Formal Titles: Mr. Former President

Q. What is the president called when he leaves office?

A. The President does not retain his title when he leaves office. Therefore, President Obama will be known as Mr. Obama when his term has ended.

Surprise Party: A Party for Parents Only

Q. I am planning a surprise party for my husband’s 40th that will be poolside at a Community Center from 5 pm to 10 pm. I do not want partygoers to bring their children. How do you suggest I say this in the invitation?

A. “Adults Only” or “No children, please” should never be written on an invitation to a party or wedding. The manner in which an invitation is addressed determines exactly who, and by omission who is not, invited.

Gifting for the Bride: A Glut of Gifts

Q. If I am invited to a bachelorette party, then a bridal shower THEN the actual wedding (all for the same person), do I need to bring a gift to each?

A. While an invitation to a bachelorette party do not come with a gift obligation, both the bridal shower and wedding invitations do necessitate that you take two separate gifts.

Wedding Woes: No Children Allowed (Please!)

Q. I am getting married in October and I have made it clear to all of my friends with children that this is not a wedding that can accommodate children (we are getting married outside near a large body of water and I am really just thinking of the children’s safety).

This is a destination wedding and apparently a friend has told several of her friends she is going to bring her child to Florida and deal with babysitters once she gets there. I am worried that she won’t find a babysitter and will ultimately bring her child to both the rehearsal and the wedding.

How do I deal with this situation? I have already hinted that the children are not welcome, but I don’t think it is getting through to this guest.

A. This is surely an uncomfortable situation for you, and one that will require tact as well as honest. If you are already hinting to your friend who is not picking up on your hints, you need to sit down with her and be direct and straightfoward about your concerns, while at the same time being polite and sensitive. Perhaps together you could come up with a mutually acceptable arrangement, and you could even help her organize childcare rather than leaving it to her to “deal with” when she gets there.

Wedding Announcements: Tricky Wording

Q. My roommate is getting married very soon and we are having trouble with the wording for the marriage announcements. Both her and her fiancé’s fathers are deceased. My roommate’s mother has not remarried, but her fiancé’s mother has. Her fiancé wishes to include both his father’s and stepfather’s names on the announcement, and my roommate of course wants to include both of her parents names. How can this be done?

A. If you are referring to a printed announcement that will be mailed after the wedding takes place, the announcement may be worded as follows (this is not an example of traditional wording, as they are traditionally sent in the names of the bride’s parents only):

Sally Jane Doe

daughter of Mrs. Nancy Doe

and the late Mr. Charles Smith Doe

was married to

Mr. Howard Robert Jones

son of Mr. and Mrs. (Stepfather’s First and Last Name)

and the late Mr. Elliot Ray Jones

Saturday, the twelfth of October

two thousand and fifteen

Mansfield, Pennsylvania

Attending a Funeral: When a Coworker Passes Away

Q. What is the rule of thumb when a co-worker dies? Does everyone attend the funeral or is it appropriate to sit it out if I didn’t know the person well?

A. There is no traditional rule of etiquette, which suggests what action is appropriate when a coworker dies. Common sense says that if you knew the person and were compelled to pay your respects, you should have attended the funeral services. However, if you were unsure of the right course of action, perhaps consulting with your supervisor or other colleague may have helped you make the right decision.

Generous Hosts: Thank Them Properly

Q. My husband and I are expecting our third and some close friends recently had a very nice baby shower for us. We feel that just writing a simple thank you note is not enough. Is it appropriate to give a token of our thanks to our friends who hosted this shower other than a card?

A. Not only is it appropriate to give the hosts of your shower a thank you gift along with a note, it is proper etiquette for you to do so! The more personal the gift, the more sincere and thoughtful it is, and thereby the more meaningful it will be to your hosts. A floral arrangement is always appropriate, as is a gift certificate for a local restaurant, movie tickets, or anything that will have personal meaning to the individuals.

Destination Wedding: Whom can I invite to the engagement party?

Q. I am getting married in October and I am having a small destination wedding of about 100 people. Some of my parents’ friends are throwing us a large engagement party in September. Is it okay to invite people to this party who I am not inviting to the wedding?

I was thinking I would do this instead of sending out announcements. I would rather ask people to come to a party than to not involve them at all.

A. Usually, one only invites intimate friends and family to an engagement party, but in this case, since you are having a small destination wedding, it is fine to have a large engagement party to spread the news and involve others in your happiness. Best wishes!