Wedding Etiquette in the Electronic Age

These days, computers, cell phones, and PDAs are a part of our daily lives. When it comes to planning your wedding, they can certainly come in very handy. With new technology, though, comes new etiquette, and there a few things to keep in mind when it comes to combining electronics and your wedding.

The first thing to know is that quicker isn’t always better. This may sound like it goes against how we live today, but it really does not. After all, if all you cared about was getting married as expeditiously as possible, then you would pop into City Hall on your lunch break, not plan a full ceremony and reception. So although it is great to be efficient, forget the idea that speed and convenience are all that matter, because that simply isn’t the case in society.

There are many ways that you can use your computer and other electronics to great advantage when planning your wedding. It is great to be able to peruse venues online, pick out your handmade wedding jewelry from a Internet retailer, and be able to text your fiance with questions during the day. But it is still true that the personal touch is best in some instances. That is why it feels more special when your wedding jewelry, for example, is handmade especially for you.

The personal touch brings us to one of the biggest etiquette questions: is it okay to send wedding invitations via email or evite? The answer is unequivocally NO! Do you really want the invitation to your special day to be mixed in with a bunch of offers for Viagra and credit scores? Sending a proper invitation in the mail on a good quality stationary sets the right tone for a wedding.

When it comes to the responses for your wedding, you can consider setting up a website where guests can R.S.V.P. Online. There is nothing wrong with this from a manners perspective, but you do run the risk that some of your older, less computer savvy guests may not respond. Base your decision on your guests list. Another option is to include a response card with the invitation, but to note on it that the reply can either be mailed in, or logged on your wedding website. This is probably the safest bet.

A great use of technology for planning your wedding is to set up the aforementioned wedding website. It is perfectly acceptable to direct guests there to find out about hotel and travel information, rather than sending out a huge packet of information. You will probably also save a lot of money on the printing and postage this way.

Wedding guests have certain obligations when it comes to electronic manners, as well. First and foremost: turn off all media during the ceremony. To allow your phone to ring as the bride and groom recite their vows would be incredibly rude and disrespectful. To answer the call would be unspeakable!

This is not to say that …

Helpful Tips on Business Gift Giving Etiquette in Latin America

Being prepared for an international business meeting requires information and knowledge of what will be discussed or presented at this meeting. A nice social gesture when meeting an international company for the first time, usually, is giving a gift. Take the time to research local customs before making a purchase, though, as some countries find it insulting to receive a gift. Knowing what to do before you go will not only show that you cared enough to learn about your destination's etiquette, but may also open up all kinds of new doors and opportunities for you and your company.

Many multi-national businesses and their governments have very strict policies when it comes to business associates accepting gifts. Many Asian countries are concerned about corporate corruption and see gift giving as a bribe, so holding off on gift giving until you get to know the company and its policies may be a good idea. You should know that in Malaysia, most businesses require you establish a working relationship with them before giving a gift. Even here in the United States, our government sets a $ 25 spending limit on how much a business gift can cost.

An important fact to know about Latin American culture is that it is predominantly patriarchal, and very rigid divisions between work and home exist. Men are in business, and women are at home. If you happen to be visiting Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Chile, Nicaragua, or Peru make sure you familiarize yourself with the current affairs and political dealings that are going on within those countries and avoid any discussions about these subjects for it most certainly will destroy any business dealings you hope establish with any companies therein.

When first meeting prospective business clients, handshakes are important so be firm but brief, and always make sure you keep constant eye contact throughout the handshake. When shaking hands with a woman, remember to be courteous and allow her to extend her hand first. Expect the person you're speaking with to stand close to you and look you in the eyes, don't move back or break eye contact because you could offend the person talking to you.

Below are some social taboos you should be aware of since using any of the following gestures can cause problems.

1. The "OK" sign made with your forefinger and thumb is an offensive gesture in Brazil.

2. Placing your hands on your hips in Argentina means you're signaling a challenge.

3. Raising your fist to your head in Chile is a sign of Communism.

Latin America enjoys the business lunch and they are usually pretty long, at least two hours or longer. Dinners are considered purely social events and start late at night, usually around 10:00 or 11:00 pm. When at a social dinner, remember to keep your hands above the table at all times when eating and always pass food with your right hand

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