Your Inaugural Luncheon: Useful Tips for Introductions in Best Society
Our Dear Mr. and Mrs. So and So,
Introductions happen everyday, and in today’s climate they are almost always egregious. We’ve had the good fortune to travel far and wide and experience the consequences a lack of concern for manners has on turning acquaintances into friends. This is particularly evident amongst the members of America’s younger generations, who place undue stress on their guests by regularly expecting them to make their own introductions.
It’s been suggested by great minds that, were the Untied States to be assessed through the Enneagram, a long standing model describing the development of one’s personality, it would be an eight, a type labelled “The Challenger.” This is most manifest in American’s idolization of self-sufficiency. Sadly, rather than strive to make all our guests feel at home in our presence, we challenge them with the task of meeting as many people as they can on their own and laughing jovially with all of them. Thus, the introvert is cast aside as being shy, fearful and incapable. Of course, little could be further from the truth.
We are not attempting to equate introversion with greater refinement, rather we are saying a knowledge of formal introduction, rather than being antiquated and superfluous, has the potential to put both the introvert and extrovert at ease. It restrains the extreme extrovert from becoming overly gregarious and opens the introvert, who has plenty to say if asked, to speak. No modern man or woman should go without the skillset required of a good host.
To help you prepare for your inaugural luncheon, an event at which you no doubt anticipate entertaining several of our nation’s leading ladies, we bring you a few of Emily Post’s guidelines for polite social introductions. As a host, it’s your responsibility to introduce your guests to one another, if it appears they need introducing. Never introduce unnecessarily. When introducing, either use the term “may I present” between names, or be sure to use the proper inflections of voice to indicate the presentation order.
Mrs. Obama, may I present Mrs. Trump.
This requires no special inflection, because you have included “may I present.”
If this luncheon should fall prior to January 20th, 2017, and you would like to omit “may I present” from your introduction, you should state Mrs. Obama’s name with a rising inflection, as she is the current First Lady. Mrs. Trump’s name should be said in a matter-of-fact tone. Use the phrases written beneath the names for help with inflection.
Mrs. Obama, Mrs. Trump.
Put a ring on it?, to the left.
Of course, you will reverse your inflection should your luncheon be scheduled after January 21. Under no circumstances should you say:
Mrs. Obama, Mrs. Trump.
Mrs. Trump, Mrs. Obama.
This is redundant.
Now, suppose Barbara Bush has invited Queen Elizabeth II as her guest to your luncheon. Ordinarily, anyone vouching for a guest at your party should present him or her to you, but the Queen, having been divinely selected, is never presented to anyone. Therefore, you will be presented to her in the following way:
Your Majesty, may I present Mr. or Mrs. So and So.
Then you bow, make a small curtsy or nod, shake her hand if she offers it and wait for her Majesty to address you.
Finally, suppose you’ve invited your friend to the luncheon and asked if she’d be willing to provide a bit of musical entertainment for the afternoon. Most of the ladies have already arrived when she enters. It is not polite to introduce a single person to a large group, but at this small gathering, it is acceptable.
You greet your friend at the door and, seeing she does not know anyone, walk her to the nearest guest. In this case, the older Mrs. Bush is seated close by. You say:
Mrs. Bush, do you know Mrs. Knowles-Carter?
Mrs. Bush, being quite aged, offers her hand but does not rise. Having just said “Mrs. Knowles-Carter,” you do not repeat her name as you turn to present her to the other Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. Obama, Mrs. Trump and Her Majesty. After you have said all the name of the guests within speaking distance, you once again say, “Mrs. Knowles-Carter.”
For more on polite introduction at your upcoming event, be sure to read the “Introductions” section of Mrs. Post’s seminal work, and remember updated versions are available via The Emily Post Institute. For acceptable wares for your luncheon, shop below.
Most Humbly Yours,
Peter and Alexander of The House of Spalding, The Fourth Generation of Bankers and Merchants from Central Wisconsin’s Gold Coast of The Great Lakes Michigan and Winnebago the Lesser.