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Sticky Situation: Handling an Awkward New Year's Party Request

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Sticky situation:

In the New Year, I will be hosting a pot-luck lunch for my colleagues. Together, we will be setting our team's objectives for 2013.

My husband and I have recently renovated our 70s bungalow and now have beautiful hardwood flooring throughout our main floor. I am concerned that it could be damaged by high heels or stones stuck on people's soles, as a result of our guests not removing their shoes at the door.

Should I e-mail my team members in advance to ask that they bring their slippers or indoor shoes? Or, should I just politely ask them to remove their shoes as they arrive? I always remove my shoes at people's homes before entering, unless they tell me not to bother. But, I know not everyone is the same.

Help! What is the proper way to deal with this?

Solution(s):

What a great way to start the year with your work mates!

As a homeowner, for everyday living, you may choose to have a "no shoes" or "indoor shoes only" house rule in your home for sanitary, cultural or any other personal reasons. When entertaining for a special occasion, the most important quality of a host is flexibility; adapting for the comfort of your guests.

When surveyed, most visitors would probably state that they would not be comfortable without proper foot attire in someone else's home, especially when invited for a business get together. Someone who has bunions could be embarrassed, feeling that being without shoes is sharing "way too much information" with office mates. Other guests may be horrified by the surprise of having to reveal their "holey" socks.

Hence, I suspect that most of your colleagues will come prepared with proper indoor shoes for when they pass your threshold. For the others, I personally would not send a notice email. Instead, I suggest that you could place a sturdy doormat and/or a basketful of slippers at the entrance, next to your outdoor shoes.

If you insist on all guests removing their shoes you may find yourself in a Sex and the City sticky situation and having to repay for a pair of missing shoes. In the 'A woman's right to shoes' episode, Carrie took off her shoes at the insistence of the party's hostess (Tatum O'Neal) and her $485 pair of Manolo Blahniks was stolen. As the star of the show said, "it wasn't my choice to take off my shoes." So she felt that her hostess should have paid her for her lost heels.

If, after reading some of these solutions, you are still worried about your floors, the other possibilities could be the rental of carpets for your luncheon or hosting in a hall or restaurant. With the latter option, others will do the cleanup and that would be a bonus, to me!

I take this opportunity to wish you a "sparkling" event and may 2013, be your best year, yet!

Have a Sticky Situation yourself, write to julie@etiquettejulie.com and Julie will reply promptly. You can also ask your questions on her Facebook page.