After graduating with a degree in recreation from Oklahoma State University, Carey Sue Vega went to work as a cruise director for Norwegian Cruise Line.
During her 10 years with the ship cruise company she met and married Rick Vega, who grew up in Miami, Fla., and worked for Norwegian Cruise Line.
"We were like Lauren and Gopher on the Love Boat," Vega said, comparing her and her husband to two of the featured characters on the comedy television series.
When they decided to leave the cruise line and settle on the mainland, they considered cities in Texas as well as Oklahoma.
A former Oklahoma first lady, Shirley Bellmon, influenced their decision.
Vega grew up in Ponca City and her father operated a farm and ranch near Billings, where Shirley Bellmon operated the First Lady Cafe. When she would return home from her job with the cruise line to visit her family, Vega would often eat at the First Lady Cafe.
"Shirley Bellmon told me she was sick and tired of all the kids from the area moving (to) towns in other states," Vega said.
Vega was influenced by the former first lady, who died in 2001. In 2000, Carey Sue and Rick Vega decided they would start their post- cruise-line life in Oklahoma.
"We were looking at big cities in Texas, but we settled in Edmond," Vega said.
Back in Oklahoma, Vega used part of her experience on the cruise line for her own small business. She provides etiquette training for business professionals and teaches junior and premiere cotillions in the Oklahoma City area.
Her etiquette teaching experience started while she was a cruise director.
"Some people on the cruises felt really awkward at a formal table," she said. "I gave them tips about formal dinners. We would do an afternoon program on the ship - party manners and table etiquette."
She now provides similar services for business professionals. Vega presents etiquette workshops for professionals and customized sessions for businesses. Her husband is director of the Nigh University Center at the University of Central Oklahoma.
"We cover basic manners," she said. "We talk about business etiquette and entertaining the client over lunch or coffee."
Vega's next business etiquette workshop is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel, 1 Park Ave., Oklahoma City. The session will include insight on dining etiquette for professional settings and guide participants through the art of initiating and sustaining conversation to advance business relationships. …