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We have a wedding to attend at a farm event space under a tent on July 31st, at 3:30 pm in Rehoboth, MA. I have two questions: one is about a wedding gift and the second is about what I should wear?
We are distant cousins but close to the bride. My teenager daughter is in the wedding party. I am also, doing the bride’s hair on her wedding day. I feel awkward about charging her for doing her hair so we have not discussed it.
If I charged her, what do I give for a gift? If I don’t charge her, what do I give for a gift? There will be myself, my husband and my daughter at this wedding.
–Jodi, Rhode Island
Dear Jodi,Your wedding gift of your time is an in-kind gift. When a service you can provide is requested, you are giving the bride your time and your expertise at her request as your wedding gift. Doing your cousin's hair is a big deal. However, because the hosts will also be paying to host your husband and daughter, you would send a small gift from the couple's bridal registery. It is not so much about how much you spend on a bridal registry gift -- because you are already giving your time in-kind--, but that you give the wedding couple something --once again-- that you know they want.
- You should be able to find info about where they are registered on their wedding website.
- If the wedding couple are asking for money, estimate what it will cost your hosts to host your husband and daughter. Approximately a hundred dollars per guest, but your daughter would be half price because she wouldn't be consuming alcohol.
- It is going to be bloody hot and humid in Rehoboth, MA, in mid-summer so don't get too gussied up. If the tent is not air-conditioned, it will be even hotter.
- Wear a really nice sundress that can pass for a cocktail dress. It is more about the quality of the dress than the dressiness of the outfit.
I need your advice about late summer Newport weddings!! I’m going to a wedding in Newport, Rhode Island. The wedding is on September 3rd at 5:30 PM. The dress code is Black Tie. What should I wear?
Thank you for your help
Dear Martha,Since fall doesn't actually begin until September 22nd, you can definitely wear a dressy summer weight cocktail dress or long dress -- although not a Cinderella ballgown. By September, summer colors are on the fade. The combo of black + white gives an end of summer pop to the transition from white to black without having to go somber and a little drab by wearing the requisite chic gray. Do you look better in a vivid color? Here are three September colors: 'Black Tie' is most likely dressier in Florida than in Newport. We tend to be a bit subdued -- or underdressed -- in the northeast. Less is more. Hold back on the glitz unless the bling is the genuine stone(s). As to sleeves, for September 3rd, sleeves should be very sheer, because twilight can be steamy. Or you can still get away with no sleeves at all -- and any length in between.
My name is Douglas and I’m writing to ask you about customer care. I live in Chicago and have learned a great deal from your etiquette website. Guess what? I am about to start a fabulous adventure; I will be moonlighting at a new Whole Foods just around the corner from my apartment! I will definitely need to put into practice many things I have learned from you. I just finished two weeks (really!) of training, and am looking forward to serving/educating customers about beer, cheese, coffee, etc., and backing up my team members as best as possible. Any tips or advice you can share would definitely be welcome. Thank you!
–Douglas, Chicago, IL
Dear Douglas,The customer is always right. Even if you don't agree, respect their opinion. There is a famous story about the wildly successful America merchant John Wanamaker, who was a pioneer in marketing. A salesman at Wanamaker's department store accused a loyal customer of trying to steal a small item that she had just bought elsewhere at a lower price. The lady had actually come into the store to buy something far more significant, but when this small item caught her eye, she asked the cost. After being questioned about the item in her possession, the woman mentioned she had come in with the intention of purchasing a baby grand piano. She produced the sales slip for the small item that proved her story and abruptly left the store. The following afternoon, a baby grand piano was delivered to her house as a token of apology from Mr. Wanamaker. The point here is that you buy loyalty with respect. Wanamaker is quoted as having often said, "When a customer enters my store, forget me. He is king." Be as helpful to customers as you can, keep in mind that they, too, lead busy lives and are probably trying to get out of the store with as little fuss as possible, possibly with your assistance.
- For instance, when asked to check whether there is any broccolini left, offer to go back into the produce room to restock the broccolini.
- When a pregnant mother with small children in tow is struggling to get out the door with a loaded shopping cart, help her to her car by pushing the cart and loading the groceries into the trunk while she secures her kids into their carseats.
- If a shopper is trying to twist the long straggly tops off a bunched up handful of carrots offer to cut them off for her.
- When a customer insists that the price labelled on the shelf is lower than it was when rung up, send a coworker to check the shelf and give her the correct price.
- Offer to use your savings card when the shopper has left hers in another handbag.
- When you see a shorter shopper on tip toes trying to reach a top shelf item, get the item down for him or her.
- When asked where are the eggs? don't just say aisle ten. Lead the shopper to the eggs.
- Don't go into work if you are visibly sick, coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose because nobody wants you touching their groceries with germ-laden hands.
- Should the shopper's card be declined, don't announce it to the world. Under your breath ask the shopper if he or she has another card.
- Don't refuse a return. Refund the money or give the person a fresh item.
- How do I tell if this mellon is ripe? A ripe mellon with be slightly softer where the stem was removed and that soft spot will exude a mellow whiff of melon scent.
- What is the difference between a product that is "natural" and one that is "organic?" Google the definitions; along with other terms such as "free range," "grass fed," "organic superfood," "cold milled organic," "verified NonGMO," "GF for gluten free," "V for vegan," "sustainably pole & line caught."
- Why are organic coffee beans better? Non-organic coffee beans have been cultivated with pesticides for decades.
- What is an artisan cheese and a handcrafted beer?
We’re going to the Newport Flower Show for the first time this weekend and wondering what to wear? We’re also concerned that there won’t be enough activities for our two elementary school age children? It will be a long day trip for us and we want to make the best of it.
–Ginny, Duxbury, MA
Dear Ginny,Google the weather forecast for Newport before setting out to see if you'll need rain slickers. If it is a sunny day, you'll want to bring along sunscreen and hats; dress comfortably and smartly to ward off sunburn. Be sure everyone is wearing walking shoes.
- Your kids should plan to take lots of pictures. From the stunning overall vista of Rosecliff, with its fairytale setting and captivating topiary and floral displays, to the fascination of people watching, you should find plenty of photographic happenings.
- Inside Rosecliff ask your children to pick their favorite floral display or exotic rose in bloom by voting to see if they agreed with the judges, who will have already awarded the ribbons to the winners.
- At the bottom of this green carpeted bazaar of boutiques you'll discover a jazz band, ice cream and snack kiosks, and a wonderful Children's Tent organized and run by the local elementary school. The children's activities include hands-on planting and other botanical, horticultural and artistic projects to make and take home. What's most fun is that the "helpers" are elementary school students themselves who are well-schooled in answering questions, because they participate in a year-round horticultural club.
- Shopping opportunities abound. I especially love seeing the latest chic Newport Long Coat and special occasion silk jackets designed by Maria Pucci. Apparently, this year Ms. Pucci has collaborated with the popular interior designer Rebecca Vizard, author of ONCE UPON A PILLOW, in producing evening jackets especially for the Newport Flower Show. Ms. Vizard's eye for antique fabrics is expressed in her decorative pillows and attractive dog collars and leashes.
- Best of all, your exhausted youngsters will happily sleep through the car ride home.
I am hoping to attend the Newport Polo USA v France match in August. I see that the suggested dress code is Newport Smart Casual. I also hope to attend the Lobster Bake afterwards. Would a tie be necessary for either of these events?
Would my wife have to wear heels for the full day?
–TPJ, United Kingdom
Dear TPJ,Dress code for Newport polo tends to be less formal than matches abroad, and yet festive flare in the form of lovely hats on the women and colorful trousers and bow ties on the men are always eye-catching. Newport, as you know because you've been here before, is a summer resort and August can be hot, hot, hot. A tie, along with a jacket would be required only on weekends at upmarket restaurants and private clubs for dinner. Otherwise a collared shirt with a lightweight jacket would be appropriate. You would not need to wear a tie or jacket here in August to a polo match. Socks are rarely worn in summer. You won't see men in sandals. Men are more apt to be seen wearing white trousers or khakis -- as opposed to bleu jeans or cargo pants. Clambakes and Lobster Bakes are deliciously, terrifically messy affairs, and you'll be given a plastic lobster bib to catch the melted butter in which you dip your lobster morsels and corn on the cob. At the polo match you'll need sunscreen and a hat or cap with a visor, as well as sunglasses. Your wife would NOT wear high heels to the polo match because a spiked heels could get caught in the turf and you wouldn't want her to take a tumble. Instead of high heels, she can wear pretty sandals or ballerina-style flats. A good solution if she likes a bit of height, is to wear shoes with a cork wedge heel -- as opposed to a spiked heel. More random photos from recent polo matches:
My question concerns manners and etiquette in relationships. Between work and play there is a slippery slope about how not be rude. My girl friend, who recently lost her father, told me I was “a rude individual” and that I should be more aware of other people. What can you do to help me? I need a crib sheet in a nutshell.
–RG, Stamford, CT
Dear RG,Relationships are hard enough to negotiate as it is. If your girlfriend complains that you're rude, you probably are. It's hurtful, I know, but politeness is a badge of its own. Look at your mistakes and learn. Your girlfriend can straighten your tie and make reservations for you and your friends to have dinner. But, how not to be rude in any situation takes empathy and consideration. And, buddy, there is a difference between expressing your opinion and being rude. In a heavy nutshell, toss over in your mind some of the points below and think about how you behave now and how you could behave better. Never be intimidating Don't make people accommodate themselves to your needs. For instance:
- Be patient and allow a person to adapt, adjust, orient herself to the loss of a family member. Grieving is a process. She will reconcile herself to her loss in her own time and in her own way.
- In the workplace, keep in mind that nobody appreciates a high-maintenance colleague. Instead of forcing someone to kowtow to your idea, be flexible. Show the person they are worthy of alterations on your part. Work it out. Teammates support one another.
Be a better communicator:
Communication Is EverythingCommunicate when you're running late, whether you go virally or verbally. A few minutes tardy when meeting someone is understandable; a longer wait is unconscionable. Send a text to say you're on your way and give your estimated time of arrival. Missing any meeting or date you're expected at without explanation is rude.
- Don't be a no-show. Even if you recognize the meeting will be productive without you, let people know that you've been detained and when they can expect to see you.
- On the other hand, never apologize too profusely for being late or a no-show, because over-explaining is a surefire sign that you're not telling the truth or that you're exaggerating.
- RSVP when there is a cutoff date and it is not a pay-to-play event (such as a charity or political fundraiser). If I've asked you to RSVP to a birthday dinner for a mutual friend, and your seat is one of twelve at the table, I need to know if you will fill that seat.
- Passive-aggressive behavior is tiresome. We get it, you're shy or you're waiting for a better invitation before accepting mine. It is still rude not to accept or regret in a timely fashion.
- Within three days, preferably sooner, answer a letter with a letter, an email with an email, a phone call with a phone call, a text with a text -- except if he's in the next cubicle and you can walk right over.
- Confirm a date or meeting. If you've accepted a verbal invite and told the person you were putting the date into your calendar, there is nothing wrong about going ahead and confirming the date for exact time and place.
- When you've invited friends or colleagues, the verbal invitation needs a confirm with the invitees who have accepted. The message should be simple, such as "We have a reservation for lunch at the Black Pearl at 12:30, Tuesday. See you then." When confirming, whether you're the host or invitee, clarify who is paying. "Let's go dutch treat." Or, "It's our turn to treat you." Or, "I'm paying."
- Otherwise, the person who initiated the invitation pays the bill. The exception is when it has explicitly been specified from the start that, say, the two couples are going "dutch treat," with each couple paying their own way.
- When the person is inviting you to lunch and says, "Let's have lunch, my treat?" she's telling you she's paying.
- At the restaurant, don't be rude to the waitstaff. You don't have to chat him up and ask him his name and where he's from because he's got other tables waiting for his attention. If you overdo it with the chit-chat, he see tips from his other tables being effected big time.
- Show concern. But never ask questions that are too personal, especially when it is "personal business." 'Personal' means none of your business.
- Everybody is dealing with something. When the person is ready to talk about it, they will do so. When they don't want you to know that their son dropped out of college, they won't want to talk about it, because discussing it will only make them feel worse.
- Respect the fact that everyone has their own personal space and that zone is not like any other person's space; keep at an arm's length from people who aren't related to you
- It's bad manner to invite a particular person to lunch or to party after work in front of other people, unless all of those listening have already been asked to join you.
- When approaching a friend or colleague and he is talking to another person, wait to proceed until you're signaled to come into the conversation. If he wants to include you, he will turn to you and say, "Fred, come over here and meet Jim Harris, our new CMO."
- When I'm following you as you walk through a door and approaching your personal space, hold the door open for me and I'll do the same for the person behind me.
- Same goes for when budging into traffic. You may not know me, but if I'm on foot and there's no crosswalk, let me pass through before you inch your way forward.
- Whatever you do, don't cut the line at the grocery store, even if you are only carrying three items. I'm busy, too, with a pre-schooler to fetch at noon.
- What if the boss had told the person you weren't at the top of his list?
- An exception would be if you went on a date in high school with Julia Roberts.
- It can be social suicide to try to use a higher-up's position to further your own goals by dropping their name.
How can I make myself a more interesting in conversation? During this particular pre-election period it is getting harder and harder to express my opinions. It’s close to impossible to find common ground with most of my coworkers and fellow golfers. Essentially, they act as though it is open season on expressing their honest opinion with favored regaling stories based — and debasing my candidate — on hearsay, knowing full well who I am campaigning for and against.
Conversations are a tug of war. Don’t get me wrong, these are people with whom I usually get along. However, the election is all anyone can talk about. Unbelievably, its only June and I have to deal with these people for the next five months or more. Too often I find I’ve been bated into a debate.
–Anonymous, Watch Hill, RI
Dear Anonymous,This is about relationships and how to sail smoothly through a rough conversation in a heated election year -- as well as in any social situation. What makes you think you, Mr. Anonymous, are of interest to anyone? Why are you stuck in a workplace and social sphere where your political beliefs aren't, at the very least, respected? Let alone recognized? What are you passionate about? Do you explore new places, foods, ideas, art, music, cultures? Take charge of the conversation, if you don't like the debate. Change the dialogue. Segue the questioning into a different topic that rouses your passion.
- Your adversaries don't seem to be shy about riding on a band wagon. Don't you have a quirk or two of your own you could bring up? "Are they ever going to fix the erosion to the fifth hole on your local golf course?"
- They are good storytellers and listeners because they lead lives filled with spontaneous curiosity.
- Being curious makes you naturally happy and easier to be with.
- At the end of the day, it's about more than having interests, it's about truly caring about them.
- Be empathetic by being a good listener.
My question is about going-back-to-work etiquette.
Going back to work after a mean divorce and raising three wonderful children — mostly on my own, because my ex distanced himself emotionally after he lost his job and his career took a nose dive. We dated in high school and through college before getting married. I’m fine, and ready, willing, and able to get back to work.
My problem is that I have a gap in my résumé a mile long. At least that’s what it looks like to me, and I’ve worked in human resources. What is the best etiquette for dealing with this decade breach in my career?
–AJ, Boston, MA
Dear AJ,Straightforwardness is the best protocol for back-to-work etiquette. Yes, you've been out of the workplace. However, you haven't been living in a Buddhist monastery. Anyone with kids is hip to new trends, styles, and technology, or they haven't been paying attention to the culture while raising a family. It is considerably better to explain any hiatus in your career than withhold the information that you've been caring for three children.
- Even though research shows evidence of unfair hiring practices toward stay-at-home parents re-entering the workforce, forget about the "don't ask, don't tell" approach.
- On the contrary, not bringing up the subject of your interval could actually lower your chances of being hired. You could find that because of the existence of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that established a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity (amongst other purposes), the interviewer may not want to broach the subject.
- Title VII provides that an individual can bring a private lawsuit against a company that employees 15 or more employees, for 20 or more weeks a year, within 180 days of learning of the discrimination.
- There is no need to apologize or explain because you took time off to raise your children and now you're eager to get back to work.
- A single mother should be prepared for one legitimate objection. If she has young children and the job requires travel, early mornings or late nights, the interviewer might think that her family could intrude on the quality of her work, and she is not a good fit.
- Have a good answer worked out ahead of time.
- Even the interviewer herself, could be doing pro bono work on the side: for instance, teaching Sunday school or volunteering at a soup kitchen.
- About 4-in 10 Americans say women are held to a higher standard than men when it comes to getting top jobs.
- 60% of highly educated women at the end of their childbearing years have had two children or more, up from 51% in 1994.
- In 46% of two-parent families, both mom and dad work full-time.
- Among mothers and fathers who have taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for a family member, women are much more likely than men to say it hurt their career overall. Even so, about nine out of ten mothers and fathers say they are glad they did it.
We’re concerned about our children’s relationships with technology. What’s to be done about teaching manners through the use of bots? More than half of what my internet-savvy kids hear or read is emitted through some techno medium. The language used is stiff and manners don’t exist. My husband and I are conscientious about NOT using swear words and making sure to say, “Yes, please,” and “No, thank you”, as well as “May, I please, have another piece of cake?”
We adults have long been role models for behavior and speech. But if the bots are becoming a new authority and they don’t think problems through to a viable solution, aren’t they undermining all that parents and teachers are doing to foster good manners and problem solving?
–BN, Barrington, RI
Dear BN,Many of us have the same concern about children, but there is also the problem with handling customer relationships. While ordering a pair of tennis shoes on the Nike website recently, I asked a simple question on the chat box to the bot handling my question, as an automated task, which after 25 minutes the disembodied voice still did not understand what I was asking: does this particular tennis sneaker #... have a narrow heel? (My heels are narrow and when designing sneakers for women from a men's pattern, manufacturers forget to narrow the heel). 'Freddy,' would come back on (four times after a long silences), and report, "This is your friend Freddy, I'm here to help you, Didi." Then he would repeat the message that if they didn't fit, I could send them back. In frustration I ordered shoes that arrived two weeks later, which took two more weeks to arrive back at Nike because they didn't fit, and it took another two weeks to finally receive the size that did. Does it take six weeks to buy a pair of tennis shoes? The bot's overfamiliarity did nothing to make up for the lack of manners.'Freddy' is NOT my new BFF. We encourage our children to ask questions and to socialize with dialogue. Like you, I care deeply about how my children talk. I don't want them chatting like robots. Whether they are asking the Amazon Echo app, "Alexa, play 'Where Are U Now,' from Spotify," or "Alexa, turn off the bedroom lights," Instead, I want them to use the word, please: "Alexa, what time is it, please?" Alexa may be able to replace parents in responding to some of their commands. However, Alexa is not championing good manners. She just should have them. Routine bots are designed to covertly manipulate a simple conversation with distractions, many of which I was subjected to while waiting for 'Freddy' to answer me about the Nikes. In popups, I was shown many other tennis shoes that I had already discarded for good reasons. A tennis player knows her shoes.'Freddy' never specifically addressed my question. 'Freddy' only offered alternatives and free postage on returns. Apparently, bots are rather simple to create and implement, making them an incredibly powerful tool with the promise of affecting and influencing every aspect of the World Wide Web. With humor, discuss manners & technology with your kids over dinner by illustrating the many ways we can make bots work for us more politely.
The toughest part of flying solo and dating after a decade of being married is the etiquette of how to find out sooner rather than later that the person you’re romancing on Tinder is STD-free. I’ve already had one STD, before I met my ex-husband, and that was wicked enough for a lifetime. Don’t want to go there again. How do I bring up the subject? G
Dear G.W.,In a perfect world, dating sites and app profiles would provide a person's STD free status. However, sites like Tinder and Grindr, to all appearances, aren't advocating safety and good health, although they could easily take the itch out of the hairy question of STDs. They're too hungry for ad revenues and don't care about slashing the spread of STDs. What a missed opportunity. When taking into account that 9 billion matches alone have been made by Tinder to date, its a no-brainer that Tinder should encourage members to come out about whatever sexually-transmitted diseases they are harboring. One dating site alone reports 26 million matches per day.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20 million new cases of STDs are diagnosed annually in the US, affecting 50% of the young adult population between the ages of 15-24. Chances are, G.W., you were once included in that statistic.
- Obviously, we're losing the war on stopping the epidemic of sexually-transmitted diseases with 1.2 million people when 50% or more of new Gonorrhea and Chlamydia diagnosis occur in 20-29 year-olds.
- In addition, the CDC reports that syphilis is on the rise with 20,000 new cases in 2014, 91% of which were diagnosed in men. Ouch! And nobody is taking about this.
- Who knew that out of the 72% of gay men ages 18-39 who are currently using dating sites and apps, 12.8 % are more than likely to be HIV positive and don't know they are infected.
- Simply mail your sample to the Mately lab for the most advanced Early-Detection FDA-approved tests; you'll receive your results online. You take it from there with control over what you share with whomever.
- A successful test allows you to place the Mately member badge on your dating site profiles or show it privately when asked. (It sure beats producing a slip from your local clinic with your happy results.)
As a department store, we’ve been advised to neutralize our restrooms for costumers and staff in 2016. However, it seems that people are afraid of gender-neutral bathrooms and we’re experiencing resistance.
My question is two-fold: how to designate how transgender people will access the restrooms? By the person’s biological gender that defines them in terms of chromosomes and sex at birth or let them go where they feel the most comfortable?
And secondly, would we be setting up situations that could create sexual violence? For instance, what if a predatory man follows a young girl into the restroom, which traditionally has been a safe haven for women?
–Name withheld, Providence, RI
Dear Name withheld,There are no statistics that I know of that indicate that public restrooms are any more sexually dangerous than any other public spaces, such as locker rooms, parking garages, alleys between buildings, and staircases inside public buildings. It's true, however, that restrooms in subways, bus stations, and parks can be risky. Renovating your restrooms into gender-neutral multi-stall bathrooms, with high dividers, and simply labeled "Restroom" could well be your best solution. Especially when there is the option of a single-stall bathroom designated as gender-neutral -- the sign on the door would say "Single Stall" -- which should be easily accessed. This more private "Single Stall" would include (besides a toilet) a changing station for babies, a chair/bench for a mother to sit while breast feeding or pumping her milk and handrails for those in a wheelchair. Public restrooms may be the only everyday social institution remaining (aside from single-sex private clubs and schools), which aren't public spaces where genders are forced to separate. It may well be the last war on gender itself. For well over a hundred years public restrooms have reflected our sexual politics. First making it normal for a woman to be out in public going to school and working (while still needing her privacy when she relieves herself), and now that we are progressing toward assimilation it is no longer a big deal to share a restroom. Federal, state and municipal codes are slowly changing. If you've been advised to go with the times, why not try truly public Restrooms that include a Single-Stall bathroom accessible to transgenders, folks in wheelchairs, and parents or caregivers.
My friend has a lot of troubles with her relationships. I want to help her, but I’m a teen myself with stuff going on in my life, too. How can I be a better friend to my best friend?
–AK, Cranston, RI
Dear AK,You aren't your friend's therapist. You are not responsible for her bad luck, her bad days, and the troubles that have surrounded her. Problems with her relationships are not yours. You can, however, be her friend by continuing to listen to her. Really listening means not only hearing her words but watching her body language, and also capturing the tone of her voice. Does she sound as though she feels like crying? Ask her if she cries a lot. Is she experiencing a huge disappointment that she wants to talk about, such as her parents' divorce or the death of a classmate. It is altogether possible that she needs a confidante, someone to confide in about her fears and anxieties. If you feel that your friend is having dark thoughts and is depressed, and may be hurting herself, isn't eating, or is talking about killing herself, you need to immediately tell someone like your mother whom you can trust. A school councilor, teacher or coach would also be ideal, although you would have to bring your friend along so that the adult can access the situation for herself. You need to understand that depression is a sickness. Ask about how she is feeling just the way you would ask about her sore throat, if she has a bad cold. Let your friend know that you are willing to talk about sad things as well as happy ones, in order to give her permission to express how she is really feeling. Most importantly, ASAP talk to an adult whom you know will follow through in assisting your friend in finding the professional help she needs.
We are renovating and reopening a restaurant in Newport under new owners. During the interviews and training session for the staff, what tips can you give us to assure repeat customers and good reviews? Formerly, it was a mid-scale tourist restaurant which we are taking upmarket. Since Newport is a resort community catering to the sailing crowd, ties and jackets will not be required. However, we would like staff, as well as guests, to wear collared shirts and shoes, preferably not flip-flops. There will be a smallish sign at the entrance: Shirts and Shoes Required. Can you suggest further guidelines?
–Name withheld, Newport, RI
Dear Name withheld,Congratulations on your fine dining endeavor. As you know, your restaurant's reputation will be based on better than good food as well as on the consistency and approachability of your staff. The staff should be warm and welcoming and yet NOT overly familiar. They should be encouraged to smile at the customers, but they should NEVER offer their first name. In other words, they shouldn't ask to be called by their first name as in, "Hi, I'm Johnny, I'll be your waiter this evening." Guests shouldn't feel that they have to remember the names of your staff in order to get good service.
- Good service should be a given. A good server doesn't wait to be asked, he/she asks, "Is there anything I can get you?" or "How is everything?" or "Is everything alright?" a few minutes into the first course and then the entree. You want staff to be accessible although not too informal.
- When taking the order for the table go from person to person and speak with that person directly, because the customer shouldn't have to shout his order from across the table and disturb the other diners' conversation.
- Leave advice about fine wines up to the restaurant expert, the sommelier.
- Never reach your hand or arm in front of a customer or learn across the table to serve or clear. Always serve the person directly.
- Diners don't want their conversation interrupted by the clanging of plates or knives and forks as you clear the table.
- Wedding/commitment rings are fine, any other jewelry is not acceptable.
- No nail polish.
- Hair must be pulled back and off the face.
- Uniform could be a clean white-collared shirt and polished black slacks or skirt and shoes.
- Personal hygiene: Smell fresh, however, use only unscented products.
- Hair should fall no longer than the bottom of the earlobes.
- No more than two days worth of beard growth.
- Mustaches and tattoos tolerated on a case-to-case basis.
- Personal hygiene: Smell fresh, however, use only unscented products.
- Uniform could be clean white-collared shirt and black trousers with polished black shoes and black socks.
- Never forget the socks.
My 35-year-old sister is planning on wearing a white peplum top with white trousers instead of a traditional bridal gown. My parents are beside themselves because they are paying for her over-the-top wedding in Newport this summer. As the matron of the bride, I am the monkey in the middle. Shouldn’t she be able to wear what she wants? Our parents are paying all the bills and insisting that she wear a bridal gown. Ugh! How do I broker a compromise?
–KG, Palm Beach, FL
Dear KG,Lucky you, you're going to have to sit your parents down and update them on the various trends in weddings today. Start by saying that their lovely daughter doesn't envision herself at 35-years-old donning a big girl's prom dress with a cathedral length veil. Tell them she's not going to be the typical bride walking down the aisle in a traditional frilly white ball gown wedding dress. Add that your sister has a more modern vision of herself. Meanwhile, talk to your sister about the various choices she has in choosing pants to wear instead of a bridal gown. If she's looking for a no-nonense aerodynamic outfit, palazzo pants (above) are a wonderful option. The same would be true of a pair of stunning and flattering satin, silk, or linen trousers, a jumpsuit or pantsuit. Another option, is to wear something similar to what Amal Alamuddin wore when she married George Clooney; two outfits, trousers (see upper left photo) to the ceremony and a dress to the reception. The palazzo pants below are a comfortably contemporary alternative for any bride.
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All About Weddings
Dress Code & Grooming