Hosting Your Family From Hell

Staff Writer
Advice for entertaining family members who aren’t on speaking terms


Every week, our resident experts Mindy Lockard and Coryanne Ettiene answer etiquette questions from modern day hosts, offering advice from both traditional and contemporary perspectives.

Have a question you want answered? Send us an email with your dilemma, and then check back every week for new tips and advice.

This week’s question:

I want to invite my entire family over to celebrate a special occasion, however not all of my family members are on speaking terms and I worry that if I invite some and not others I will end up insulting those not invited. What can I do?

Ettiene: Every family gathering has a white elephant in the room, only some families are better at ignoring it than others. One would hope that the happiness of your occasion could give your family the motivation it needs to come together without any unwanted drama, but by the sounds of it, you may need to take precaution to ensure that your celebration is a success. My suggestion would be to send out the invitations to everyone in the family, and then personally call those that you are most concerned about. Let them know who is on the guest list, and why it is important that everyone come together to help you celebrate the occasion.  If you are planning a sit-down meal, plan where everyone sits with care, and in advance. Here are a few tips that may help

Lockard: Communication is key in any family situation, especially when you are the middleman (or woman). The best thing to do before you invite anyone is to reach out to your other guests and let them know what, and who, to expect. Then follow up to make sure your guests are comfortable. Yes, we are all adults and, in a perfect world, everyone would attend and behave... However sometimes where family is concerned, adult-like behavior goes out the window. And that's the last thing you want to have happen as you're celebrating any occasion

About Our Experts: Mindy Lockard is The Gracious Girl and offers traditional etiquette advice with a modern, gracious twist. Coryanne Ettiene believes entertaining at home should be an everyday affair; she shares contemporary advice for modern living at Housewife Bliss.

Click here to see more tips and advice from our experts.