money tree). > >Thanks, > >MAGGIE

The Etiquette Queen says:

The only way to say it is to say it. Make an invitation with a travel destination on it and tell the guests your intentions.


MAGGIE asked:

I read thru the advice you had written others and still>had a couple questions of my own. My four siblings and I are throwing a 75th Birthday party for my mom. You had advised those who wanted to ask for help in paying for the party to include a separate card telling the recipient the price per >person. You also suggested to a someone who wanted a money tree to >insert a card telling people you had established a "Person's Name >Vacation Fund". If I wanted to use both of these options for our >party, does >that mean I would have to insert a response card and a "Fund" card >in the invitation? >Since it is a Luau theme, where on the invitation do I state that >guests should dress in Hawaiian clothing? > > >Should you invite people who you know won't show up just so they >know they were thought of? > >Thanks, > >Maggie

The Etiquette Queen says:

You can't have it both ways. What are you siblings doing if the guests are paying for their dinner and a gift? Don't do both, pick one and stick to it. As for letting the guests know what to wear and the theme, use a Hawaiian motif in your invitation and write that it's a "Luau for a Duo"


JULIE asked:

IT WILL BE MY PARENTS 40TH ANNIVERSARY, WE WOULD LIKE TO >SEND THEM ON A TRIP, CAN WE ASK FOR DONATIONS TO THAT CAUSE? AND HOW >DO WE DO THAT WITHOUT OFFENDING ANYONE?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It is very hard to ask people who aren't related to give you money for this. Do your parents have a couple they are very close to? If so, ask them to help you. There is no way to ask for donations. That is a poor choice of words. Put it as a gift of a trip.


JULIE asked:

IT WILL BE MY PARENTS 40TH ANNIVERSARY, WE WOULD LIKE TO >SEND THEM ON A TRIP, CAN WE ASK FOR DONATIONS TO THAT CAUSE? AND HOW >DO WE DO THAT WITHOUT OFFENDING ANYONE?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It is very hard to ask people who aren't related to give you money for this. Do your parents have a couple they are very close to? If so, ask them to help you. There is no way to ask for donations. That is a poor choice of words. Put it as a gift of a trip.


Pam asked:

The hotel where I'm planning a bar mitzvah charges a fee for valet parking. ($4/car) What is the proper etiquette? Do I, as host, have to pay, or is it reasonable to expect guests to pay for parking?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It is really up to you to pay for valet parking. Usually, the guests are given a parking voucher either after they arrive or in the invitation when it is mailed out. That way the parking service knows they are with your group and do not hassle them.


Rena asked:

Comments = EQ, I am having a bridal luncheon for my soon to be sister-in-law at a pricey restaurant. How do I word it on the invitations that everyone is expected to pay for their own lunch as well as chip in for a portion of the guest of honor? Thanks for your help! Rena

The Etiquette Queen says:

Rena...I am asked this question frequently, so don't feel "inadequate"--if you know what I mean. One way to do it politely is to say, "separate checks will be provided..." Once your invitee sees that it will be very clear that they are paying for their own dinner. Another way might be to make a "one price" cost with the restaurant and add to the bottom of the invitation..."cost, $25 per person"--either way, most people understand how pricey it is to entertain today and will be more than happy to pay their share. After all, it's better than paying for the whole thing (and they could have chosen that option and didn't!)... Have fun.


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