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Invitations Asking Men to Wear Jackets

Dear Didi,

Why are so many invitations asking men to wear jackets? It seems so old-fashioned to insist that male guests wear a jacket. Especially, in warm weather when a well-made shirt should suffice. Even some restaurants won’t allow you in, if you’re not wearing a jacket. Is this some kind of fashion throwback because everyone wears t-shirts?

–W.L., Easthampton, NY

Dear W.L.,

A jacket improves a man's overall appearance by making him look a few inches taller and several inches trimmer. Broadening his shoulders, a well-made jacket can give any man a more manly look. Whether it is a sport jacket, blazer, suit jacket, tuxedo jacket, dinner jacket, a well-cut jacket that fits you well, will give you a more masculine profile. Out of respect for your host, you always dress up as opposed to dressing down. The host is saying. It's a nice party and I want guests to dress up to show their appreciation. Wear an open collared shirt, or even a t-shirt, as long as you wear a jacket. To feel more summery, don't wear socks with your loafers or docksiders. Wearing a jacket is a sign of respect for the people whom you are meeting. 11024757_10206069588754657_2639114109603037890_n


Facebook Life after Death

Dear Didi,

Periodically, Facebook reminds me of a friend or acquaintance who is dead. Either because it is his birthday and it wants me to wish him a happy day or it wants me to recommend people who he should friend. If something happened to me, I would not want my face to hauntingly appear in the ‘Friends’ section of the timelines of members of my family and friends. In other words how do I have a civilized Facebook life after death?

–Ophelia, Grosse Point, MI

Dear Ophelia,

There does not have to be any life after death on Facebook. You have the option of appointing a "legacy contact." This executor of your account takes charge of the memorials after you're dead. You instruct him or her as to your wishes. Your legacy contact can even be changed. He or she has privileges that allow your profile photo and information to be updated. Your legacy contact can even be changed. However, take note that this memorialized contact cannot be changed once you're gone. From your account settings in your browser or on your mobile, select Security. Choose 'Legacy Contact' and type in the name of a Facebook contact to add as your legacy contact. If you would rather not have a memorialized timeline, you can choose the option of having your Facebook permanently deleted. However, even without a legacy contact your family can report your death to Facebook and place a memorialization request. Either way, your account name appears with "Remembering" in front of your name. In setting your security settings accordingly, friends will be able to post reminiscing comments on your timeline. Facebook states that account holders with memorialized accounts can be assured that their name and face won't appear in birthday announcements and advertisements, nor on the People You May Know list of friend suggestions. Otherwise, request to have your account deleted after you die.



Nonprofit Board Etiquette When Members Slack Off

Dear Didi,

We are on a large nonprofit board at our small local library. There are no term limits and we are trying to figure out the etiquette for asking members who do not participate in any way to revolve off in order to refresh our board membership. What is the nonprofit board etiquette for giving members the boot?

In none of the cases is there evidence of unethical behavior, belligerence, bullishness, or a conflict of interest. It is a matter of them never showing up for meetings or offering any input or funding. You can’t have constructive groupthink when board members don’t show up. It is a matter of ennui, indifference, lethargy, detachment, and tedium vitae.

–Anonymous, New England

Dear Anonymous,

When a board member shows indifference to the nonprofit, the board etiquette dictates the need for an intervention to take place one-on-one between the board president and the person who needs to be replaced.  They can meet informally or have a conversation on the phone. "It doesn't seem like a good time for you to be taking on board member responsibilities, which is why I'm wondering if it would be better to release you from your board obligation." In offering a leave of absence, you are giving them the benefit of the doubt in suggesting that their board membership and participation is up for discussion at a later date. Proposing a leave of absence is an opportunity for a gracious exit. Your nonprofit by-laws should describe the impeachment process. Should you need to vote the person off. For more information on how to remove a board member, try the nonprofit website BlueAvocado  


What to Say about Not Getting A Present

Dear Didi,

How do I politely remind one of the moms in my son’s class that her son came to my son’s sixth birthday party and he didn’t bring a present? My son took a nice birthday present to his party and he keeps asking why he didn’t get a gift from his friend? What should I say to him about not getting a present?

–D.C., Barrington, RI

Dear D.C.,

You don't say anything about not getting a present. Birthday parties are not about the presents and who brought what. If the guest wishes to bring one and can afford to purchase one or has the time to make one, he does. Understandably, your son is disappointed. Have a talk with him about how giving a gift is an option. When one of his friends doesn't bring a present, it doesn't mean that child doesn't like him -- or he wouldn't have come. Mention that there could be several valid reasons why the child didn't bring your son a birthday gift. A working parent may have forgotten or simply didn't have time to buy a present and wrap it. There could have been a miscommunication between the parent and the caregiver who thought she was taking him to a playdate and not a birthday party. Possibly there was no money to purchase a present and the parent didn't want to disappoint their child by not letting him attend your son's party because she couldn't afford to buy a gift. You and your son may never know the reason. It is important for your child to focus on the friendship and not the gift. images-29


When the First Date Goes Badly

Dear Didi,

When the first date goes badly what do you do?

I was set up for a same-sex date with a friend of a friend, because he frequently does business in my city. We made a plan to meet after work at his posh hotel. He texted to tell me that my key to his room was at the front desk and to make myself comfortable, order drinks from room service, take a bath and turn on the TV.

I responded that I would meet him in the hotel lobby. He texted that he hoped he would find me relaxing in his bed. Back to him, I said I was waiting at a table in the hotel lobby bar. We had a couple of drinks and cocktail appetizers while chatting amicably before I left to go home.

What are the expectations for a blind date? We both have high-level corporate jobs. We’re not kids. We’ve both been in a serious relationship at one time or another. It was uncivilized of him to think I would take off my suit, tie, and socks before meeting him and shaking hands.

Our mutual friend is pumping me for information about our blind date. He said that his friend really liked me and hoped to see me again. I do like him. However, it was a bad first date. How do I handle it from my end?

–G.W., Chicago, IL

Dear G.W.,

The ball is in your court because you went home instead of going to his room on your first date. Your new friend was not wasting any time getting to the point. He knows he overplayed his hand on your blind date and it sounds as though he is up for round two. Next time, set your boundaries ahead of time. Don't meet at his hotel. Be civilized, make a dinner reservation at a smart restaurant for a table for two. Gay or straight, it is disrespectful to assume sex on the first date -- especially a blind first date. If a blind date asked me to wait for him in his hotel room and suggested that I bathe and order a drink before he arrived, I would be humiliated. You've won the respect of your suitor, because you took control in the end. Business-people-shaking-hands


How to Regulate E-Cigarette Usage

Dear Didi,

How do we regulate e-cigarette usage in our home and restaurant? Because they are not illegal, friends feel they can vap up in our home. Customers in our restaurant vap at the bar. We’re not a vapor lounge. We don’t have the authority to tell them no vapping. We say, “Please, go outside, with that” and they do. But then passersby see a group of  people, including kids, outside our restaurant smoking e-cigarettes! It’s bad for business. We’re a family restaurant.

–Restaurateur, Providence, RI

Dear Restaurateur,

In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration was empowered to regulate all nicotine products, including e-cigarette usage. There has been no change since then. After six years there are still no rules in place. Last week the federal government divulged the fact that youth e-cigarette usage tripled in the past year, outpacing traditional cigarette usage. Most of us know that all new tobacco users are children, so it is also no surprise that tobacco companies' marketing tactics target children with 7,000 fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarette products. All of which should be banned for sale online. Studies show that those who are not addicted to nicotine as children, don't smoke as adults. images-154 If Los Angeles and Santa Monica, among other cities and towns, can ban e-cigarette usage, so can Providence. Cozy up to your city council members, even if you have to wine them and dine them at your restaurant. Pushing for rules on the books locally is your best solution. Tell your city council members this: E-cigarettes utilize a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin based liquid mixed with nicotine and artificial food coloring and flavoring -- all of which are damaging to the lungs. The e-cigarette is merely an insidious device to hook children onto nicotine. For the time being, find 'No smoking cigarettes of any kind' signs and display them tastefully inside and out. images-155


What Do I Do about A Fiancé with Cold Feet

Dear Didi,

My fiancé has pre-wedding jitters. What do I do about a fiancé with cold feet and we’re supposed to be getting married next month? I love him more than anyone in the whole entire world, but his doubting is stressing me out even more. My heart will be broken if he breaks off our engagement. Should we postpone our wedding? I really don’t want to call it off. I love him with my whole heart.

–A.C., Brooklyn, NY

Dear A.C.,

Most major decisions prompt their quota of nervous hesitation, but research shows that it is the subject and source of those doubts that matter and not just the presence of, say, jitters -- or a fiancé with cold feet. It's like any huge decision, it needs to be thought out. What might be helpful to remember is that studies show that most divorced couples didn't have doubts about getting married. We all have high expectations of living happily ever after with a true partner. At this point in time, aside from talking to a therapist, writing down his doubts about his decision to marry you -- instead of only talking to you about his fear and trepidation -- could help him develope more confidence in his ability to make such a huge decision. Doubts don't usually evaporate, but they can become suppressed and rise to the surface later in life. Writing about his doubts and sharing them with you could help your fiancé understand the identity change that he is going through in becoming your husband. Pre-wedding cold feet can come from understanding that he is going to have to adapt to the changes in his life that marriage will bring about -- with your help. Try yoga to distress. At NewportManners we recommend taking the quiz 36 Ways to Know Your Lover. If your fiancé makes it through those 36 questions and still wants to be your life partner, he deserves you. Go back to the NewportManners Home page and click-on How Tos to find How To Really Know Your Lover. images-164


Making A Memorial Service Private

Dear Didi,

How do we contain the numbers at a memorial service in our church? My husband died and a good friend is hosting a dinner reception after the service, which will take place in three weeks.

The problem is this. The restaurant can only accommodate so many people, because of the strict fire code. My apartment is too small. Relatives and friends are coming from other states, our children’s friends will feel they have to attend, and everyone will expect to be invited to some sort of reception afterwards, which I cannot afford to host.

–N.W., Providence, RU

Dear N.W.,

In other words, making a memorial service private. Even if an obituary of your husband has already appeared in your local paper, take out a paid obituary announcing your husband's death and stating that there will be a 'private memorial service,' 'private family memorial service' or simply use, Memorial Service Private. Let the church know the service is private and by invitation only. The church should be able to rope off the nave (the main area) of the church for invited mourners. The officiate should NOT announce the reception following the service. Mourners who were not personally invited to the memorial service will sit in the areas of the church not roped off. Most likely the aisles (the sides of the church that run along the nave) and the transept (the area that crosses the nave near the top of the church). You cannot keep mourners out of the church, but you can delegate who sits where. When there is no announcement or information in the memorial program about a reception, those not personally invited will pick up on the fact that the reception is private. A memorial (funeral) invitation is a letter or card inviting the recipient to attend the memorial service (or funeral) to celebrate the life of the deceased. Written in a formal third person tone, it is sent immediately after the confirmation of the Memorial Service date, venue, and time. More recently, email letters and phone calls are used to rally the mourners. The invitation may include an admittance card to the church, such as this:

Admit Bearer

to service for

Mr. John Douglas Wilson

Thursday, May twentieth, 2015

At five o'clock, P.M.

St. James Episcopal Church

 Here are a couple of samples of memorial and funeral service invitations:Funeral announcment-1




Where Does the Wedding Reply Card Go

Dear Didi,

Where does the wedding reply card go in the packet? In the inside envelope or outside the inside envelope that holds the wedding invitation? Please, answer as soon as possible.

–T.G., Oyster Bay, NY

Dear T.G.,

Where does the wedding reply or response card go in the wedding invitation packet? In what order do the pieces appear in the packet? The largest piece of the packet is the large outside envelope on which the recipient's name and address are handwritten, before the filled medium size envelope is slid into the larger envelope. This medium size inside envelope protects the most important piece, the wedding invitation, which is covered with an ultra thin layer of tissue paper to keep it fresh. The reply card and envelope are neatly laid on top of the tissue paper, followed by any separate instruction cards for the church, house of worship, or reception venue that are being included in the packet. The reply card is not inserted into the reply envelope, but tucked under the back flap of the small reply card envelope with the text facing up toward the viewer. The self-addressed return envelope text is facing the tissue paper. The recipient removes the inside envelope from the outside envelope to see his title and last name written, but there is no address. When children are also invited, their names are listed here after their parents'.

Children eighteen and older receive their own invitation.

For instance, centered on the envelope in order of age:

Mr. and Dr. Wilson

Master George

Miss Charlotte

Master William

When removing the wedding invitation from the inside envelope the reply card and its envelope appear on top first asking you to consider the invitation and fill out the reply (response) card before mailing it back in the small stamped return envelope. The tissue paper protects the wedding invitation underneath.



What to Say About Your Downsized Wedding

Dear Didi,

My daughter has a huge heart and is very social. Once engaged, friends came from out of nowhere and of course she told them all they would be invited to her country club wedding. All of a sudden her small family wedding turned into a circus for 500 guests, most of whom my husband and I do not even know.

The hard part for her dad and me is that her younger sister had a lovely wedding with a 125 guests that seemingly went off without a hitch. But our older daughter’s dream wedding surpassed our budget. Her plan would have bankrupted us. She understands. Her fiancé understands.

Amazingly, we’ve managed to scale back the size of the wedding, simplify the venue, trim down the plans, and cut costs.

But now the bride and her fiancé are faced with the humiliation of having to disinvite guests who text wanting to know if they are still invited.

I understand that traditionally all guests invited to an engagement party are invited to the wedding, but it was not possible. They assume the invitation will be forthcoming and some have even sent presents from the bridal registry. (Perhaps hoping that its not too late to secure an invitation.)

Do we have to notify those who were invited to the engagement party but are not being invited to the wedding even though they have sent gifts that we’ve returned the gift to the sender or to the store? And do we include a note saying exactly what ……?

It’s extra work for me, but I feel they should not accept gifts from those who are not being invited to the wedding, and they should receive some kind of note explaining why the gift was returned. We are in need of your professional advice.

–Mother-of-the-Bride, Charleston, SC

Dear Mother-of-the-Bride,

You are not alone in facing the dilemma of what to say about your daughter's downsized wedding. This happens more often than not. It sounds as though you have done everything you have to do to create a manageable budget. Be assured that your daughter and her fiancé do not have to return any gifts that were sent as an engagement present. I know, sometimes it is hard to figure out if an over-the-top gift was meant as a combined engagement-and-wedding present. Certainly presents sent prior to the engagement party or shortly thereafter and the sender attended the engagement party, were a gift for having attended (or having been invited to) the engagement party. Also, if the wedding couple's bridal registry had not been activated before the engagement party, any presents not sent from their registry would not have to be returned. Nevertheless, any present received before six weeks prior to the actual wedding, could easily be considered an engagement present. Once the wedding invitations arrive in the destined recipients' hands, any present received from a wanna-be guest should be returned in its original box to the store, or person, with a short but sweet note. To those who attended the engagement party and clearly sent a wedding gift, but are not on the wedding guest list, return the gift to the store and write a message such as this to be sent to their home: Allison and Jack, you were kind to have sent a wedding gift, but your wonderful engagement present was just right. The wedding gift was returned to _____ and credited to your card.  Our wedding is actually a very small family affair and we aren't able to accommodate all those who attended our engagement party. We were happy that you were able to attend and we look forward to seeing more of you both in years to come. To those who sent what is presumably a wedding gift but did not receive a wedding invitation, simply say: Linda and Bill, we don't deserve this absolutely fabulous crystal vase because we are having a very small family wedding. We know you'll understand why we simply cannot accept such generosity. We've returned the vase to ______ and your account has been credited.  John joins me in saying that we look forward to seeing more of you both in the years to come. live-view-studios-free-spirited-artistic-wedding-inspiration-01 As to what your lovely daughter the bride and her fiancé should text back to those who asked what's up with their invitation. Leave that to them. Simply said, it is a small family wedding.