In these changing times, we are all minding our P’s and Q’s, thanks to our Etiquette Guy, Jay Remer, who is on the scene to help us through some socially delicate situations that may occur.

Dear Etiquette Guy,

I realize we all must be flexible post COVID, yet are there any new rules to canceling plans last minute not due to a family or personal emergency?

Places To Be

Dear Busy Bee,

We should only cancel plans last minute when necessary. Nothing has changed about that. However, we are not post-COVID yet–don’t be fooled. Many people still treat this virus as a serious health risk. Therefore, if you test positive or have symptoms, let your host know as soon as possible. Some people believe we’ve reached the point where we’ll need to adjust to mingling without masks in large groups, while others are still cautious due to personal health issues. The host will let you know how they feel about your attendance. If your position is you’ll stay home because you’ve been exposed, then that’s a decision they should honor. Allow common sense and your intuition to guide your decisions.


Dear Etiquette Guy,

Thanks to the increase in social events, what is the protocol for accepting two invitations on the same evening that are guest-manageable from a timing standpoint? For example, cocktails at one function and dinner (or a gala attendance) at another?

Being There, Doing That

Dear Social Butterfly,

Accepting multiple invitations for the same evening is nothing unusual, busy bee. Typically, invitations rarely arrive on the same day, but either way, send your acceptance to your host as soon as you make your decision. Gala hosts often collaborate with friends to host a pre-gala drinks party, which often adds to the momentum of the evening, creating the magic everyone loves. During the height of any social season, multiple invitations will conflict. Be sure if you accept any invitation, you attend the party. Deciding between events can be a challenge, and sometimes less is more. But when the spirit moves and time allows, fill your boots.


Dear Etiquette Guy,

A great pal from college has begun a new liquor company and has generously offered to supply his product at my wedding, gratis. The trouble is that my fiancé doesn’t like it at all. What do you recommend? 

Groom To Be

Dear Getting Groomed,

Honesty is always the best policy. Your fiancé’s preference trumps your pal’s generous offer when it comes to any wedding plans. Part of starting a new business is generating leads and what better way to do this than at a party? Perhaps you could offer to showcase his new product line on a more informal occasion. You have the upper hand here, so he feels congratulatory and kind, because overriding your fiancé’s wishes could spell disaster. My recommendation is to avoid the avoidable.


Dear Etiquette Guy,

Since outdoor entertaining is everywhere now, not all guests offer dishes that the majority would like. How do I gently persuade the guest to bring something else instead that might be more of a fan favorite?

Getting My Grill On

Dear Potluck Host,

Coordination is key to the success of any gathering where food from multiple sources is the flavor of the day. As the host, you can guide everyone’s choices. You will undoubtedly lean on one guest or another for their favorite dessert or potato salad. As the host, you may want to be responsible for one or more of the main courses and invite your guests to fill in around those selections. If someone suggests an anchovy pie, and you know that won’t be a hit, feel free to suggest something else. However, I caution you from being too quick to reject any offerings. You never know who might relish trying a new dish. Not everything needs to please everyone­–it rarely does. The choice is yours as host, and again, I defer to one’s common sense and intuition–they can be your best friends when making these calls.