My Little Etiquette Shop: Lessons Learned at…a funeral?

Last week was quite a week. A fair bit of time was given to supporting a grieving family who lost their mother, our neighbor.

Her funeral brought out my contemplative side.  The service was unique, in that the rabbi thought he was a stand up comedian.  At first I braced myself: this was a train wreck.  Knowing he wasn’t someone who knew the family well, but had met with them briefly the day before, I dreaded where he was going with his goofy humor.  However, bit by bit, he charmed everyone in the room (myself included) with his puns, and the way he spoke more about the people present than the one who was gone. He really brought her to life in the way he “riffed” on each meaningful relationship, right down to mock-lecturing her son’s boss saying, “keep an eye on him.”

I love and respect Jewish culture, our wedding was quite traditional. But, as an employee at a floral design studio, and lover of flowers I am comforted by flowers at funerals, which are contrary to Jewish tradition. (I’ll let wiser folk explain).  One woman at the service brought flowers, completely innocently.  The same jovial rabbi spoke a little too sharply to her for my taste about the fact that they were “not allowed.”  From the row behind her, it looked like she felt bad. I often mangle Emily Post’s famous quote about how keeping people comfortable around you makes your behavior proper, no matter what. We’ll make the exact quote lesson 1 from yesterday, followed by the other two.

1) Mind your manners “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” -Emily Post.  Don’t make people feel bad, especially in a sensitive situation like a funeral. <ahem Rabbi…>

2) Trust a professional to do their job. That Rabbi wasn’t going to risk corny humor if he didn’t know where he was going with it, and that he would be able to touch people. Have a little faith, and even when things seem like they are going wrong, they are most likely going to turn in the right direction.

2) Laugh when you want to cry. This is of course a very serious application of that principle.  But it applies in so many situations. If you reflexively tear up in response to a bizarre/awful/terrible/shocking event in your life, take a deep breath, and try to reframe. There’s got to be something funny about what happened. You just have to find that piece of it and let it tickle you.  It takes the air out of almost anything, and you can begin to put the pieces back together.

Have a happy, grateful week everyone! Count your blessings.

Be well, and love well.




What Really Counts At My Little Flower Shop? Giving Back.

What a week! As many of you know, El Jefe, the Big Man On Campus, our Fearless Leader, AKA Gregory Goodman, turned 50 on Wednesday.  There was quite a celebration.  Alan, Head Designer, and all around terrific husband, made sure Greg’s party at The Fix on El Paseo was classy, fun and beautifully decorated.  Friends came to celebrate from near and far, and the cake was phenomenal, as one might have known since The Fix is attached to The Pastry Swan’s retail location. Oooh, I can still taste that cake.

Al raises a glass to his gorgeous 50th birthday arrangement at Fix

But as Greg told me later, something else also meant a lot to him that day.  He helped a friend decorate a table** at her daughter’s high school graduation. He said “It wasn’t a big deal – some mirrors, and a couple things styled in a fun way” but he went on to explain he felt it had been for a girl who really achieved something.  “She and her family worked hard for that diploma. And her family was so proud – and I was too, and I got to help that happen with what I love to do.”  So for Gregory, an important gift he got on Wednesday was, in fact, one he gave away: help, support and encouragement to someone else.

It got me thinking – Greg gives a lot, to a lot of people. And that’s the secret to his happiness and positive attitude. He gave me and Stephen 150% of his time, energy and love when we got married in 2010. And he gives that kind of focus to all his brides; I’ve seen the tough businessman cry at many a wedding he attends. He’s given second chances. I’ve known him to hire people that many businesses wouldn’t, and to get great work (and great loyalty) out of them. He gives so much to the Wedding Warriors – and to making sure his friends and associates get business from his clients. The guests at his party certainly reflected that. He always shares his success.

So that’s what I’m thinking about today. Gregory’s birthday gift of giving. And it reminds me that there is always a gift to be given that is from the heart. And sometimes it’s just showing up, and doing what you love.

Be well, and love well.


* We would have liked to include a photo of the table. Unfortunately we used a linen from TE Couture Linen that we had in the shop as a sample, and they were upset. We would like to use this space to publicly apologize, we are sorry they were unhappy that we did not make advance arrangements for a contract to donate use of the tablecloth sample. We regret that they have chosen to no longer do business with My Little Flower Shop, and hope to remedy that situation.


Enhanced by Zemanta

My Little Etiquette Shop? Sure, we can do that.

Inviting the Obamas to your wedding and other guest list tidbits! Etiquette inquiries welcome! Fear inspiring questions for brides: Am I invited? Can I bring my boyfriend? The kids? The poodle?  Compile our experienced staff, and we have a giant collective wedding-brain at My Little Flower Shop. One designer spent time writing etiquette advice for a wedding website that shall go nameless (ahem – rhymes with ‘hot.’)  She ghost-wrote for an editor at BRIDES magazine, so we figured her thoughts merited space here every so often. Today’s topic? Guest lists. Hit it, Hot Etiquette Chick!
Philip Galanes, of the New York Times’ “Social Qs” column recently fielded this question.
The Self-Inviting Guest

I am getting married next month in a small ceremony. I work in a midsize company and have invited a few colleagues. We have a new deputy director, and when my wedding was mentioned in passing, he asked if he would be invited. I hadn’t intended to, but I was so shocked that I said he would be. I don’t want to make things awkward, but I don’t particularly want him there. Is there anything I can do about this now?

Anonymous, the Netherlands

File the deputy director under “P” for pushy.  I get that you were ambushed, Dutch girl, but you had such a beautiful (and honest) way out: “Actually, it’s a small wedding,” you might have said. “Just family and a few close friends.” But having flubbed it, and having told the man he was invited, I don’t see how you can retract the invitation without awkwardness.  Maybe he’ll bring a great gift.

Another thing: Brides- and grooms-to-be should be careful talking about their weddings at the office, especially when only some colleagues are invited. We understand you can’t invite everyone, but no one wants to hear endlessly about a party we’re not invited to. And if you’re cherry-picking among co-workers, ask the invited ones to be sensitive about this, too.

Well said Phil. How does one take control of the roster? Besides hiring the experts at My Little Flower Shop to keep you calm, cool and collected, here are 5 favorite tips to keep in mind.

List early, and often

Don’t wait to start making a guest list.  Most likely, we don’t have to tell you this – a lot of brides start a list even before they get engaged.  Nevertheless, for the less future-focused, it’s good to have a starting point. So just start by writing down anyone you can think of that you might want to invite.

Never say never

Once it’s time to start narrowing the pool, don’t invite people assuming “they won’t come.” Even those relatives in Malta your family hasn’t seen for 2 generations might be so touched by the invitation that they decide to get on a plane.

Life on the B list

Despite all the refrigerator magnets, the emails and the skywriting, there are still some people who will have other plans on your wedding day.  You’ve got a limited period of time to fill in, so you haven’t a moment to lose.  Have a back-up list of guests at the ready, addresses and all, so you can fire off invitations as the regrets come in.

Embrace your inner beancounter

Spreadsheets can be beautiful things. You’ll be so happy you started keeping everything in an orderly fashion. One gal we know says the address spreadsheet is her favorite thing that came out of the wedding. They’ve used it for everything  from kids birthday parties to holiday letter personalization. (It was a perfect opportunity to ask to be removed from her holiday letter list, but I just couldn’t. Bless her heart).

Just because you went to hers…

This is not Kindergarten. It’s $125-a-plate-gourmet-brunch-in-the-garden. Every girl you’ve ever seen walk down the aisle doesn’t by default belong on your list. Grown ups know this. If this culls immature friends from your life, lucky you.

Always invite the president

This is one case where you really can assume that they won’t come. But, if you send an invitation to the White House, you’ll get a special greeting back in honor of your wedding. Pretty darned cool. 

The Honorable Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama
The White House
Greetings Office Room 39
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

A wedding greeting from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

On the subject of the White House and weddings, can we just go on record that Prince William is unbelieveably rude? And that you can put a big old tiara on that Kate chick but she’ll never be as regal as Michelle Obama? But I digress.

It all boils down to this: Focus on who you two really want to smile at on your way back up the aisle. An informal poll of the MLFS staff revealed that is highly likely to be one of the happiest moments of your life. Who do you want to share that with? Go forth and list!