It's true: Charleston, South Carolina is considered the epicenter of southern hospitality, history, and charm.
Recently, Charleston-based Emilie Dulles and her bespoke engraving and letterpress printing company Dulles Designs, LLC have become favorites of Reader's Digest, Forbes, and American Express writers, quoting Lowcountry etiquette and protocol expert Emilie Dulles in dozens of articles nationwide.
As a trusted "go-to" expert in all things wedding, event, military, and political protocol, Dulles suggests that a lack of knowledge of etiquette, including less gracious habits, have unfortunately become norms in today's society.
Dulles, a 2003 Princeton graduate, explains "it behooves everyone to discuss formal etiquette more, and to brush up on their manners more deliberately –– especially polishing what we teach our children, who are growing up in today's digital age."
A longtime member of the Junior League of Charleston, Emilie Dulles' nationally published expert advice includes insights on royal etiquette, neighborly real estate etiquette, wedding etiquette, holiday etiquette, and even shopping etiquette. Her Dulles Designs printing company specializes in engraved wedding invitations, estate stationery, baby announcements, Christmas cards, and law firm engraving using custom calligraphy.
"Now that the holidays are upon us, it's especially important to treat others elegantly and with respect, and that's what etiquette is all about," Dulles says.
For more information, contact: Phone 843 . 513 . 8146
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You don’t need to sport designer clothes to act like a royal. According to Emilie Dulles, who has more than 29 years of experience in traditional etiquette, you should take a tip from the royal family and simply dress for the job you want, not the job you have. “It would behoove our society to rise up to the occasion and dress more appropriately for work settings and also social outings,” Dulles says. So keep your workout clothes for the gym and your sneakers as well.
If your neighbor is kind enough to invite you to their picnic, birthday party, game night, graduation party, or another event then you should be kind enough to give them a prompt answer, says Emilie Dulles, a protocol expert and founder of Dulles Designs. Unfortunately, it’s become very common today for people to either not RSVP at all or to hold back on responding, waiting to see who else is coming first, but this makes it very hard on hosts, she says. A good neighbor will respond promptly and understands what RSVP stands for.
Failing to RSVP: If there is a manners sin that gets experts worked up the most, this one may be it: People who either RSVP late or not at all. Late or missing RSVPs cause unnecessary logistical and emotional stress for hosts, says Emilie Dulles, an event protocol and etiquette expert. “Send in your reply as early as possible—the reply by date is not a challenge for you to eke out at the eleventh hour,” she says. “If you do miss the reply by date, RSVP anyway and also follow up via phone or email with a brief apology for your oversight and express gratitude for their kind invitation.” RSVP via the method you received the invitation, so if you got a reply card with an invitation, use that. If it’s an e-vite, it’s fine to respond electronically.
Showing up with an uninvited guest
Some parties are informal gatherings and anyone is welcome or you’re given a “plus one” with your invitation, but unless either of those is explicitly stated then assume that the party is only for people who are invited, Dulles says. “If your invitation does not include a guest or date, don’t try to add one last minute. Be an adult and go to the celebration on your own,” she says. “If there is a change in your relationship status, you can reach out to the hosts and see if your fiancé or spouse might be included. Respect their answer either way. You can always opt not to attend if they say no, but you can’t force them to say yes.”
Forgetting to write a thank-you note
Too many people forget the most important rule of receiving a gift: Thanking the giver. For big gifts, like for birthdays or weddings, it’s not enough to simply say “thank you,” you need to send a nice card, Dulles says.
Waiting a year to acknowledge wedding gifts
The old etiquette rule was that a newlywed couple had up to a year to formally thank people for their wedding gifts but no more, thanks to modern communication technology, Dulles says. The new rule is all gifts need to be acknowledged, whether on paper or electronically, no more than three months after your wedding, she says. “Otherwise, guests may worry that their gift was not received or, even worse, not appreciated,” she explains. Here are more wedding etiquette rules you can’t break—no excuses.
Get personal: Dulles Designs creates and produces bespoke engraved stationery and invitations for weddings, society families, lawyers, and country clubs. In the beginning, Emilie Dulles got ultra creative when she decided to test her product. She painstakingly mailed out hand-written notes to affluent prospective clients around the world.
Every year, Dulles Designs sends out 1,200 to 2,400 handwritten, calligraphy-addressed notes. “Each message is personal, not about business,” says Dulles. Each handwritten letter serves as a lovely and impressive sample of the company’s calling cards, letterhead, envelopes, and note cards.
The time, effort, and revenue that Dulles Designs has put into creatively sharing its work has produced remarkable results and ROI.
For more information, contact:
Dulles Designs ~ Bespoke Engraving, Letterpress & Printing
Invitations ~ Calligraphy ~ Weddings
Phone 843 . 513 . 8146
By appointment: Washington DC ~ Charleston SC ~ Palm Beach FL