Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary: Your problems solved | 6 October 2016

Plus: How can I dissuade my boss from wearing a double Windsor knot?

Q. A family of five from Brazil who are close friends of mine are visiting London next week. They have been kind and generous to me in the past so we arranged to take them to lunch at a Michelin starred restaurant. However since this plan was made, in true Latino fashion they have invited four others to join the party, two of whom I have never met. Mary, how can I now a) change the venue to a less expensive option, and b) ensure they do not stray off the set menu?

—Name withheld, Wiltshire

A. I know you are well connected, so why not commandeer a friend’s central London premises and hold the luncheon there instead? In this way, even if you have it catered, you can control the prices. One cost effective measure would be to buy in luxury cold collations which require no cooking and lend glamour, with the addition of UCL students to act as waiters. Explain to your friends that, for the very plausible reason that you have failed to find a good enough restaurant with a vacant table for ten, you will be entertaining them in a private home.

Q. I have joined a wealth management firm dealing with high net worth individuals and families. My boss, who has been very kind to me, unfortunately opts for a huge double Windsor knot in his tie. I fear that such a lack of taste may put off some of our more snobby clients but I am afraid to say anything to him.

— Name and address withheld

A. You might adopt the same démodé fashion yourself for a few days.

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