Ask B: Birthday Party Invite Drama

Dear B, 

My daughter recently celebrated her 16th birthday, and invited 10 friends to share in the fun. Not everyone in her class was invited because we had limitations with the size of the venue. A few of the girls posted pictures of the party on Instagram, and one girl who wasn’t invited to the party, saw the picture and has been very upset ever since. She is not a close friend of my daughter, however she was so upset that she has skipped school, and can’t take her final exams. Her mother has also called me several times to discuss why her daughter wasn’t invited. I feel terrible that this girl’s feelings are hurt, and I’m not sure what to say to her mother, and this has now been going on for weeks. Do you have any advice on what I can say to her mom?


Mother of the B-Day Girl


This is a tough situation indeed! A tough situation on both sides – for your daughter and her classmate. For your daughter, it was her birthday party and so she decided who she wanted to include, which I’m sure was a hard decision given that she could only invite 10 friends. For your daughter’s classmate, it was disheartening because she wasn’t included and no one wants to be left out. However, as you and I both know, not everyone is invited to everything, be it a 16th birthday party or a ladies luncheon. That’s just life and we all experience being left out at one time or another! The important thing, is to use this as a teachable moment. So your daughter can understand how this girl is feeling, consider talking with her about a time she was left out, and ask how it made her feel. And for the future, if she is ever left out of a party, listen and validate her feelings, and teach her to be the bigger person. Suggest you two have a fun mother-daughter outing or she invite a friend to get together on the party day. As for what to say to the classmate’s mom: empathize with her daughter’s feelings of disappointment, and share that your daughter was only able to invite 10 friends (explain why, i.e., due to size of the venue). Something to chat over with your daughter – see if she and this classmate can meet for frozen yogurt or lunch one Saturday to get to know each other better – and if she’s open to the idea (I hope she is!), suggest that to the mom when you speak with her. Good luck!

Hugging Etiquette

I hope everyone is enjoying the short week! We moved into our new house last weekend (hooray!), and are just catching our breath after sorting through a sea of boxes. Watching the moving trucks load up our cottage was of course bittersweet since we had so many amazing memories there, however the whole family was ready for a new chapter and bursting with excitement when we walked through the door of our home. It feels incredible to be moved in, and we are pinching ourselves that this is our house.

On to this week’s etiquette post! I wanted to talk about hugging etiquette, as hugging can seem so innate to some, while a bit uncomfortable for others. Having good manners is all about being your best self and making those around you feel comfortable, and so it’s crucial to read each other’s social cues (tap into your EQ here!) regarding personal space. I’m a self-proclaimed hugger, always have been! I’m just an affectionate person, and love to give a good squeeze to my family and dear friends alike. However, over the years I’ve learned that not everyone is this way, even some of my very closest friends.

It can be tricky to know when and who to hug, and so here are my tips on hugging etiquette. And when in doubt with any etiquette question, shoot me an email to “Ask B” at and. Enjoy!

Quick Tips

Hugging Etiquette


Always read the person’s social cues and body language before hugging.

Unless you know they aren’t a hugger, hugging a good friend is a wonderful way to say “hi” or “bye.”

A cheerful “hello” or “great to see you” is enough of a greeting for an acquaintance.

Stick to handshakes and “hello’s” for colleagues and clients – keep it professional. If you are at an after work dinner, office party or other social setting and you know the person well, a hug goodbye is acceptable.

A handshake is best when meeting someone for the first time.

If you’re joining a big group (ex: for lunch), there’s no need to go around and hug each person.

Hugs should be quick (2 seconds), so don’t linger.

If you are ill (please stay home!) or are glistening from a recent Pilates class, skip the hug.

Etiquette Tips for Hosting Toddler Birthday Parties

Happy Friday everyone! As promised, I give you the second installment of toddler birthday party etiquette: tips for hosting toddler birthday parties. I’ve hosted two of such soirees and learned quite a bit about the modern manners for the host and birthday child.

Last year I planned a “Curious George” themed party for C’s birthday, and he had the time of his life! Primary color balloon bouquets and charming decorations by Toot Sweet – think pom pom party hats and a mixture of striped and polka dot place settings – filled the room, as well as “Curious George” book party favors wrapped in cello and bows, and we of course enjoyed C’s favorite vanilla and sprinkle celebration cake. I will always remember the look on C’s sweet face – he lit up! – when he first walked into the party room and realized it was his special day. His big blue eyes and darling smile said it all, and I knew he was on cloud nine.

And so, if you are hosting (or plan to someday host!) a birthday party for your tot, here are my etiquette tips. Cheers to the weekend!

Quick Tips

Etiquette Tips for Hosting Toddler Birthday Parties


Send invitations (list the “who, what, when, where,” etc.), whether it’s an e-vite or paper invite

List an RSVP date on the invitation and follow-up via phone if needed to get a final headcount

If siblings aren’t included, only address the invitation to the child being invited, otherwise address it to the family

If you know of any guests attending who have food allergies, try to offer snacks and treats they can enjoy too

Ensure you have enough cake, food, and beverages for each child and their parents/siblings (if attending)

Since a toddler’s attention span is limited, it’s best to wait until after the party to open gifts

Party favors are a nice-to-do, but not a must-do

If your child receives gifts at their party, send hand written thank you notes on their behalf

Have a first-aid kit on hand at the party in case anyone gets hurt

If your child falls ill before the party, call each of the guest’s parents to let them know and re-schedule the party if possible