Nancy MitchellNancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).
Host: If I am an overnight guest in someone s home, should I bring a gift?
Nancy Mitchell: It's again a very nice gesture to bring a gift when you are an overnight guest. Something that s always appreciated is food or beverage. Think about this, they maybe having you as the overnight guest, but there maybe other people included as well.
So, fruit baskets or something you picked up from the gourmet market or a bottle of wine or extra beverages, something that is going to help them is always appreciated. Make sure that would something that will a shelf life just in case it doesn t fit with their plans for menu or whatever is happening during the period that you are there. Another nice gesture is to while you are there; offer to go shopping for them. A host or hostess has always forgotten something and needs to run out to the market. So offer to do that and then pick up a few extra things for them and of course, you pay for those things that you pick up. That s a very nice gesture and very nice gift.
If you don t know the couple very well, attend the event; pick up some signals while you are there. Find out what their likes and their dislikes are in food or hobbies or music, theatre whatever, they may love to travel, perhaps a travel book. Later, send a gift after you ve gone home. Write a lovely thank you note that is specific saying how much you enjoyed, whatever you did with them the meals, their hospitality, a trip they may have plan for you while you were there and then send the gift.