Digital Age Etiquette

Charlotte Harris and Stephanie Sneeden

Charlotte Harris launched the gift shop bearing her first name 25 years ago this month when she was still wrangling the kids at home. Today those kids are grown, both invovled in the family business. Her daughter, Stephanie, runs the North Hills location. Son, Conner, and daughter-in-law, Mimi, will open a location in Charlotte this month.

Over the years, she’s become Raleigh’s informal etiquette guru, giving tips on everything from stationery to style. RM caught up with Harris for a quick digital age etiquette lesson.

Q: Can I send evites or use my email address as an RSVP?

A: Yes. Simple logistics are changing the way we think about invitations and reply cards. A digital invitation comes in handy if you want to have an impromptu party. You can also use a combination of digital and paper—a traditional invitation, say for a wedding, with instructions to reply digitally.

“I think people are realizing that they’ll get much more feedback that way than having to wait for somebody to actually fill out a card. It’s not the proper way according to an etiquette book, but I think those days are gone. We’ve seen at least 50 percent of our customers now put an email address for the reply.”

Q: Is sending a thank you via email the same as a hand-written note?

A. Technically you’ve fulfilled your obligation, but it’s not the same.

“I think a handwritten thank you note is the one thing that’s remained constant. When you get that note, it’s just for you; that person took the time to do it and it really shows they care—that they appreciate the time you gave them. Don’t sweat your penmanship. A handwritten note is always better than any electronic substitute.”

Stop by Charlotte’s in Cameron Village for a storewide anniversary celebration all day Friday, Oct. 23.

Christa Gala

Christa Gala

Christa Gala worked for 16 years as a newspaper columnist and freelance writer across digital and print platforms before joining Raleigh Magazine. Gala is in her fifth semester teaching Writing and Reporting at UNC-Chapel Hill’s renowned School of Media and Journalism.
Christa Gala

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