Packed with Protocol: When the US Entertains at Home and Abroad
The information contained herein is quoted from Social Usage and Protocol Handbook: A Guide for Personnel of the U.S. Navy (OPNAVINST 1710.7 dated 17 JUL 1979) Here is the suggestions that form the basis of official US Protocol.
Receptions are the most popular form of official entertainment for they allow wide variance in the number of guests invited and in the formality of the occasion. They range from the very formal, which might be a reception after 8:00 p.m. hosted by an ambassador in honor of his visiting chief of state, to the less formal, perhaps that hosted by a military attache from 8 to 10 o’clock in the evening in celebration of Armed Forces Day. The most common and least formal affair is held from approximately 6 to 8 o’clock, frequently in honor of a visiting official or in celebration of some event.
Characteristically, receptions differ from the simple cocktail party in that they are intended to honor individuals or a specific occasion, the atmosphere is somewhat more formal, their duration is prescribed, and there is always a receiving line.
The thoughtful host/hostess who plans a reception in honor of a high-ranking official will consult with the latter regarding a mutually agreeable date and time before ordering invitations. As indicated in Invitations, the person or the occasion being feted may be indicated on the invitation in one of several ways.
Guests should arrive before the receiving line disbands, normally within the first 35 minutes of the reception. The order of persons in the receiving line may vary with the type of occasion and desires of the hosting official.
The sequence which the Department of State follows for official functions in honor of high-ranking dignitaries is:
Announcer –– Host –– Guest of Honor –– Guest of Honor’s Wife –– Host’s Wife –– Extra Man
The announcer is often a military aide whose responsibility is to announce each guest by name.
The extra man avoids placing a woman at the end of the line. It is his function to move guests into the reception area. Very often, however, this extra person will make the line entirely too long, in which case he may be eliminated.
An alternative which is equally appropriate and which makes the relationship of those receiving clearer to the guests is:
Announcer –– Host –– Host’s Wife –– Guest of Honor –– Guest of Honor’s Wife –– Extra man [Read more…]
Invitations vary in style and format depending upon the type of occasion for which they are issued. The broad categories of formal and informal occasions will be used in this discussion.
Formal: A formal occasion might include an official ceremony, any type of reception, official luncheons or dinners, dances or weddings. In these situations, a tbrmal invitation is most appropriate.
Formal invitations are generally in one of the following forms:
- Fully engraved 1
- A phone call followed by a “To Remind” card
In any of these four types of invitations, use the following standard format as a guide:
1 The expression “engraved” is used herein for simplicity. It is intended to be synonymous with other modes of printing such as thermography, or raised print, which is a very acceptable substitute.
2 Use complete name of hosts: or if for very senior officials, the position, title, and spouse’s name; e.g., The Secretary of the Navy and Mrs. Claytor.
3 Lines 2 and 3 may be combined to read simply, request the pleasure of your company.
4 Indicate the type of function as: at dinner, at cocktails, at a buffet-dinner, etc.
5 The “in honor of” phrase may also properly be the first line of an engraved invitation, or the last.
6 Figures are never used in a formal invitation; the day and month are capitalized. The following examples of time indications are also correct:
- “from six to eight o’clock”
- “at half past six o’clock”
- “at half after six o’clock”
- “from six-thirty to eight-thirty o’clock” (used only when two half hour periods must be shown and space is limited)
7 Specify the location of the function. If a residence is involved, the address may be reflected instead in the lower right comer.
8 If it is desired that a written response be made, to a place other than the site of the function, indicate the mailing address here.
9 Specify an attire which is appropriate to the type of function and the hour. [Read more…]
From the President to the GS-16 The Order of Precedence for Ceremonial and Social Occasions According to Naval Guidelines
The Standard for Protocol in Washington is The Social Usage and Protocol Handbook: A Guide for Personnel of the U.S. Navy. Here are relevant excerpts to help reports and “Official Washington” navigate the social waters of the Capital city.
The information contained herein is quoted from Social Usage and Protocol Handbook: A Guide for Personnel of the U.S. Navy (OPNAVINST 1710.7 dated 17 JUL 1979)
Members of the Naval Service will find that at all points in their careers they can expect to be involved to some extent in the planning and execution of official ceremonies and social events. Protocol is a code of established guidelines on proper etiquette and precedence which, when followed, lays the foundation for a successful event.
From this foundation, the host should consider the facets which make a particular situation unique, and from there, use imagination to design a memorable occasion.
The most important consideration in planning should always be the comfort of one’s guests. A clever host/hostess is able to reach a proper mixture of protocol and common sense which will enable guests to enjoy themselves completely. If this is accomplished, an event is truly successful.
Precedence is defined as priority in place, time, or rank. In the Government, the Military and Diplomatic Corps, precedence among individuals’ positions plays a substantial role. That is, in day to day business, ceremonial occasions, and social functions, we respect the office which the individual represents, by ranking that individual according to our perception of the importance of his/her position.
Official position in the United States Government is determined by election or appointment to office, or by promotion within the military structure. The relative importance of different positions is weighed, and even the date of the position’s establishment is frequently considered. [Read more…]
The Art of Formal Toasts According to Naval Protocol
Just One More Thing To Make You Insecure About Official Washington
For almost 14 years, I published a society magazine for Washington D.C. called Washington Dossier. I was in Black-Tie so many evenings that the doorman at my apartment thought I worked in a restaurant. I attended every conceivable type of event from formal dinner parties, arrival ceremonies, National Day Celebrations, State Department functions, Inaugurals, Charity Balls and galas. Except for the fried food and single gatherings on Capitol Hill and an occasional “Playboy’s Girls of Capital Hill” Party, they all involved a degree of understanding of “Official Protocol.” After all, you never wanted to drink the finger bowl.
My secret source was called the Green Book. It was the listing of who’s in, and it included all the “cave dwellers, cliff dwellers and official Washington.” The reference section in the back had the real information — such as how to address a Senator and spouse, an Ambassador (male or female); where to seat people; how to host a proper reception and master the art of writing thank you notes. And much more.
I found that the back of the Green Book was taken directly from the Social Usage and Protocol Handbook: A Guide for Personnel of the U.S. Navy. Since the handbook is a public document, we at WHCInsider.com have taken the liberty of adding the appropriate chapters to our site. Now everyone in Washington will have access to the information they need if they find themselves in an unfamiliar high-profile situation. It is not just manners, it is a protocol and what I call the “programming of human behavior.”
- Formal Dining According to Naval Protocol
- Formal Receptions and Receiving Lines Protocol
- Proper Seating according to Naval Protocol
- The Traditions of Formal Toasts According to Naval Protocol
- Official Precedence (Order of Importance)
Needless to say, most reporters are not given this kind of training in journalism school, and being part of Washington means decoding elements of the proper social behavior.
Here is our first excerpt on ceremonial toasts, including some history and cultural differences.
David Adler, Co-Founder, WHCInsider.com
Formal Toasts as Recommended By Naval Protocol
Toasting is a means of expressing good will toward others on a social occasion. It may take place at receptions, dinners, dining-ins or wetting down parties. Toasting originated with the English custom of flavoring wine with a piece of browned and spiced toast. In 1709 Sir Richard Steels wrote of a lady whose name was supposed to flavor a wine like spiced toast. Thus evolved the notion that the individual or institution honored with a toast would add flavor to the wine.
Today we honor individuals and/or institutions by raising our glasses in a salute while expressing good wishes and drinking to that salute. Etiquette calls for all to participate in a toast. Even nondrinkers should at at least raise the glass to their lips.
Those offering a toast, men or women, should stand, raise the glass in a salute while uttering the expression of good will. Meanwhile, the individual(s) being toasted should remain seated, nod in acknowledgment, and refrain from drinking to one’s own toast. After, they may stand, thank the others, and offer a toast in return.The one who initiates the toasting is the host at a very formal occasion, Mr. Vice/Madame Vice at a Dining-in, or any guest when the occasion is very informal. The subject of the toast is always based upon the type of occasion. General toasts would be “To your health,” or to “Success and happiness,” while special occasions such as weddings or birthdays would require toasts more specific in nature, such as “To Mary and John for a lifetime of happiness and love,” in the case of a wedding, or on a birthday, “May your next 25 years be as happy and as successful as your first 25 years.” [Read more…]