Monday, August 3, 2009

Just because one is a diva

... does not make one incorrect, and it still does mean you are only human after all.

Jennifer Lopez "threw a fit"when guests were late to her 40th birthday bash:
An Evening With Lola was supposed to be perfect — Lola is Marc Anthony's nickname for Lopez, and she entered the party to the song "Whatever Lola Wants." But there were empty seats when the dinner started and Jennifer was fuming.

While Jennifer Lopez may have a reputation for being an impossible and demanding diva, she is also a generous and capable hostess whose parties have been thought highly of in many powerful circles for years. It seems a shame that anyone, of any stature, would be late; especially for a birthday celebration.

Recently, I was disgusted to find no fewer than twenty four empty seats at a wedding reception and more guests leaving as soon as dinner was served. If thirty of the one hundred twenty or so original guests remained for the liqueurs, I would be surprised.

As a rule of thumb, if you accept an invitation unless one is gravely ill three days beforehand, you should attend. Three days before the party is generally when the head count is due. When one is a no-show, the couple must pay for the those heads which is certainly no sort of gift to give people just starting out together. Secondly, a note of apology along with a gift should be sent immediately.

If you are late for a seated event (which should only happen if you are delivering a child by the side of 95 or advising the President on a matter of national security) upon entering the room go directly to the hostess and apologize quickly and quietly. She will point you towards your seat. If you are late and you are a woman, you should approach the host in the same manner. In either case, take care not to interrupt the evening in progress and refrain from regaling the table with the pressing matter that caused your lateness. Wade into the conversation already underway.

Do not accept two dinner invitations on the same evening, it is deplorable and smacks of hedging one's invitations. It is for the uncouth and unpolished. Now, a brunch or an afternoon open house and a dinner or dessert and champagne party on the same day is a perfectly wonderful plan, and in my estimation, great reason to find myself exhausted on a Sunday morning.

On the opposite side of the coin, it may be very difficult (especially in the case of an emotional event such as a wedding) to keep feelings at bay. But a hostess will not be well served by doing anything but enjoying the lovely company she does have and focusing on the happiness and well-wishes around her. Take a few deep breaths and release your frustration silently into the air. Concentrate on joy.

Finally, do not forget that you have a little time left to enter the reader giveaway for Taste, Acquiring What Money Can't Buy, by Letita Baldridge, here. And the ChillinJoy giveaway here.


Martha said...

I truly don't think proper manners are taught any more. I am amazed at the total lack of respect for people by being late, not responding, etc. It's all manners.

Pigtown-Design said...

I agree with Martha. I am continually shocked by the ghastly manners people show.

At my last party, someone had RSVP-ed that they would be coming. They didn't show up. Later, when I asked if everything was okay that night, they said that someone else had invited them to dinner. They didn't think I'd mind.

Well, I did and they're now off my lists. Luckily, they were only casual friends.

Marsha said...

Just this weekend my mother, sisters and I had a long conversation about wedding no-shows. The young woman with us, a cousin's new friend, said she didn't understand our opinions and that she regularly changes her mind about attending weddings if the day arrives and she doesn't "feel like going to church or whatever" or if the resort pool seems more appealing in that moment. My cousin has indicated that he thinks it won't be long before this young woman is a member of our family, bless her heart, and I wonder what adventures will be coming our way!

As for me, I admit that I have let the turkeys get me down and my husband and I are taking a long hiatus from the hosting game. From the no-shows to the newly met friends who brought children (lovely girls, but still) to a non-family event to the woman who called to ask if I had extra favors after a kids' event - when she couldn't be bothered to RSVP either way but then heard the favors were rather nice - I am out of it. I regret that my children are now growing up in a household wherein there is seldom company.

Eileen said...

Sadly, it's a different world.
I've heard of guests that never RSVP one way or the other, and then decide that day if they will be showing up or not!
And I don't think anyone attends the actual wedding ceremony anymore, nor do they make the cocktail hour! It's almost like the wedding invitation was an intrusion on their lives! Sad.

Rona's Home Page said...

In San Diego there was a business that offered social graces and manners to teens and adults.
We always meant to send our son.
From what I'm reading it should be a required course for everyone.

Rona's Home Page said...

I shared your post on my blog and provided a link.

little augury said...

hostess-this is a chronic problem isn't it? I have to admit I have been guilty of the wedding no show-But I did call to say I would not be coming after all. I am going to try to do better. I don't thing young people even know "rsvp" and "regrets only" mean, or the appropriate dress. I guess it is a one person at a time process to change this. great post.

Teacats said...

Thank you for this wonderful posting! It is so shocking (mouth open and jaw hanging slackly LOL!) how many times I've heard this refrain lately!! For all kinds of parties -- from children's parties to barbecues and yes -- even weddings -- guests seem to believe that the whole event should revolve around them! I always thought that the best events happen when alchemy occurs between the host and the guests' combined best and brightest efforts ..... resulting in a memorable and magical happening! And in the 21st century -- there's no excuse for non-communication from either side! Perhaps there should be a list of Requirements for the Successful Host AND for the Happy Guest!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Arabella said...

I had one couple pull a no-show to my wedding several years ago. It was a full week later when the wife told my husband via email that she "kind of flaked" and forgot she had to visit her parents that day (or some such excuse), and that her husband didn't feel like attending our wedding by himself. Here we were thinking something bad must have happened and maybe they got into a car accident. No, they just "flaked".

The worst was they really didn't see how this was rude. I was out money on two people for dinner, and I had two seats sitting vacant. I stopped speaking to them obviously.

Aly Beth said...

Ah, she looks like a barbie doll! Just like me ;)