Listen to Dawn on Big Blend Radio discussing Wedding Toasts.
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BE SURE YOU KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Looking for a fascinating read, interesting stuff, better understanding of elite societies? Or a brief vicarious journey into their exclusive cultures and private worlds? This invaluable resource goes beyond the traditional rules of etiquette to explain the often unvoiced customs that demonstrate belonging and respect within various cultures.
The first book of its kind, this informative guide provides the reader with the social behaviors needed to communicate within various elite cultures. An invitation to a golf tournament, the opera, a formal banquet, a polo match, a wedding or funeral, a yacht, afternoon tea, or a wine tasting will no longer be worrisome or discomfiting. Whether host, guest, or spectator, you will find the appropriate conduct, dress, courtesies, guidelines, and terminology to help you feel comfortable in almost any setting. For each particular situation, ELITE ETIQUETTE explains everything you: Need to Know; May Want to Know; May Find Helpful to Know; and Must Not Do. Whoever aspires to elevate or strengthen business or social relationships must understand the rules, courtesies and expectations that identify membership within these elite groups.
Description from Amazon.com
“Here’s to the bride and groom, a case of love, pure and simple: Bride is pure and groom is simple.” Anonymous
Associated with joyous occasions, the perfect toast can set the mood for the event and create memories for the future. However, unlike most speeches, the wedding toast often becomes the occasion when a reluctant, bashful person is called upon to speak eloquently in the spotlight.
From engagement parties to rehearsal dinners, there are many opportunities for multiple toasting—some of which follow tradition and all of which are meant to celebrate the wedding couple. At the engagement party, the father of the bride proposes the first toast to his daughter and future son-in-law. Usually the father of the groom responds with the next toast. Rehearsal dinner party toasts are a more casual opportunity for friends and family to toast the couple, often with personal stories. They typically feature toasts from parents to parents, parents to couple, and best man to groom. Bridal showers, bridesmaid brunches, and bachelorette/bachelor parties are also toasting possibilities.
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TOASTING: TRADITIONAL WEDDING RECEPTION ETIQUETTE
Along with coordinating everything else, the bride (sometimes with wedding planner) has the responsibility of officially inviting individuals to toast/speak as well as scheduling the program. If you are a member of the wedding party (or very special friend/relative) who would like to say a few words, but haven’t been asked, speak briefly. Sometimes others are asked to speak on behalf of someone who cannot be there.
Although many modern brides give brief responses or toast, the bride is not expected to make a long speech.
Wedding toasts/speeches are usually given following the meal; however, presenters may find the meal and festivities more enjoyable, if they speak prior to the meal. This could also ensure that speakers are more coherent—but the guests might be less merry and receptive.
If there is a toastmaster/master of ceremonies (professional or not), prior to the event he/she needs to know who is speaking, order of speeches, and time/s at which speeches will be made. Often the best man serves this function. Proper wedding reception toasting usually follows a certain procedure: Best Man; Father of the Groom; Father of the Bride; Groom; Bride (if she wishes); Bridesmaids; Mother of the Groom; Mother of the Bride; Special Friends/Relatives; Others. The order may change just as long as all speakers are aware of who is saying what…and in what order. The Father of the Bride is responsible for welcoming groom’s parents and all other guests. The Groom thanks his parents and thanks guests for their gifts and good wishes. In some cultures, it is customary for the groom to present small keepsakes/gifts to both mothers. The Groom may also propose the toast of the bridesmaids to which the Best Man usually responds with humor.
Toasts may be made to the Bride or Groom individually or as a couple
HOW TO TOAST
–Prepare and rehearse
–If delivering the principal toast, think of it as a very short speech
–Be sure all guests have been served drinks.
–Always stand and ask others to stand.
–Hold your glass by the stem and raise it to shoulder height. You may toast with a non-alcoholic drink.
–Make eye contact with the person/s you are toasting.
–Be gracious—the recipient/s should feel honored and acknowledged.
–Sentiments should be heartfelt and specific to the toastee/s.
–Including a personal observation, remark, or a touch of humor usually makes for a more interesting toast.
–Keep it short, simple, and in good taste.
HOW TO RECEIVE A TOAST:
–Look at and listen to person giving the toast.
–Stay seated and smile with appreciation.
–You may respond by thanking the presenter, and may also recognize, thank , or honor others at this time.
–Speak for longer than 4 minutes.
–Try to attract attention for your toast by using your glassware or flatware.
–Drink when a toast is offered to you.
–Deliver a toast to yourself.
–Propose or deliver a roast instead of a toast.
–Make the toast too personal.
–Use/make/allude to jokes that only a few present would understand.
–Clink glasses in a formal situation, unless customary/expected within that culture.
When you feel the need to offer a spontaneous toast or are suddenly asked to deliver one, remember all you need are a raised glass and a few complimentary words.
SECOND/THIRD MARRIAGE TOAST: “Here’s to the triumph of hope over experience.” Anonymous
Definition: The first day of May which has always been strongly associated with flowers and frequently includes the giving of May Day Baskets.
Provenance: Celebration of May Day began as pagan festivals, celebrating spring and fertility. May 1 was one of the most important holidays of the year for the Druids of the British Isles; they believed that the day divided the year in half. When the Romans came to occupy the British Isles, they brought new traditions. Their early May was devoted to a 5-day celebration called Floralia in honor of Flora, the goddess of flowers. Ancient customs that still survive in various parts of the world include the dawn gathering of blossoms, flowers, and branches; the decking of and dancing around a maypole; the crowning of the Queen of the May; the Morris Dance (men dancing together in animal costumes); the making of garlands; the hanging of May baskets on the doorknobs of friends and neighbors; washing one’s face with May dew which supposedly has the power to maintain/restore beauty–according to American folklore, girls living in the Ozark Mountains believed that washing their faces with this dew would help them to find and marry the man of their choice.
Image Credit: anoteoffriendship.blogspot.com
May Baskets are not only a celebration of spring but a celebration of giving. The basket filled with flowers–and sometimes other small gifts –is quietly, and supposedly secretly, placed on someone’s doorstep or hung on his/her door knob. Especially popular among children and young
1. How to Care for Cut Flowers:
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–Because they require a healthy environment, be sure that your container is free from the bacteria that can clog the stem, preventing circulation of water and nutrients. Scrub or rinse containers with mild solution of chlorox bleach before or after each use. Also give your flowers clean well-ventilated air, as smoke and other pollutants will shorten their lives.
–Flowers respond to the temperature of the water they are placed into. Warm water encourages them to open/grow; and cool water slows their development, adding longevity.
–Always cut stems on an angle while under running water, exposing a larger surface. Use a sharp knife, as snipping stems with a scissors can pinch off the channels through which the water is conducted. When cutting tulips, removing all white portions of the stem will allow better fluid intake.
–Remove all foliage from stems which will be under water, as this will discourage bacteria from forming.
–Flower preservatives can prolong the life of your flowers. Most of them contain ingredients which keep the flowers’ energy level high (sugar), inhibit the growth of bacteria, and lower the Ph factor, enhancing water/nutrient uptake. Follow the instructions carefully.
–Many flower arrangers have their own “tried-and-true” methods of extending flower life. These range from bleach, sugar, crushed aspirin, pinch of salt and baking powder, soda, and copper pennies to various combinations. Some claim that using hairspray on the blooms will extend their attractive lives.
–Take care when combining daffodils in a bouquet, as they exude a sap that clogs the stems of other flowers (especially tulips) that can cause the other flowers to wilt. If you do include them, first soak them in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar for at least 12 hours to leach the harmful sap out of the stems.
–Keep flowers away from direct sunlight, drafts and heating/air conditioning vents; don’t set on top of TV; don’t place close to burning candles. They will enjoy being spray misted.
–Every 2 or 3 days give flower stems a fresh cut, clean out the container, and replace the water/solution to increase hydration.
–Remove flowers that wilt early from an arrangement because they give off ethylene gas (used in commercial ripening) which will cause the remainder of the flowers to wilt sooner.
–Mist full strength lemon juice on gardenias to prevent them from browning.
–When using tulips in an arrangement, dip tulips which have reached the openness you desire into beaten egg whites to prevent their opening any further.
Image Credit: www.nrgetics.com
–Health Benefits–The presence of flowers improves emotional health and helps to relieve stress. A team of researchers at Rutgers University explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction. The recently-published study showed that 1. Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness–a universal reaction; 2. Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods; 3. Flowers make intimate connections, their presence increasing contact with family and friends. The study also concluded that flowers are a symbol for sharing, especially the sharing of space.
Image Credit: howtopreserveflowers.com
–When working with gardenias or stephanotis, you can prevent browning by first wetting your hands so that the oil from your skin will not touch the petals.
–If you plan to eventually dry your flowers/arrangement, look for plants that are interesting in shape, texture, or color once dried. Choose plants that will retain their shape and not fall apart or disintegrate.
–If you have no commercial preservative, make your own by placing 1 teaspoon sugar and a few drops of chlorine bleach into the water.
–To straighten bent tulips, wrap the stems tightly in damp newspaper, secure with a rubber band, and stand in lukewarm water with light directly above them for a couple of hours.
–Because tulips continue to grow even after being cut, it is best to change water and cut stems daily.
Image Credit: caminhospagao.blogspot.com
–The Pilgrims of the New World observed May Day for awhile until Governor John Endicott (a Puritan) ordered all Maypoles burned down.
–May Day in England is a bank holiday; in France, it includes a procession for the Virgin Mary.
–May baskets can be made or constructed of almost anything–paper or plastic cups, oatmeal boxes, cartons, baskets, vases, pitchers, construction paper, grocery store berry baskets, flower pot, small pail, watering can… Decorated paper cones used as flower containers are called tussie mussies.
–In 2010 Girl Scouts in West Bend, Wisconsin made May Day baskets containing fresh flowers for the surprised residents of local hospitals and nursing homes. It was such a success that they have continued each year.
–Leaving an anonymous May Day Basket is considered “a random act of kindness”.
HAPPY MAY DAY!
Listen to Dawn on Big Blend Radio discussing Yo-Yo’s
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Listen to Dawn talk about teaching Charm School classes on McIntire in the Morning on Talk Radio 790 KABC
Thursday, February 21st, Dawn is featured on Big Blend Radio on Fine Dining Etiquette.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Charm School Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Charm School Program with Featured Guest and Quality Expert Dawn Bryan
-The three-day celebration of courses will be held January 29 – February 1st, including a Business Etiquette Dinner, 20th Anniversary Reception, and Charm School on February 1st, 2013-
Boston, Massachusetts, January 28, 2013 – Quality Expert and bestselling author Dawn Bryan has been tapped to be a featured guest and special instructor at this year’s 20th Anniversary celebration of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Charm School.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of M.I.T. Charm School, originally started in 1993 by Dr. Travis Merritt. The popular Charm School mini classes take place on February 1st from 12 – 4 PM. Students earn a Ch.D., or Doctoral Degree in Charm.
For this year’s 20th Anniversary, featured guest and special instructor, Dawn Bryan, will host a special Business Etiquette Dinner on Wednesday, January 30th and will give the keynote address and teach four classes at Charm School on Friday, February 1st.
A special celebratory 20th Anniversary reception is scheduled for Thursday, January 31st at 6:30 PM at the R&D Commons, in the Ray and Maria Stata Center, at M.I.T. Chris Colombo, Dean for student life, and Larry Bacow, former Chancellor at M.I.T. will speak about the rich tradition of Charm School. The reception will feature a specialty cake designed by celebrity baker and couture cake maker Maria Nitti, owner of Isabella’s Creations. The cake will be in the shape and design of the Charm School 20th Anniversary logo.
Graduation will commence on Friday, February 1st at 4:00 PM. This will include the presentation of diplomas, which will be signed and presented to students.
About Dawn Bryan
Dawn Bryan’s impressive career includes being selected as a spokesperson and consultant on international protocol for many luxury brands including Gucci, Neiman Marcus, American Express, Hammacher Schlemmer, Citicorps/Diners Club, Swarovski Crystal, and Waterford Wedgewood. Dawn is the author of the best-selling The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving (Bantam) and has authored many articles, columns and books on the subjects of etiquette, gift-giving and the quality of things for Business Week, Town & Country, Vogue and Glamour among others. Her new book Elite Etiquette will be available Spring 2013. She founded TheQualipedia.com, a website for gifting, protocol, quality and conscious choice. Dawn’s husband, John Casey, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
About MIT Charm School
Professor Travis Merritt founded the Charm School in 1993, recognizing that to achieve credibility in this global economy even the best technical skills must be combined with the soft skills of good manners, and that an exceptional education for future business and industry leaders must include an understanding of protocol, communication, and diversity. Since 1993 the popularity of Charm School has blossomed into a full-fledged community event with students, staff, and faculty participating.
The expected ritual of holiday tipping need not be awkward, uncertain, or stressful. Because many service people with whom we deal on a regular basis throughout the year expect to be recognized with cash, determining the correct amount can be tricky. Each season brings a plethora of general guides for allocating your tip money; however, these amounts will vary considerably from community to community.
All tipping should take into account length of time they have worked for you; frequency of their service (daily, weekly, monthly); quality of service and personalized attention; extra services they may provide, and—most important– your relationship with them.
Because you are expressing gratitude, a note or card is what makes your gift special. In general, cash is the most impersonal gift, a gift certificate is more personal, and the chosen, wrapped gift the most personal. A thoughtful gift not only says “thank you”, but demonstrates that you have taken the time to know them as individuals.
Here’s some tipping do’s and don’ts from The Qualipedia Founder, Dawn Bryan.
–Make a list and create a plan of action early in the season. In this tough economy, you may have to decide which people are the most important to you before allocating your budget.
–Keep list of your tipping—whether cash or gift–from year to year. Although you may forget, the recipient probably will not.
–Try to give all end-of-the-year gifts graciously in person.
–Present gifts of cash and gift certificates as early in the season as possible, as some recipients may be depending on them for holiday gifts or spending.
–Child care providers, nannies, and teachers appreciate gifts selected or suggested by your children. These could be in addition to your gift.
–Gifts of food should be selected with the recipient’s diet, food preferences/allergies, entertaining needs, and schedule in mind. Otherwise they will surely be re-gifted.
–If you would like to give more but cannot this year. Do not apologize, but thank recipients—in person and/or with a note. Then say that you hope to be able to do more for them next year. Or say that their gift will be coming soon, perhaps for another occasion, such as a birthday or the Chinese New Year.
–Give money or gifts to employees of a company unless you are certain that their policy allows it.
–Give gifts worth more than $20 to postal workers. They are not allowed to receive cash, gift certificates, or gift cards. A special gift: a letter of appreciation addressed to the postmaster of the local office to be added to their personnel file.
–Gift your boss, except in unusual circumstances, as this could be seen as bribery. A group gift will prevent competitive gift giving at the office.
–Give cash to teachers or other professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, nurses, financial planners, etc. However, sometimes parents may join to give a collective gift to a teacher.
–When tipping the same individuals annually, do not set up expectations that you may not be able to meet the next year.
– Present the tip in such a way that you make the recipient feel like a charity case.
Happy Holidays from The Qualipedia!
Fall is officially here with its crisp air reminding us to pull out the warm woolies, and sip a piping hot cup of tea. Dawn Bryan, founder of The Qualipedia, shares some fantastic tips to help welcome in this chilly time of year with an unforgettable tea party.
TEA PARTY THEMES:
There are a variety of ways to throw a tea party. You could go the classic English tea party route, or you could throw all the rules out the window and host a memorable tea party, which does not have to adhere to any of the traditional rules and leaves a lasting impression on your guests. Non-traditional tea soirées can be anything you choose: formal, informal, for a few guests or a hundred. Consider a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with hat decorating elements, or a fall hat exchange, or chill out with guests and have a yoga instruction followed by a traditional Zen tea ceremony.
Most tea foods are bite-size fingers foods. However, you can update the three course tradition with your favorite mini foods. Consider a gorgeous spread of nuts and dried fruits, kabobs, cheese plates, filo puffs or yummy Spanish tapas instead of the traditional small sandwiches and scones.
- Choose from many different teas including white, green, herbal, Darjeeling, and oolong among them
- Check instructions for selected tea, as teas vary in their brewing time
- Start all teas with cold fresh water
- Place 2 or 3 tea bags into pot of hot water to steep
- Cover the pot or cup while tea is steeping
- Remove loose leaf tea leaves immediately after steeping or if using tea bags squeezing the tea bag after putting it directly into a cup is a no-no, allow it to drip briefly into cup while removing
Many tea drinkers prefer their tea served plain; however, you should have sugar and other sweeteners, various milks and lemons available for your guests. Tip: Milk goes best with black teas and traditional English teas, and lemon with Chinese.
So gather your friends and host what is sure to be one of the enjoyable parties of the season!
Happy autumn from The Qualipedia.
It’s that time of year again for the college students to head off to school—this can be exciting, but also nerve racking. Help ease their minds and get them prepared for the year with some fun gift ideas from Dawn Bryan, founder of The Qualipedia.
Fund Their New Expenses:
- Coin bank filled with quarters for laundry or parking meters
- Car parking fee for the first semester
- Gift certificate to school bookstore for books and supplies
- Coupons for local carwash
- Gift certificate to a shopping website or local store for bedding and other linens
- Footlocker or chest for storage, which can also be used as a table
- Laundry bag with supply of detergents
- Cooking basics, such as frying pan, knives, and mixing bowls
- Subscription to hometown newspaper or magazine
- Framed photos of loved ones and friends
- Calendar marked with birthdays, anniversaries, etc. of family and friends
- Season (or single) tickets to school games
- Passes to local driving range, movie house, or concert
- Membership to a local museum, sports club, or gym
- First shares of stock, along with a subscription to investor news
Going off to college is a big transition for anyone, but with these thoughtful and fun gift ideas you’ll surely make your favorite student’s transition much easier.
Happy back to school shopping from The Qualipedia!
Summer is in full swing and there are still many weeks left to enjoy the bounty of beautiful, wild, and not-so-wild flowers that the season has to offer. However, knowing how to pick flowers in nature or at your local store can be a little tricky, and keeping them fresh and healthy for any extended amount of time can be even trickier. Dawn Bryan, founder of The Qualipedia, gives some great advice on how to pick, clip, arrange, and keep your fresh summer flowers looking lovely for these long summer days.
Selecting Your Flowers:
· Look for firm stems, healthy leaves, and plump flowers with upright petals
· Select flowers with petals that have the most brilliant color and that are erect
· Choose flowers that are just beginning to show signs that they are opening
Prepping Your Flowers:
· Cut your stems under running water at an angle using a sharp knife
· Remove leaves, that will be submerged, to prevent bacteria from forming
· Place your flowers in clean cool water (to slow their growth) or in warm water (to encourage them to open)
Caring for Your Flowers:
· Keep flowers out of direct sunlight, heating/air conditioning vents, and objects that have a tendency to emit heat
· Trim the stems and replace water in your vase with fresh water every couple of days
· Remove wilted flowers from the arrangement to keep the rest of your arrangement looking fresh
There are also many health benefits that come with keeping fresh flowers around you. Flowers help to improve emotional health and relieve stress. A team of researchers at Rutgers University explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction. They recently published a study that showed that: flowers have an immediate impact on happiness (apparently this is universal reaction); they have a long-term positive effect on people’s moods; and their presence has been shown to increase contact with family and friends. They also concluded that flowers are a symbol for sharing, especially the sharing of space.
So spruce your home for the summer with a gorgeous arrangement of fresh summer flowers and improve your mood and your view!
Happy summer from The Qualipedia!
Watermelons are considered to be the quintessential summer food staple. With so many choices out there, finding, storing, preparing, and serving a melon can be daunting. Here are Dawn’s tips:
- To find your juiciest watermelon you first must look at the coloring: it should have bright firm skin, be symmetrical, and free of cuts, major bruises and scars
- Pick up the watermelon to feel whether it is heavy. The heavier the melon the more water it contains, which translates to a very luscious fruit
- Make sure that you pick a melon that is the right size for your needs — you don’t want to waste any juicy bite
- The last test you need is the thumping method. You want to hold the watermelon close to your ear, thump it, and listen for a hollow sound. This means that you’ve got yourself a good melon
If your watermelon isn’t quite ready to cut open and serve, make sure that you store it at room temperature, giving it time to reach its prime ripeness. However, if you have a melon that’s ready to eat you can cool it off in your fridge for a couple of hours so that when you’re ready to serve it, it’s ice cold and delicious. Be sure to wrap all your leftovers in plastic and keep them in the refrigerator.
USES AND RECIPES:
There are a variety of ways you can eat– and drink—this tasty fruit. While biting into an icy chunk of watermelon is very refreshing, there are also new recipes you can try to spruce up the ways you enjoy this summertime staple. Here are a few recipe links to help you cool off on these hot summer days:
Watermelon Mojito Popsicles so you can cool down and cut loose
Watermelon Keg great for those late evening outdoor soirées
Watermelon Smoothie that help brighten your skin and your day
Watermelon and Feta Salad a light and refreshing summer meal
Have a delicious summer from The Qualipedia!
Summer is finally here and with it brings the coveted outdoor entertaining season. Dawn Bryan, founder of The Qualipedia, offers some basic summer party hosting tips that will also turn your outdoor event into a spectacular evening.
- Arrange guests in small comfortable groups, to foster mingling (this can be done with small tables or even over-sized grass blankets with filled baskets anchoring the corners)
- Offer fun water toys/floats for parties with a pool
- Enhance ground seating with rugs, pillows, or blankets
- Serve up a rain date on the invite so there is always a contingency plan
- Arrange food by this order: entrees, sides, salads, bread, butter, and condiments, and always prepare extra portions
- Provide enough extra dishes and silverware for second helpings to be enjoyed on clean dishes
- Position the drink table away from the buffet to avoid traffic jams
- Offer leftovers in take-away containers, especially to guests who have children
- Create a signature theme with a recipe, color, music, or games
- Send guests home with a gift bag that relates to your theme (example: if your party theme is 4th of July, find some sparklers and ring pops with a note attached saying “let freedom ring” to fill each goody bag!)
- In your gift bag, include a take home bagel or Danish for Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast
Above all be sure you feel comfortable, look great, and are ready to have a fantastic time!
Have a wonderful Summer from www.thequalipedia.com!
The right wording for your wedding invitation means everything. Not only does it convey much more than practical information, it also expresses your desire to share this special celebration with the recipients. Upon opening your invitation, your guests will know whether the occasion is formal or informal, religious or secular, same-sex or hetero-sexual, local or far away. In addition, the size, material (usually paper), stationery technique (engraving, letterhead printing, thermographic printing, embossing, laser print, calligraphy), font, design and color, and information given—all combine to reveal the nature and character of your upcoming celebration. You can look online to design and print out your own invitations.
Invitations, Paper and Thread Studio
Here are some common forms with appropriate wedding wording etiquette.
- Save the Date Cards: These can be especially helpful for guests when you are planning a destination wedding or a wedding around a holiday when advanced travel planning may be needed.
- Traditional Formal Invitations: Names of invitees are usually handwritten within the invitation itself. This may include a separate reception card, ceremony card (seldom), and/or RSVP card.
- Semi-formal/Informal Invitations: Same information in a less formal, more intimate manner. Paper, colors, and design are usually selected to reflect the couple’s personal style. For an intimate wedding of family and close friends, handwritten invitations are suitable and often written by the couple or their family members.
- Non-traditional Invitations: The increasing popularity of non-traditional celebrations of love, unions, and commitment ceremonies has generated interest in more creative invitations. Original wedding themes from culinary to vintage are first evident in the invitations. Same sex invitations also frequently include two brides or two grooms as well as symbolic decoration.
- Wedding Announcements: The announcement is not an invitation to the ceremony or festivities; it is sent to persons–business, school, friends, family– who for whatever reason were not invited or were unable to attend the event. It includes the same names and date as the invitation and sometimes also the names of parents. The announcement is most often used when a wedding is far away, very small or after an elopement. It is not sent until after the wedding, and frequently includes a wedding photo.
WORDING THE INVITATION
All invitations are traditionally sent by the host/hosts of the wedding and reception, whether parents, step parents, other relatives, friends, or the couple themselves. Although stationers and suppliers will have numerous examples of typical wording for most situations, an understanding of traditional wording as well as guidelines for more individual circumstances can be helpful. Military titles are used when the person is a member of the armed forces or serving on active duty with the reserve; all military titles are written in full–no abbreviations.
Green Seeded Garden Herb Wedding Invitation, Forever Fiances
Traditional and Formal Wording
Traditional and formal wording is written in the third person style and printed in black or dark gray ink; “honour” and “favour” usually written in British style; names on invitations are written in full with no initials. The invitation to the ceremony usually does not include an RSVP; numbers in the date of the wedding are spelled out; request RSVP at least two weeks prior to ceremony; all type is centered on the page.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Invitations and Envelopes, Paper and Thread Studio
Printed informal invitations are written in the first person and reflect the mood of the occasion, whether written by parents or other family members. Phrases such as “We invite you” and “Please join us” are commonly used.
Informal Invite, Dolce Press
This wording is from parents or from the bride and groom and conveys necessary information in an original, warm, personal style.
Handwritten Invite, Imgspark
Whatever the complications of your family situation, make certain to include all involved parents, and discuss inclusion of new spouses with your families. If you do include them, name the parents first, then use the phrase “together with” to include the new spouses. If a bride or groom wishes to include the name of a deceased parent, use “the late” in front of the deceased’s name on the invitation. If your professional name is different from your real “formal” name, you may print your professional name in parentheses below your real name. On joint invitations issued by both bride and groom’s families, the bride’s parents are listed first.
Wooden invite made from sustainably harvested trees, Wanart
If you are marrying someone of a different religion or culture, learn as much as you can about his or her heritage and expectations. It is especially important to respect those traditions which are significant to the family and/or are religious in nature. And, yes, some of these practices are reflected even in the invitations–from the appropriate colors of stock and ink to the wording itself. The double invitation–an old European custom with the bride’s family on the left side of the page and the groom’s on the right–is becoming increasingly popular in this country.
Most important: Only you and your partner know the perfect way to celebrate your wedding and respectfully share your happiness with family and friends. Always trust your instincts!
DIY Invites, Sheknows
Dawn Bryan is the founder and President of The Qualipedia and an authority on gifting, protocol, quality, and conscious choice. She wrote the best-selling book “The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving” and has taught etiquette and protocol to many celebrities and corporations around the globe, including P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group.
Qualipedia founder and gift giving expert, Dawn Bryan, offers up some wonderful last minute gift ideas that are sure to thrill any father.
For the Fathers Who Like to Garden
- Give a subscription to gardening magazine or collection of gardening catalogs with gift certificate
- Buy an assortment of flower bulbs and offer to help him plant them
- Purchase knee pads and rubber boots for those rainy summer days
- Donate a tree to a local park in his name
For the Elderly or Disabled Fathers
- Get him convenience items like: zipper pullers, cutting board with suction cups, one-hand can openers, telephone amplifier, lighted magnifying glass, ramps, or medicine dispensers to name a few
- Give him some comfort items: sleep sound machine, car seat posture cushions, electric foot massager, shower/bath bench, or flannel sheets.
For New or Soon to be Fathers
- Give dad two bats and two baseball caps–large and very small with a note from the new bundle of joy
- Buy a video camera to help capture all those first moments babies have along the way
- Put together a collection of children’s books for bedtime reading
- Make baby’s handprint/footprint from plaster of paris
- Offer to wash his car for him
- Fill a basket with his favorite foods or homemade cookies
- Frame a special award or picture
- Buy him some delicious steaks or live lobsters and offer to cook it for him
For the Fathers Who Like to Travel
- Buy him some language tapes or pocket translator
- Give him Zagat’s guides for different cities
- Buy him an E-Reader or a gift certificate for online books to download
For the All Around Special Fathers
- Purchase a boxed set of his all time favorite TV show/Movies and some popcorn
- Put together materials and instructions for a project you can do together
- Simply write him a poem, bake him his favorite dessert, surprise him with breakfast in bed, or just make him laugh!
- Buy him tickets to his favorite sports team with a jersey or cap
Whatever gift you decide to give, just showing your dad you care will surely brighten his day.
Happy Father’s Day!
Entertaining that is eco and socio-conscious as well as healthy does not have to consist of brown invitations, brown napkins, brown bags, brown rice, and brown breads. It is possible to have a party which is green and glamorous–as well as multi-colored! And to be aware of what you are buying, using, doing and its impact on the environment and on others.
INVITATIONS AND DECORATIONS
Here are some wonderful ideas for your eco-conscious party.
- Electronic invites are not only easy, but very environmentally friendly
- Arranged centerpieces of fresh or dried fruit or vegetables (edible), as well as flowerpots and small trees (reusable), make wonderful spring and summer decorations. Send these gifts home with guests or deliver to a hospital or nursing home
- Create entirely edible centerpieces, using (takeout) chopsticks skewered with fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses
- Use decorative cloth napkins–or bandanas. Tie them with bamboo, hemp, or raffia
- Large leaves can become place cards when written on with non-toxic ink
- Collect wine corks to use as place card holders; slit and insert paint chips or cardboard with guest’s name.
FOOD AND DRINK
Look for foods which are organic (regulated by USDA), biodynamic (sustainable, self-contained system, where everything on the farm is re-used or recycled), and/or sustainable (sustains rather than degrades the environment, and is economically viable).
- If at all possible, THINK and BUY LOCALLY. Saves transportation costs, supports local economy, stays fresh longer, and tastes better. Local organic eggs and artisanal cheeses are widely available throughout the year
- For drinking, serve filtered ice water in pitchers rather than bottles; use organic teas and fair trade coffees; purchase local (if possible), organic wines and liquors. 50 states now produce their own wines. Look for beverages in recyclable glass bottles.
- Prepare the meal around one main dish, which incorporates various fresh vegetables and/or fruits, such as gazpacho with various toppings.
- Prevent waste by purchasing and preparing food in appropriate quantities.
- Offer at least one dish for vegetarians, which is free of animal fats/products.
- Barbecue with grass-fed beef and sustainable seafood for better taste as well as greener event
For a final eco-chic touch, send guests home with seed packets, bulbs, small potted plants or their own bandanas, soybean or beeswax candles. Homemade cookies, jams, small breads, vinegars, and pickles all lend a nice homey touch.
FUN IDEAS AND TIPS
- Combine your party with a Spring Clean-up event for your neighborhood, local park, school or playground, nearby empty or parking lots, or with an exchange or tag sale to help your guests with their spring house and garage cleaning
- Organize a salt or honey tasting ,which also educates guests about the various ecological and taste choices available
- For a really special event, purchase and release butterflies indigenous to your area and beneficial to the environment
- Live music will save electricity, and using your iPod will provide music without lots of gear
- Use beeswax or soy candles and organic soaps in powder room/guest bathroom
- Have your event during daylight hours to conserve power
- For green chic, try recycled cardboard made into everything from vases and bowls to tables and room dividers. Objects made by Liquid cardboard(tm) are 100% recycled and recyclable–even the glue is vegetable. This coffee table is from Chairigami, 100% cardboard, and only $85!
DON’T FORGET THAT EARTH DAY 2012 IS SUNDAY, APRIL 22!
A recent feature on CBS Sunday Morning about the new Charm School at MIT has Qualipedia’s feathers in a ruffle. The program is designed to help students develop basic etiquette skills that they may not otherwise have in order to join the work force with the competitive advantage of having some basic etiquette skills in hand: how to conduct oneself at a dinner, greetings, dress, serving food and wine, etc…. The feature, unfortunately shows a program that while a fantastically brilliant concept, needs work. Here is a list of some of the faux pas you will see in this video:
- In the clip about red wine, it appears as if the student is holding the red by the stem. Red is always held by the bowl, not the stem. Also in this clip, there are individual bottles of water and cans of soft drinks on the table. It appears that the water and soft drinks will be drunk from bottles and cans.
- A teacher’s claim to “never, never place a fork down, tines must always be placed up on the plate” is not categorically true, so be careful with “never, never”. American style vs. continental (Europe and South America) style of eating and setting table: Continental style–even in U.S. restaurants– fork tines down for eating and usually in table settings, and often placed for plate removal. Classic European flatware has design and/or monogram on backs of forks. Downward tines historically considered less aggressive. Also knife edges–both American and European point inward.
- One teacher states ”if you have a mustard stain from three weeks ago, you probably shouldn’t wear that to work.” No, you definitely should not wear that to work, or anywhere else where there are other people.
- A teacher claims “if someone toasts you, always return the toast.” No, that’s not entirely correct, and you never ever toast yourself. When a toast is given in your honor, keep your glass down, never raise it. You always acknowledge the toast with a nod or a thank you–the occasion determines whether you return the toast. Also, never stand while being toasted.
- There is a woman teaching a class with her legs crossed over the top of her knee. Proper etiquette is that women in a formal social situation should not cross over the top; the cross should be at the ankle. Furthermore, this seated instructor has not only wrongly crossed legs, but is seated with bottoms of both feet pointed at students– unattractive and rude–I am certain that MIT has some Moslem students who would profit from these classes but should not be insulted while attending.
We applaud that MIT is trying to set standards for business etiquette with students who have more than likely not been exposed to this type of instruction in the past, and we understand that these are abbreviated segments from short lessons. It is true that globalization and diversity bring a new perspective to our careers and lifestyles. However, it is the small things and everyday behaviors that most significantly impact our professional image. The quality of the students’ professionalism will depend largely on the quality of their information.
Listen to Dawn Bryan discussing the many beauty and health benefits to CHOCOLATE, on INSIDE WITH VALERIE PERSAUD.
Thursday, January 19th, Dawn is featured on Conversation Crossroads on how to select your dragon.
IN HONOR OF CHINESE NEW YEAR, JANUARY 23, 2012 QUALIPEDIA FOUNDER (AND DRAGON EXPERT) DAWN BRYAN OFFERS TOP TIPS ON HOW TO SELECT YOUR DRAGON
January 23rd marks Chinese New Year, the year of the dragon. Qualipedia founder and dragon expert, Dawn Bryan, offers top tips for imagining, selecting, and caring for your dragon.
Since ancient times, Dragons have been featured in many myths and legends, and have held major spiritual significance in various cultures and religions worldwide. Long associated with wisdom, universality, longevity, and a thirst for knowledge, dragons also possess certain supernatural powers.
“Anyone who is imaginative, creative, independent, spiritual, fabulous, and a seeker of knowledge can create and have his or her own dragon,” says Dawn Bryan, founder of http://www.thequalipedia.com, a consumer information and lifestyle website. “But remember that all dragons are different.”
SELECT BY HERITAGE AND HISTORY: The best way to start is to envision your personal dragon by learning about the traits associated with various cultures. Many dragon keepers (one cannot own a dragon) prefer to select dragons by heritage, while others enjoy the more exotic dragons.
Your dragon could be of almost any ancestry or folklore. Here are just a few possibilities you may wish to explore: Greek dragons (like the three-headed dragon in the Iliad); European (live in a lair or cave and usually have wings); Chinese (the highest ranking animal in the Chinese animal hierarchy consists of nine different dragons, all associated with power and majesty; Japanese (wingless water deities with three claws)’ or Slavic (with multiple heads which grow back after being cut off). Choose also from Mexican, Jewish, Vietnamese, and Scandinavian dragons.
CHARACTERISTICS: Dragons are frequently categorized into the five major elemental types: metal, water, fire, wood, and earth. Although there are many breeds and cross-breeds of dragons, the classic dragon physiology is made up of many different types of animals: the body of a snake, head of a camel, scales of a fish, eyes of a rabbit, paws like a tiger, and claws like an eagle. However, one can choose from a variety of physical features and special powers, such as wings of leather or feather, horns; multiple heads; no front legs (wyverns); scales and/or feathers; 3, 4, or 5 toes on each foot; blunt or sharp-ended tails; frills; scales in triangular, oval or tear-drop shapes; scales which can stand on end for looking larger to foes and for easier cleaning.
Dragons exhibit amazing abilities and powers: the ability to become invisible, change color, hoard treasure, form clouds with their breath, make the sounds of beating gongs and jingling bells, fly, swim, stretch out their skin like a kite, use their breath of fire, ice, lightning, or acid as a weapon, see well in the dark, replace their scales as they grow, speak (dragons are said to have taught humans to speak), make thunderous sounds, and change shape. Dragon powers are vast: the power to protect nations, wreak havoc, bring fertility and prosperity, guard maidens, live for at least 1200 years or become immortal, represent the wild magic of nature, bring rain, destroy the world that it created, be male, female or both, hold the world in its mouth, under chin or in its claws (usually represented by a pearl), control rivers, guard metals and gems, and heal anything with its blood.
SELECT BY COLOR: Dragons come in an amazing array of colors: blue, green white, black, red, yellow, crystal and white. There are also the rarer gold, silver, bronze and topaz varieties. Each color, however, is not a single tone, but many shades of the same color, giving depth, beauty and sheen to each creature. Black dragons are typically found in marshes, swamps or subterranean lairs; the Red Dragon, often depicted as evil, breathes fire, and the White Dragon uses frost as its breath weapon.
HOW TO LIVE COMFORTABLY WITH YOUR DRAGON
Dragons are independent, powerful, and elegant. Centuries of responsibility combined with being misunderstood have taken their toll, and, on occasion, your dragon is likely to need some special attention and recognition. All dragons love scale soothing (petting), and most appreciate your enhancing their fire-breathing activities occasionally with some hot, spicy foods.
As a good portion of a typical dragon’s day is spent gathering knowledge; they enjoy communicating with their keepers. And they readily reward those who impart new knowledge with tokens of gratitude from their own treasure hoards. Totally unconcerned with time and its constraints as we experience it, dragons of all ages will need frequent reminders that they are late, taking too long, or seemingly forgetting to do something.
To purchase a smaller, less powerful, more demanding, non-mythical dragon, consider the Chinese Water Dragons (2-3 feet in length), or the Komodo Dragon (8-10 feet in length).
“Dragons have the same five senses as humans, as well as a well-developed, accurate sixth sense, which enables them to quickly “read” the emotions of others,” said Dawn Bryan. “Their basic five senses are much more powerful and sensitive than ours, which enables them to be totally self-sufficient. Dragons find their own food, according to their various needs, and reside in their own comfortable abodes. Whatever type of Dragon you choose, you will love keeping this wonderful and unique companion, and each day will surely be a blessing and a challenge.”
For more information on dragons, or to email Quincy — our in-house dragon –personally, log on to www.thequalipedia.com.
WHAT IS IT?
All crystal is glass, but all glass is definitely not crystal.
Crystal is mouth-blown glass that contains lead oxide. When added to molten glass, it adds weight and gives a much higher index of refraction than normal glass, greatly increasing sparkle and brilliance and creating a prism effect. It can be cut and faceted into intricate patterns.
There are several processes/techniques which are used to enhance crystal. These include etching and frosting; engraving; glazing and gilding. Colored glass is usually created from the fusing of two layers of glass, one clear and one colored. The cutter cuts onto the colored glass to reveal the clear glass. The color comes from the addition of metal oxides, i.e. real gold results in ruby; cobalt in blue; and iron oxide in green.
Terms generally used:
- Full Lead Crystal: Glass containing at least 24% lead oxide can be called “full lead crystal”; however, many well-known brands contain higher levels into the 30%’s.
- Lead Crystal: Glass containing 10-24% lead oxide.
- Crystalline: glass containing 6-10% lead oxide. However, American standards permit clear glass containing any amount of lead to be considered “crystal”.
Crystal is a product that really requires personal perusal–at least at first. Once you have done your homework, reviewed and handled a variety of crystal, online purchasing is a viable option. But no Internet picture is going to allow you to see or feel differences in light refraction, color, quality of edges, balance and weighting. Information regarding lead content is often absent from websites that sell crystal, so it is wise to call the manufacturer or retailer about the specific item to determine whether it is full lead crystal. You may also wish to inquire as to whether the crystal product is hand-crafted or machine made. Many manufacturers make handcrafted crystalline, crystal and full-lead crystal, but also their lead-free, machine-made cousins, so one should not make assumptions based on only the name of the manufacturer.
High quality crystal will display the following qualities:
*Sparkle, clarity and translucency
*Smooth, precise, polished cuts and edges
*Uniform shape and thin walls
*No seams, as this indicates pressed glass that was molded, not mouth-blown
*Slight or few variations, such as bubbles, cords (small lines), chill and flow marks (surface indentations).
*A crisp, clear high-pitched ring when you tap the rim. Lower-pitched or muted sounds indicate lesser quality.
CARING FOR CRYSTAL
*Temper your crystal–get it gradually used to temperature changes–when adding hot or iced drinks. Never put boiling water into crystal, or put it in the freezer.
*Since crystal easily absorbs stains and odors, rinse glasses soon after use. As for vases and carafes, don’t leave flowers or wine in them for long, as they can become permanently stained.
*Use warm soapy water (no abrasives) to wash crystal (one at a time to avoid breakage), with a rubber mat or towel cushioning bottom of sink. Dry with a lint-free towel.
*Keep items away from dust, as it can act as an abrasive.
*Store glasses right side up to ensure the rims don’t chip–or put your crystal in a stemware rack.
* For water spots, sub on lemon juice or vinegar; for hard-to-clean stains or residue, use denture-cleaning table or mix uncooked rice with lemon juice or vinegar and swish it around; use ammonia, but never on metal rims or decoration.
For the most part the lead contained in lead crystal is not dangerous. However, since heavy metals accumulate in the body and can cause serious harm, consumers may want to follow some guidelines to reduce the danger that lead crystal can present. The FDA recommends that people rethink the way they use lead crystal for food and beverages.
–Soak your new crystal in vinegar for 24 hours, then rinse thoroughly.
–Use a mild soap, as abrasives can make lead leaching more likely.
–Do not store food or beverages for long periods in crystal. This is particularly important for juices, vinegar and alcoholic beverages.
–Do not pour wine/alcohol into guests’ glasses until time for drinking.
–Pregnant women should avoid using crystal.
Dawn Bryan Featured on ABC News Now “Money Matters” to Discuss Last Minute, Affordable Holiday Gift Ideas
ABC NEWS, December 2011: Affordable Last Minute Gifts
Where Can I Find Them?
Chestnuts, unlike other nuts, are very perishable. More like fruit than nuts, they begin to lose their high water content and dry out within a few hours after being picked. Purchasing pre-cooked/pre-peeled nuts simplifies the preparation process.
• Internet/Mail Order: Numerous American farms – many family-owned – and plantations now breed and produce wonderful hybrid chestnuts in several sizes. They ship crops as soon as picked, so get your holiday order in as soon as possible.
• Local: Fresh from local growers or at your grocery, health food, gourmet and specialty stores.
• Imports: Some imported chestnuts are often imported under poorly controlled conditions, but good fresh ones can be found in season in groceries, health food stores, and in gourmet and specialty shops. Canned and jarred varieties may be more tender – and certainly easier to prepare – but they do not compare to the fresh ones.
• Street Vendors: Roasted, especially in large cities where they are often cooked with sand in large woks. The wonderful aroma is very seductive, but the taste is frequently disappointing because these are often hanging out on heavily-trafficked street corners, thus the nuts can absorb gas fumes.
How Do I Select Them?
• Look for rich brown shell. The tan-colored end should be free of mold, the nut should be firm when grasped. If shell moves when you squeeze, it has already started to dry out. Test nuts by putting them into water; the fresh ones should sink. Inside meat should be cream colored/yellow, not dark. Discard nut meats with blue-streaking, black spots or a vinegary smell. If you find grocery store nuts under misters, they may be of poor quality, as they should not be stored in overly moist conditions.
• Packaged: Shelled chestnuts can be purchased jarred, canned, dried, frozen, or vacuum packed in a variety of forms, such as boiled, steamed, roasted, whole in syrup, candied/crystallized. Packaged chestnuts are usually of good quality, having been prepared when fresh.
• Famous luxury item, the French marron glace (candied chestnut) is prepared with a complicated process, which includes 16 different steps.
• Other forms: Chestnuts are made into flour, liquor/beer and the honey produced by bees residing in chestnut groves.
How Do I Store Them?
Fresh nuts should be stored in the refrigerator and used as soon as possible. Steam peeled, flash frozen nuts should be used soon after thawing because the fumigation required during the importation process kills the seed embryo, causing the nut to deteriorate much more quickly.
• Refrigerator: Placed in-shell chestnuts with a damp towel in a ventilated bag in the crisper of your refrigerator, the nuts will keep for a couple of weeks. To keep them for one or two months, store at a cooler temperature.
• Freezer: Cooked chestnuts can be frozen for about a year. Blanch, peel and vacuum pack them whole or prepare by chopping or pureeing first.
• Whatever your method of cooking fresh chestnuts, to prevent the nut from exploding, cut a large “X” on the flat side of the nut with a chestnut knife or a small serrated knife, making sure to cut all the way through the shell – or cut off the tips of the shells.
• Chestnuts rival beans in their ability to produce flatulence (ahem, gas).
• Dried chestnuts are sweeter and less floury in texture than fresh, roasted nuts, albeit not as flavorful.
• Use of a chestnut knife and chestnut roasting pan will greatly expedite your peeling and roasting.
• December is the prime month for fresh chestnuts