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20-40-60 Etiquette: How about houseguests?

How do you entertain houseguests, especially your in-laws? 20-40-60 Etiquette answers, with Kathy Walker as guest.
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman Published: October 14, 2012

QUESTION: I am a newlywed. My in-laws are coming from out of town and will be our houseguests. Are there rules that I should know about entertaining houseguests? Should I provide them my car to drive while they are in town? Should I plan a list of activities for them? How about meals?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: What I am getting from the questions you're asking is that you aren't close with your in-laws. If they have never visited Oklahoma, I would make plans for them to explore the city. Also, I would make dinner plans with them if they do not have prior engagements. While, they are in town, I would definitely be “on call” for them. Good luck!

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: The “Golden Rule” applies here — think how you would want to be treated if you visited people in another city and approach their visit from that perspective. Then use this time as a way to open up communication with your new in-laws. Ask them if they will need transportation and then help them arrange it, unless you have an extra car that you don't need. Plan a few activities to do with them and a list of things they might want to do when you can't be there. Let them know in advance what your schedule is so they know what to expect; include them in your plans if you can. It's always fun to meet friends of friends (or relatives) in other cities.

Enjoy meals together — save money by cooking in. I am assuming that they are coming to see you and your spouse, so make sure you plan to spend time with them. We visited two families of dear friends in Washington, D.C., over the summer and enjoyed their company immensely. At night, we cooked in and visited with our friends; during the day, we toured the city on our own while they went to work and school. They dropped us off at the Metro station in the mornings. They were gracious hosts, and we were thankful to see them.

HELEN'S ANSWER: This is really a great chance to get to know your in-laws and you should probably take your clues from them. Ask them if they would like to see the city. Ask them if they need a car or need you to take them somewhere. If you and your spouse both work all day, then it might be nice to take a few days off to spend time with them.

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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