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September Wedding Guest Dress Code 2015

Dear Didi,

About a September wedding dress code 2015 at the Ritz in Chicago. The wedding is at a Catholic Church, but starts at four. I know the rule that after five weddings are usually black tie, but not sure about this one. Can you help?? What should I wear? My husband??

–Christianna Harvey, Chicago, IL

Dear Christianna Harvey,

About the September wedding guest dress code 2015 for you and your husband. When the invitation does not specify Black Tie or Formal Attire, you can assume the dress code is Suits & Dresses. As you say, a four o'clock wedding is not formal. The later in the day the ceremony, the more formal the dress code. To illustrate the kind of dress that would fit in at the Ritz in Chicago, go to Halsbrook.com and click on Occasions and then Wedding Guest. Not only will you find great dresses, but suggestions as to how to accessorize. You would wear a wonderful well-made, knee-length cocktail dress with beautiful shoes and carry a small, chic evening bag. Your husband should wear his best dark suit with a white shirt and best tie with black socks and shoes.


Frigid Air Conditioning

Dear Didi,

About excessive frigid air conditioning.

At a client’s home the other day outside of Boston, I thought I would freeze to death. She greeted us saying she had turned the central air conditioning way up so we would be comfortable, but we were all dressed for the steamy, muggy July weather. She greeted us wearing a heavy, snuggly sweater.

It didn’t seem polite to ask to borrow a sweater to wear over my short, sleeveless dress, or to have her turn down the air-conditioning, because she seemed terribly proud of her frigid house. The cold was a distraction and halfway through the two-hour meeting, I wanted to leave, but suffered in silence for the sake of her business. What should I have done? Neither of my two male colleagues were wearing jackets, or I would have asked to borrow one.

–Anonymous, Boston, MA

Dear Anonymous,

Its cultural. It gave your client a certain amount of power and prestige being able to make you shiver. Despite the huge greenhouse-gas emissions issue, many sophisticated office lease holders require chilling capacity air-conditioners. The more upscale the store, the cooler the chill. Counterintuitively, researchers have found that more mistakes are made and employees are less productive when indoor temperature is 68 degrees to 72 degrees, as opposed to the more comfortable 74 to 76. There is actually an app called Comfy w here owners of air-conditioners can type in that they're too hot or cold or just fine to learn what you like when and tells the air-conditioning system when to boast or hold back the cold. Excessive air-conditioning is such a common problem, there are even fashion blogs that show you how to dress for the extremes of entering a cold office building from the suffocating subway. Layering of course is the way to go and there is no better fashion accessory than the summer jacket, which you can keep in your freezing cubicle for when the temperature drops to 68 degrees in August. Look at these cute work outfits from themuse.com. 14276 14266 14296 14260 14274


Inappropriate Conversation with Minor

Dear Didi,

About having an inappropriate conversation with minors.

Yesterday while playing tennis with friends, I heard one of the junior coaches asking about “dirty words ” while giving a private lesson in the next court. The coach is in his late twenties and the private lesson was to an eleven-year-old girl. At the water cooler, in front of the preteen, I told him his conversation was inappropriate.

Then, I overheard him asking her personal questions (including her age) about her family and their residences. He asked very specific questions about her older sister. I was appalled because it was highly inappropriate for a coach to be grilling and victimizing a child , when the parents think he’s only talking tennis. After the one hour lesson was over, again in front of her, I told him he should not be asking her personal questions.

The three women I was playing with thought I should report the coach to his superiors. Inevitably, he would be fired and I would have been responsible for tainting his career. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he got the message, but then I think I should turn him in. What should I do? By the way, I don’t know the parents.

–Cordelia, East Hampton, NY

Dear Cordelia,

Go with your gut feeling. Turn the pervert in. Your anger is justified. This coach shouldn't be around children. Preteens, especially, are beginning to understand that their childhood is coming to an end as they're struggling with new emotions. It is a time for discovery and looking for new perspectives of identities. The child was being victimized by an adult, and you pointed that out. The preteen's parents should be told so that they can reassure her that it is their responsibility to protect her; older men shouldn't be talking about dirty words and asking her personal questions. And should something like this happen again, she should tell her parents immediately. Since you don't know the child's parents, you don't have any choice but to ask the weirdo's superior to handle the situation and speak directly to the eleven-year-old's parents. Thank him, but gently ask him to report back to you after he's done so.


Memorial To My Sister

Dear Didi,

My sister died this past spring in Italy, where she had lived for many years. As an artist, I felt I had to create a work — a memorial to my sister — and have cards made up of the image to send to her friends. Is that appropriate? Even though we lived in different countries, we were close and I took care of her as well as I could. I spent a few days with her two weeks before she died when we said our good-byes.

Friends of hers have written their condolences, but since Italian is not my native tongue, I want to send them the image I created for my sister that is helping me through my deep feelings of grief. She was buried with her husband who predeceased her, so I feel as her brother this is something I can do to commemorate her life. Is it OK? She was always greatly supportive of my work.

–B.J., Westport, CT

Dear B.J.,

What a truly wonderful expression of appreciation for the life of your sister. Through a memorial to your sister in the form of an original work of art printed on a card, you are immortalizing her. You will not have to have too many words in the card following a powerful image. It could be as simple as her name above the years of her her life. Adding a few handwritten words of appreciation before signing your name would be perfect:

With much appreciation,

most sincerely and all

good wishes,

Don't give this creative instinct a second thought. In your own time and in your own way, you are stating that your sister will be remembered.


Wedding Reply Card Update

Dear Didi,

Do we have to include a reply card with the invitation to our daughter’s wedding? That invitation to her formal wedding is very attractive, but she says people forget to fill out reply cards and that nobody has stamps anymore because bills and letters are done online. She wants to have everyone RSVP to their wedding website. Not all of our older friends and relatives will understand about responding to a wedding website.

There lies our dilemma, how to be elegant, thoroughly modern, and communicate to all the generations?

–Alexandra, Grosse Pointe, MI

Dear Alexandra,

You do not have to include a wedding reply card to your daughter's upcoming wedding in the wedding packet. Your daughter is right in assuming that she and her fiancé's friends will RSVP to all the wedding festivities more efficiently and promptly when replying to the couple's wedding website. However, you will need to be sure the the web address appears prominently in the wedding packet. RSVP: Olivia&Jasper2016@theknot.com If you are worried about what older friends and relatives will think about not receiving a reply card and thinking theirs was omitted from the invitation packet, remember that for  generations reply cards were not used for the RSVP. The old-fashioned standard note to the bride's mother (you) was the only form of acceptance. No doubt you will be receiving their RSVP in their own words and names can be added to the acceptance list on the wedding website. Here are the most popular wedding websites offering the RSVP option to the wedding as well as to other wedding festivities: WeddingWire.com TheKnot.com eWedding.com WedSimple.com  WeddingPaperDivas.com The latest word from hosts and professional wedding planners, coordinators, and stationeries is that the outdated response/reply card is not working. When guests are expected to use a paper reply card with a return self-addressed (and often stamped) envelope, out of 200 guests invited, only 120 mail back the response card -- and of that number, only 80 will actually show up. Because of this, caterers are now requiring an exact headcount sometimes up to six weeks out. An impossible lead time for the RSVP cutoff date -- which up until recently had been a week to ten days prior to the wedding day. Now, that can be an unexpected and unwelcome added expense if you're paying for quests (per person) who don't bother to let the host know they cannot attend after all -- or who reply too late. In wedding etiquette we have to use a more efficient method of collecting the acceptances and regrets. In other words, we have to speak the language of our guests, which these days is predominately a digital audience. Keeping all records of all acceptances and regrets for all the pre-wedding, wedding, and post-wedding events on the couple's wedding website makes perfect sense. A huge convenience for the guests, as well as the hosts.


Online Dating Conmen

Dear Didi,

I started a relationship with a man on a renowned Internet dating site that ended in disaster. Unfortunately, it took me too long to understand that he was a conman. Coming off of a stale, long-suffering relationship with a nasty breakup, I was vulnerable to his attentions.

We had an online relationship for four months messaging many times a day. I thought I was in love with him. I was lonely. He was an attentive admirer. All of a sudden after two months, he had money problems. He needed money to keep his company together to pay salaries and back taxes.  Then he needed money for his daughter’s college tuition and his mother’s hospital bills. Funds needed went on. He said he was forced to move his business overseas because he was divorced and his ex-wife was draining him and that money owed him was being temporarily held up.

Over a period of two months he bilked me of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

My best friends and only sibling tried warning me, but love was blind and I believed in this scam artist. The friends have unfriended me and my brother disowned me. My best friend in the whole world told me she didn’t want to be friends anymore.

Not only am I feeling more alone than ever, but I’ve sent this man hundreds of thousand of dollars to banks in Europe so I have no recourse.

I’ve filed  complaints through my lawyer with the FBI, etc., but I know I will never get nearly $800,000 back. I’ve been playing him along half-heartedly while the authorities have been investigating him.

How do I redeem myself?

–Anonymous, New York, New York

Dear Anonymous,

Online dating conmen complaints are much more common than you could image. It's important to report this man to the authoritative agencies listed below. After doing so, tell your sibling and your friends that you've done your part to make sure others don't fall victim to scammers on social media. If they're really your friends, they will forgive you in time, although it may take time. A 66-year-old woman we know of was targeted on dating websites by eight different conmen in less than five years. The two most obvious tell-tale signs are bad grammar and lying by claiming to be employed overseas. He then creates stories to elicit money. The farther away from you he lives, the less likely he will be available to meet you in the flesh. You are probably not the only woman this conman is working his sweetheart scams on. He could also be online dating over fifty other woman at the same time using the same lines. Lines he's perfected because they work. Here is an update of warning signs to look for based on a column by Sheryl Harris in The Plain Dealer in Cleveland: A conmen from outside the United States, who says he is a professional living or traveling abroad. Conman usually use instant messaging or TTY services for the death to discuss their un-American accents. A suitor who declares his love for you too quickly. A conman doesn't share specific information about his life or work. A man who sends you a fake photo of a male model or well-dressed older man he's taken off the Internet. Scammers will often string you along for weeks before asking for money. They are known to send flowers and candy to sweeten you up. Beware if they ask you to wire them money so they can make money for you or to pay their travel expenses so they can be with you. There are even conmen who pretend they know someone you know on social media saying they had made a lot of money for that person. In several instances the conman hijacked IM accounts on a famous social media site and by impersonating one of the victim's friends, successfully gained their sitting duck's trust. He may insist on seeing you on a Webcam, even if his Webcam isn't functioning. He wants to make sure you're not a law enforcement agent. Besides, the photo he sent won't match his mug on the Webcam. There is always one drama after the next, because he needs funds for his daughter's college tuition or his mother's hospital bill. He may ask you to handle his banking transactions in the US, that could lean you to becoming his partner in crime. Do not wire money because it is gone the moment you sent it and you can't get it back. He may have bought expensive items on stolen credit cards and want you to send them to him. That, too, could lead you to becoming his partner in crime. Never give out any personal information and certainly not passwords or other information that would allow him to get into your online accounts. To add insult to injury, he might even bully you by lying to you about being a fellow victim of a dating scam; or even pretending to be a law enforcement officer tracking down online dating scammers. A real law enforcement official would never ask you for money or personal information such as your Social Security number or account number over the Internet. If you haven't already done so, report your situation to the dating site, as well as to the following three agencies, as soon as possible: IC3.gov the Federal Internet Crime Complaint Center Fraud.org the National Consumer's Fraud Center The U.S. Postal Inspection Service because you used the postal system. Do you suspect that your online suitor is a swindler? Check him out at romancescams.org. Is the person who is pursuing you the man in his photo? On Google download his photo: Click on images, in the upper left corner of your google search page. When the camera pops up click it and then upload his image to find information about the photo or similar images. For an update on scammers published after this piece, read more at: www.nytimes.com.../swindlers-target-older-women-on-dating-websites


Summer Wedding Guest Dress Code

Dear Didi,

My wife is trying to find a dress for her nephew’s two o’clock wedding. The groom says it is going to be formal and the dinner will be less formal. The wedding ceremony is in a cathedral. What color dress would be appropriate? She has one dress that’s light grey and another dress that is white with pink flowers and has a hoop skirt, which comes straight down and flares out.

–Big A, St. Louis

Dear Big A,

About summer wedding guest dress code. What your wife wears to the wedding depends largely on the time of year. If you're going to a summer wedding, a knee-length white dress with pink flowers would be lovely and summery on a hot day. The grey dress sounds more sophisticated, even though I don't know the style. A grey dress is fairly neutral and she can't really go wrong, as long as the dress is knee-length and it isn't such a light shade grey that it appears off-white. Traditionally, out of respect for the bride on her wedding day, the only woman wearing white at a wedding is the bride. However, if your wife decides to wear the white and pink floral knee-length dress to a summer wedding and there is a lot of pink in the dress, she should look perfectly lovely at her nephew's wedding. x354-q80


Ghosting Dating

Dear Didi,

My girlfriend won’t answer my calls or return my texts or emails. I want to find out why she is ghosting me, but she won’t communicate. I had plans all set up to take her to Block Island for the Fourth of July weekend, but I couldn’t get hold of her. I drove by her house several times and her car was gone and her lights were out. She obviously knows I’m trying to reach her. What should I do?

–Anonymous, Mumford, RI

Dear Anonymous,

About ghosting dating. When the person you're dating fades away off the radar severing all communication, they are ghosting you. It is easier for them to avoid confrontation rather than having to deal with offering an excuse for breaking up with you. Sometimes disappearing seems to be the kindest option. Do you really want to hear why she is no longer interested in you? It is far easier to be evasive than confrontational when discussing a relationship that wasn't clearly defined from the start. Ghosting is a bi-product of online dating. You block someone and they may as well not exist. Get a grip. You've been ghosted. She is ghosting on you. Accept the fact that your girlfriend is now your former girlfriend. She has either discovered that you've done some egregious deed or she's simply found a love mate in somebody else. As the ghostee you need to take the hint and leave her alone. She is no longer interested and is cutting all ties. Let it be. Nonetheless, don't allow your ghost to haunt you. images-21


Politically Correct Rainbow Profiles

Dear Didi,

When is the politically correct time to revert from Rainbow profile to traditional profile in Facebook? Is one’s commitment to the cause directly proportional to the staying power of the profile?

–K.A., Providence, RI

Dear K.A.,

About being politically correct. The Rainbow profile was an easy way to show one's support of a special event -- the Supreme Court decision -- and your LGBT friends, but after a short period of time (24 hours to a week), it's perfectly acceptable to revert to one's regular profile. That will free you up to celebrate other events (the US Women's Soccer Team winning the World Cup, a local election, a fundraiser...). If you want to use your Facebook profile to proclaim your strong position on a single issue, then perhaps you should keep the rainbow flag profile up permanently, but most people are not singularly focused on a specific issue.   images-20  


Funeral Reception Etiquette — Dutch Treat

Dear Didi,

What is the funeral reception etiquette for asking people to pay for their lunch at the luncheon? We cannot afford to feed anyone other than ourselves after a graveside memorial service. A family member suggested we should organize a luncheon at a beloved restaurant after the service and let everyone know in advance that they are welcome to join us, but they would have to pay for their own meal. How do we put that in the invitation/announcement?

My mother-in-law stipulated that she did not want a formal funeral reception. We thought of having a potluck luncheon in our home, but the list of people wanting to attend the funeral is growing and our home is small. We struggle to make ends meet monthly. The idea of asking people to buy their own meal is fine and the restaurant holds many memories for my husband, as it did for his mom. I can’t think of a kind way of saying, “Buy your own meal, if you want to join us in the invitation.” Should it be done?

–Janet, Minnesota

Dear Janet,

It's OK to suggest that people pay their own way. What you want them to understand is that instead of sending flowers, they join you and your family for a Dutch Treat luncheon at your family's favorite restaurant after the gravesite memorial service. Say that she didn't want a formal funeral reception and would rather have her family and friends mourn her death happily in her favorite restaurant.

The invitation, centered on a card or email and substituting your own information, could go something like this:

The family of Alice May Brown cordially invites you to mourn her death cheerfully at dutch treat luncheon in her honor at her favorite family restaurant, by paying for your own lunch instead of sending flowers.

Immediately following the 11:00pm graveside memorial service we hope you can meet  us on Thursday, July 18th at the Blue Heron Restaurant, 228 Valley Road, Minneapolis. MI. 

RSVP to jbrown@gmail.com or 431-456-6711. Please let us know if you are planning to attend the luncheon so we can reserve enough tables.

I hope you like the tone of this invitation because it is meant to sound as though this is how your mother-in-law would have wanted to be mourned.

What you say to friends is that in lieu of flowers, you would rather they attend a dutch treat lunch in her honor.

Ahead of time, find out from the restaurant the approximate cost of how much the average lunch costs, in case someone asks you'll want to know the answer. By talking to the manager or owner, you may be able to work out a set price for a three course lunches that has two options for the entree.


Keeping My Maiden Name

Dear Didi,

I’m getting married in September and I’m thinking about whether to hyphenate our last names or keep my maiden name. Losing my last name totally would be a shock to my sense of identity. I’ve had the same last name for thirty-two years and I can’t understand why I would have to give it up. How do other women handle the name change?

–F.E., Boston, MA

Dear F.E.,

About keeping my maiden name. You don't have to give up your last name.The English have been using hyphenated names for centuries and are even known for using three names connecting with two hyphens, but with early computers that didn't read the hyphens in the names, many once hyphenated names no longer appear hyphenated. There is always the option of not using both last names with no hyphen at all, which is evident in such names as Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. About using just your maiden name, the problem is the IRS. They'll want you to hyphenate your husband's name with your own to put your Social Security number on your joint tax return. Why not use both names on your Social Security card, hyphenated or not, and continue using your maiden name professional and socially? Then pragmatically giving your husband's last name to any children you may have, or adopt, acknowledges your children's paternity. You can have it both ways. Most medical records and credit cards will take both your last name and your husband's with a hyphen or without. The downside -- or some might say the upside -- is that by taking your husband's last name, it will then be harder for people to find you on social media. Approximately 20% of newly married women in the past few years have kept their maiden name -- and another 10% have hyphenated their maiden name to their husband's last name, but still use their maiden name professionally and socially. That's a rise of 22% since the 1990s. Researchers say the hike is most likely because many more women are having careers and more and more couples are living together longer before getting married, so changing their name is a genuinely drastic change. Statistics show the older you are when you married for the first time, the less likely you'll change your name. Personally, I never legally changed my name and still use my maiden name, but the IRS changed it for me because I used my maiden name and my husband's last name on our joint tax return. Do what you have to do to keep your identity. Americans have been relaxing our traditions for decades. We are marrying later in life and less often. More often, older women are having children without getting married. And now, finally, we can legally have spouses of the same sex. Nevertheless, taking your husband's last name is still "the norm," albeit less and less. 150626101106-04-scotus-same-sex-0626-medium-plus-169


Baby Shower Etiquette

Dear Didi,

What is the current baby shower etiquette for the hosts, the honoree and when it is honoring a second baby? Can there be more than one host? Can it be a couples shower? When it is a second baby, do guests bring children who are the age of the first child? Does it seem like a push for presents if you invite people whom you know won’t be able to attend?

–A.C., Providence

Dear A.C.,

About baby shower etiquette. The birth of a new baby is always a reason to celebrate. New fresh linens, underclothing, plush toys and books are appreciated whether it is the first, second or fifth baby. Pooling resources makes a lot of sense -- especially when so many of the celebrator's family and friends want to celebrate but don't have time to organize a shower. Delegating a point person for all the elements simplifies the process as long as each person understands their responsibility. Although showers for the expecting mother are popular, expecting couples' showers and same-sex expecting couples' showers are on the uptrend.
Group of women admiring gifts at baby shower, smiling

Group of women admiring gifts at baby shower

Making sure the expectant mother or the parents of the honoree have designated an online registry such as at sproutsanfrancisco.com, burtsbeesbaby.comdiapers.com, buybuybaby.com, giggle.com, or potterybarnkids.com makes returning duplicates or exchanging sizes much easier. Adding that information on the invitation is helpful to guests. mint_solly_baby_wrap_1024x1024 Finding printouts for fun games to keep guests amused can come in handy, but silly party games aren't necessary. Especially if guests are being invited to bring their child of the same age to play with the unborn's sibling(s). The honoree contributes by being on time and giving a small gift to each of the hosts. Such as a herb plant wrapped cheerfully or bottle of wine to thank them for their time and contributions. It goes without saying that the expectant mother sends a thank-you to everyone who attended. The gift and gifter are carefully recorded by one of the guests.file_32_2_2Whom to invite? In making up the invitation list with names and addresses or email addresses, the honoree can include people whom she knows won't be able to attend as long as she also sends them a birth announcement after the baby's arrival. It is understood that retirees and relatives in nursing homes are not expected to send a gift, but they appreciate being included and often will reciprocate with a card. BillMiller59242502247 The invitation itself should incorporate the honoree's name a and the phrase Baby Shower, the date and time of the shower, and the exact location, as well as the name of the online registry. You are best served when the RSVP includes a cutoff date. When sending the invitation or evite two weeks before the shower date, the cutoff date should be two days prior to the party to allow for an accurate headcount for the right amount of food and beverage. An August 14th shower, should have a cutoff date of August 12th. il_fullxfull.286526627


Sharing The Restaurant Bill

Dear Didi,

When we meet another family at a family style BBQ restaurant for supper with our kids and they have more kids than we do and we don’t drink, how can we not split the bill fifty-fifty?

–C.M., Atlanta, GA

Dear C.M.,

Sharing the restaurant bill isn't always easy. Especially in your situation where your share of the bill is less because you're ordering less food and you won't be drinking alcohol. Once you implement one of the below solutions to the problem, you will be less self-conscious about being assertive. Your friends will resect your boundaries and expect you to only pay for what your family consumed. By taking the lead and reaching for the bill first, estimate your family's share of the expense before proactively handing over your card to the waiter. Ask him to debit your card that amount. However, don't forget to include his 20% tip when before signing your credit/debit card receipt. Alternatively, approximate what your family will spend and be ready with cash to rush to pay your share. Be sure to explain that you've included tax and gratuity. A  third solution is while you're ordering your food. Letting your waiter know from the start exactly who you'll be paying for will undoubtedly result in a fairer chit when it comes to pulling out your credit or debit card. images-18


50th Anniversary Party for Parents

Dear Didi,

With our spouses we want to celebrate our parents’ Fiftieth Anniversary and invite their closest friends. However, my parents’ five children are not all in the same financial position. My sister and I are willing to foot most of the bill for a Lobster Bake in their honor, but we think our siblings should pitch in and pay for themselves and their children instead of bringing boxed gifts to the party. Our parents are downsizing and don’t need anything. Celebrating with the entire family would mean more to them than material objects. How do we work this out to make all the families feel we’re on a somewhat level playing field? I might add that travel expenses will be incurred by many of us.

–Anonymous, Narragansett

Dear Anonymous,

Make a list of all the ways that your siblings can contribute to the 50th anniversary party for parents with toasts, songs, flowers for the centerpieces, or by baking the anniversary cake. Find out who has what to offer in terms of airline miles to bring one of the family members home for the celebration. Or does someone live near the New Hampshire line and can buy inexpensive beer and wine at one of the state's liquor stores, while someone else is assigned to making up cheese plates. images-7 Handle this as a team effort. Look for ideas and resources as to how the other three families can contribute in a meaningful way. Maybe one of the families can write and sing a song to your parents. Put one of your siblings in charge of putting together a music track that includes your parents' favorites. Another could be in charge of decorations and making up placards for the seating. Yet another sibling can be keeping track of who is doing or bringing what so that you don't end up with too much craft beer and no ice to chill it. Find a volunteer to put together a chronological assortment of family photos over the past five decades. Another creative type can design the invitation and send it out after assembling a guest list. images-12   images-15 As the paying hosts you and your sister should figure out the cost to host each person, including guests, partners, and dates attending the Lobster Bake. Be sure to negotiate a reduced price for children under sixteen. images-16 Let's estimate the cost of the Lobster Bake to be $65 per adult. Then ask your siblings to pay that for their own dinners, saying you will be covering your parents and their friends. Encouraging your siblings' families to pitch in by creating other expressive ways to celebrate your parents anniversary will assure success. 22DINELI2_SPAN-articleLarge