Mr. Romney visits the White House for lunch with the President

Mr. Romeny visits the White House for a Private lunch with the President

Photo prop­erty of Getty Images

On Novem­ber 29, 2012, Mr. Rom­ney will join the Pres­i­dent for a pri­vate lunch at the White House.  Yes­ter­day, I had the honor of speak­ing to KNX 1070 radio regard­ing eti­quette tips for how both men should con­duct them­selves. Here is what we dis­cussed, as well as other things to keep in mind.

Host­ess Gift

When­ever you are a guest, you should always show up with a gift for your host.  In this case, Mr. Rom­ney could bring a book, or a framed pic­ture of him­self like the Queen of Eng­land did in 2009.  What­ever he decides, he should keep in mind that this may be dis­played in Pres­i­dent Obama’s pres­i­den­tial library one day.

Small Talk

I’m sure they both have plenty to talk about, but they should each have a few top­ics pre­pared so when the con­ver­sa­tion comes to a silent patch then they will have some­thing to bring up.  The Pres­i­dent should refrain from remind­ing Mr. Rom­ney that he won re-election and Mr. Rom­ney may not want to men­tion any plans on a new ele­va­tor for his cars, and, as funny as this may sound, should avoid polit­i­cal top­ics, espe­cially since this lunch takes place at the White House with the Pres­i­dent of the United States.


It is cus­tom­ary to make toasts at meals, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1.  A guest does not make the first toast, the host does.
  2.  When the host makes a toast, he should refrain from mak­ing fun or embar­ris­ing his guest.
  3. A per­son who is on the receiv­ing end of the toast never drinks to him­self, but instead may respond back with a toast to his guest.

Thank You Note

A guest, in this case, Mr. Rom­ney should fol­low up with a thank you note to the Pres­i­dent thank­ing him for a won­der­ful time even though it may not have been.

Man­ners is about mak­ing the other per­son feel com­fort­able.  If Mr. Rom­ney and Pres­i­dent Obama keep this in mind, I have no doubt their first encounter after a heated elec­tion will go off with­out a hitch.

Etiquette for Dinner Parties

Here is a great video by Australia’s top enter­tain­ing experts reveal­ing their din­ner party suc­cess secrets.Dinner party etiquette

*Fifty years ago there were clear eti­quette rules. For exam­ple, don’t remove your sports coat or smoke your pipe around women, and never dis­cuss per­sonal affairs in pub­lic. But things have changed.

Today, peo­ple air their dirty laun­dry on Twit­ter and the sexes are rel­a­tively equal in rela­tion­ships and business.

You can no longer be sure whether you’ll be scoffed at or thanked for open­ing a door for a woman.

But that doesn’t mean man­ners have no place in the mod­ern world – in fact, if you want to make a good impres­sion, eti­quette is still the best way.


* Writ­ten by: Fiona MacDonald

Dining With Royalty

When din­ing with roy­alty it is your respon­si­bil­ity to know your din­ing eti­quette.  The BBC has great advice on things guests should know before tak­ing their seat at the dinner table.

Table Setting

Cut­lery dilemma
It’s quite sim­ple — start at the out­side and work in as the meal pro­gresses. The soup spoon will always be on the extreme right if soup is the first course. It will be sec­ond from the right if served as a sec­ond course. Dessert cut­lery will always be at the top of the place set­ting with the fork fac­ing right and the spoon above it facing left.

Drinks order
Glasses are also placed in the order in which they are used. So, for exam­ple, water, cham­pagne, white wine, red wine, dessert wine. A nap­kin might be placed on the plate or to the left of the forks.

How to eat…
Some dishes require their own eti­quette.
Bread rolls: don’t cut with a knife — break with fin­gers.
Soup: tip the bowl and scoop the spoon away from you; sip, don’t slurp.
Aspara­gus: eaten with fin­gers, start with the head.
Oys­ters: use an oys­ter fork to detach the oys­ter from its shell. Hold the shell between thumb and first two fin­gers, place against lower lip and slide the oys­ter and its juice out of the half shell. Don’t swal­low it whole. Chew slowly and savour.

Source: BBC

LA’s Prom Closet “A Dress To Remember 2011″

Table SettingThis year I had the plea­sure of once again con­duct­ing the din­ing eti­quette work­shopto about 200 young ladies at LA’s Prom Closet annual A Dress To Remem­ber event held at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

LA’s Prom Closet hosts an annual day-long gown give­away and work­shop event timed to proms tak­ing place in April, May and June. All gowns are donated, dry cleaned and hung on dis­play racks for the young women to select from. The gowns are FREE to all stu­dents.  In addi­tion to obtain­ing dresses, stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in self-esteem build­ing workshops.

A few of the work­shops the young ladies par­tic­i­pated in where:



MakeupJules Hirst giving table etiquette leson

Vision Board Creation


Din­ing Etiquette

For more infor­ma­tion on LA’s Prom Closet click here

Dining Etiquette Workshop held at A Dress To Remember

I had a won­der­ful time con­duct­ing din­ing eti­quette work­shop to about 200 young ladies at the 3rd annu­al LA’s Prom Closet — Dress to Remem­ber Event  held at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

  LA ‘s Prom Closet is an orga­ni­za­tion that gives away prom dresses to girls in the Los Ange­les area that are in finan­cial need.  Along with that they also go through work­shops to help pro­mote self worth.Â

To see pic­tures from the event click here

To Tip or Not To Tip

Recently 2 col­lege stu­dents Leslie Pope and John Wag­ner were arrested over a $16.35 tip.  Per­son­ally I under­stand their frus­tra­tion with lousy ser­vice and the manda­tory 18% gratuity.

My fam­ily and I were at din­ner at The Gal­ley in Santa Mon­ica, CA.  Great restau­rant, but, because of the size of our party they were adding the 18% gra­tu­ity to or bill.  Ser­vice by our wait­ress was HORRIBLE she  never checked us. The bus boy and other staff mem­bers were wonderful.As an eti­quette con­sul­tant I know that not tip­ping is not an option besides every­one else  was won­der­ful, I spoke to the man­ager explained to him the lousy ser­vice the wait­ress gave us, but pointed out there was another waiter that took care of us along with the bus boy and he said he would make sure that the appro­pri­ate staff received the tip.

From time to time receiv­ing lousy ser­vice does hap­pen but unfor­tu­nately when you are in a large party your bill have the 18% gra­tu­ity added.  If you are not OK with this then don’t eat there.  If your ser­vice is lousy then speak up.  But, don’t ever NOT tip.  The tip is divided by other sup­port staff so by pun­ish­ing the waiter/waitress you are also pun­ish­ing other employ­ees who have done their job.

Here is a guide­line that was part of an arti­cle I recently wrote on who and how much to tip

  • Bar­tender — 15% of bill or $1 per drink, whichever is greater
  • Cock­tail Wait­ress — 15% of bill or $1 per drink, whichever is greater
  • Coat Check Atten­dant — $1 per coat
  • Restroom Atten­dant — $1
  • Hotel Maid — $2 to $5 per night depend­ing on the qual­ity of the establishment
  • Hotel Bell­man — $1 to $2 per bag
  • Hotel Concierge — $5 to $10 for secur­ing your reservation
  • Sky­cap — $1 per bag

I would love to hear from you Share your thoughts, eti­quette faux pax sto­ries or ques­tions  Jules

Will you be invited to the next Soiree?

A friend of mine recently went to a birth­day brunch noth­ing extrav­a­gant, but, it was a birth­day party so there were cen­ter pieces, thank gifts and games.   She also went on to say her heart went out to the birth­day girl as some of her guests lacked social skills.  Kids were climb­ing on tables, one child threw some­thing at the birth­day girls grand­mother, another guest  sit­ting at the table was list­ing to music from his phone with­out head­phones and another was list­ing to his ipod.   With the hol­i­day sea­son right around the cor­ner here are some things to remem­ber to insure you will be invited to the next Soiree:

Par­ents, if you have small chil­dren no one has the right to tell you how your kids are to behave in your own home,  how­ever, when you are the guest please remem­ber to remind your lit­tle ones the dos and don’ts when you are a guest.   Remind them to have “Respect” for other people’s prop­erty, ask per­mis­sion, if some­one is speak­ing to you main­tain eye con­tact , you get the picture.

It is not OK or cute for chil­dren to be pulling down on the cen­ter­pieces, they should not be stand­ing on chairs, climb­ing on the table nor should you expect them to be to be treated as adults, if the host­ess went through the trou­ble to have kid appro­pri­ate games and thank you gifts then that is what they get.  But, most impor­tantly watch your own chil­dren!  Kids are kids they are going to test you it is the par­ents job to teach them bound­aries.  If you are not will­ing to set bound­ries  do not be upset if a relative does.

When sit­ting at the table leave your ipods and cell phones in your pocket.  Just because you do not like the music or your bored means you sit there lis­ten­ing to  your ipod or on the phone.

I would love to hear from.… Share your thoughts, eti­quette faux pax sto­ries or questions… Jul

Jul Hirst is an eti­quette instruc­tor based in Los Ange­les, who believes it is never too late to make a last­ing impres­sion.  She teaches classes for chil­dren, teens and adults.  She is Pres­i­dent of For A Jul Pro­duc­tions, a wed­ding and event plan­ning com­pany.  Learn more at  She also is head of Hearts For The City, a non-profit orga­ni­za­tion teach­ing eti­quette and social skills to under­priv­i­leged chil­dren, fos­ter chil­dren and peo­ple re-entering the workforce.

Manners Do Matter: Even At The Theatre!

Recently in the news we heard about an audi­ence mem­ber who’s cell phone rang dur­ing a sold-out per­for­mance of A Steady Rain star­ring Hugh Jack­man and Daniel Craig.  Do man­ners mat­ter?

To avoid being the next News Head­line here are few things to remember:

  1. Do not arrive  Late or Leave Early …it is unfair to the artist and the audience.
  2. Do not talk dur­ing the performance…whether it be film or live
  3. Do not rus­tle the pro­gram
  4. Make sure cell phones are on vibrate or off
  5. Do not wear alarm watches…at the very least make sure the alarm is not set to go off dur­ing the performance.
  6. If there is an usher he/she takes the ticket stubs and leads the way.  He/she then returns the stubs and hands them back some­times also pro­vides you with a pro­gram.  The women enters the row first…yes, it is still proper for the man to sit “aisle-side”
  7. If there is no usher, the woman enters the seat­ing aisle first.

Remem­ber going to the the­atre per­for­mance is meant to be joy­ful experience.


Jules Hirst is a sought after speaker and a rec­og­nized eti­quette coach based in Cal­i­for­nia.  She con­ducts lec­tures, work­shops, sem­i­nars and webi­nars  in busi­ness and social eti­quette.  Jules is also co-author of Power of Civil­ity where she shares strate­gies and tools for build­ing an excep­tional pro­fes­sional image.

Jules can be reached at: or 310–425‑3160