This week, in his latest instalment of the A-Z of British etiquette, William Hanson finds out if Carriages at midnight is still required
A term that is seldom found on invitations any more is Carriages. But keen followers of The Done Thing should know what this means and the correct place to put it on the invitation: it sits majestically in the bottom right-hand corner, with the additional information.
In days of old it would be an instruction as to what time you should order your horse-drawn carriage to arrive to collect you. Carriages at midnight, it may read. Having a stipulated end time is a great help to all concerned, although due to cutbacks, few of us still have carriages. The term is still used, as Minicabs at midnight doesn’t have quite the same élan. Stick to using the term, as it can be a great way to make sure your guests leave!
William Hanson is the Etiquette and Protocol Consultant for The English Manner. He works with VIP households, diplomats, businessmen, schools and colleges and has advised multinational brands. He is regularly asked by global media to comment on modern manners and social mores