• When the Wedding Welcome Dinner Is on Halloween
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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When the Wedding Welcome Dinner Is on Halloween

Dear Didi,

My son is being married on November 1st. The evening prior to the wedding there is a Welcome Dinner for all guests hosted by me and my husband. Because it is Halloween, my son and future daughter-in-law want it to be a costume party. Is it distasteful for my husband and me to dress as bride and groom? I am wearing my original wedding dress from 1983 and my husband ordered a rental tux from the same era.

-Patti, Santa Clarita, CA

Dear Patti,

Wonderful idea! As you said, it is a costume party. Most of the guests at the Welcome Dinner will know the wedding couple, and that you and your husband are not the ones being married the following day.  Run your idea by your son and his fiancée for their approval. Personally, I think it would be a real hoot. You may want to spook it up a bit and go heavy on the makeup, with big teeth and a wig.

~Didi

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  • Barbados Destination Formal Wedding
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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Barbados Destination Formal Wedding

Dear Didi,

We are invited to a formal destination wedding in Barbados next month. They told us it will not be on the beach, but we're not really sure if it's outdoors or indoors. Does my husband have to wear a Jacket? And will a short-sleeved dress shirt pass? It's hot and humid there and he is balking at long sleeves and a tie. I thought it was weird that the invitation didn't say if it was outdoors or not.

-A.J.

Dear A.J.,

A "formal destination wedding" means at the very least your husband should wear a summer suit or summer blazer or jacket with trousers, a collared-shirt and handsome tie. Out of respect for the bride on her wedding day, men will be wearing jackets and ties. It sounds as though the ceremony is not taking place on the beach, but in a hotel or a private home, where they have a tent with a wooden dance floor. On tropical islands such as Barbados there is an indoor-outdoor lifestyle where tiled and stone terraces with a wooden dance floor are used for dining and dancing. Look at the invitation, if it specifies 'Black Tie' or 'Formal Attire,' your husband should dress accordingly. However, he can wear a white dinner jacket, because you'll be in a tropical climate. It is not exactly a short-sleeved dress shirt, but cooler than a tuxedo jacket. At some point after the dancing begins the groom will take off his jacket, and that's the cue for your husband to take off his jacket and fold his tie into one of the pockets and escort you onto the dance floor.

~Didi

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  • Tall Woman Wedding Guest
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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Tall Woman Wedding Guest

Dear Didi,

I am trying to figure out what to wear to an early October 5:00 pm outdoor tent wedding in CT. It was not specified on the invitation so..Long or short dress ?? I am 6'1" 44 yrs old.

-K.C., Connecticut

Dear K.C.,

When the wedding invitation does not specify Black Tie or Formal Attire, you can assume the dress code Suits & Dresses. For a five o'clock wedding you would wear a knee-length cocktail dress and carry a small clutch bag. For women over forty, we use the website Halsbrook.com to illustrate the kinds of dresses trending. Click on Occasions and then Wedding Guest to find dresses along with the recommended accessories:

  • Armani Collezioni Cobalt Milano Jersey Gathered Dress
  • Philosophy Floral-Jacquard Sheath Dress
  • Issa Dotty Jersey Wrap Dress
  • Issa Black Bay Lurex Jacquard Knit

It will be chilly in CT in early October. If the tent is not heated, you will want to wear a dress with sleeves. With the last dress, you would go up a size to get a bit more length on the dress. The model is 5'9" and wearing a Small. Black ballerina flats, rather than heels, would not only keep your height down, but prevent your heels from sticking into the grass, if the tent doesn't have a wooden floor. Wear the gold and Black Swirl Clip Earrings and not the dangling earrings

~Didi

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  • Winter Morning Wedding Dress Code
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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Winter Morning Wedding Dress Code

Dear Didi,

Is is appropriate to wear a long dress to a 11:00 a.m. wedding that is scheduled for January 3rd?

-Janine P.

Dear Janine P.,

No. A morning wedding is not dressy. A knee-length dress, midi, or beautiful skirt-suit would be more appropriate. The earlier in the day the ceremony, the less dressy the outfit.

~Didi

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  • Dress Code for Niagara Falls Wedding in January
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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Dress Code for Niagara Falls Wedding in January

Dear Didi,

I'm 50 years old (young 50) my nephew is getting married in January in Niagara Falls, NY. Not sure what to wear, its a formal wedding, church at 1:00pm reception at 6. Should I wear a long dress for the reception, and wear a different dress to the church ceremony? Not sure what to do.

-N.F.

Dear N.F.,

When the wedding invitation does not specify Black Tie or Formal Attire, you can assume the dress code is Suits & Dresses. It will be cold in Niagara Falls in January. Wear a warm dress and coat, a hat, gloves, and boots to the ceremony. Dress up your dress for the six o'clock dinner reception with a necklace, heels and a pretty evening bag. It is not so much about the dressiness of the clothing as it is about the quality of the outfit for a destination wedding. You could also wear a very nice skirt-suit, such as one by St. John. Do you really want to be traipsing around in the snow in boots and a long dress? I don't think so. If you are still in doubt, ask a member of the bridal party, such as the groom's mother, or another guest what they are wearing. Just because the bridal party are in formal attire, the dress code for the guests may not be as formal as Black Tie, even when you're the groom's aunt.  

~Didi

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  • Wedding Guest Dress for Denver
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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Wedding Guest Dress for Denver

Dear Didi,

I am going to a wedding in Denver over Columbus Day weekend. The bride is an artist/philosopher who will wear an alternative "nude" colored wedding dress. What sort of dress would be appropriate for me to wear to an afternoon wedding. I'm 66, almost 6 feet tall, female, and I refuse to wear flimsy high heels.

-Wondering, Providence, RI

Dear Wondering,

There is a great wedding guest dress you should see at Halsbrook.com. Click on Occasions, then Wedding Guest and you'll find: Armani Collezioni: Cobalt Milano Jersey Gathered Dress Then go to Sale to see: Philosophy: Black Crepe Pique Dress Maxmara:  Angelo Patchwork Knit Dress Elie Tahari:  Maura Tweed Jacquard Dress Armani Collezioni:  Black Crepe Jersey Boatneck Dress With well-supporting undergarments, all of these dresses would look great on you. Also, many of these dresses are similar styles (copies) that can be found in a department store near you. As to shoes, there are fun, beautiful ballerina flats that can go anywhere. Look for Chanel type ballerina quilted flats at frenchsole.com., or similar shoes that can be found locally. My point is this. These dresses merely illustrate the style that would look best on you. You should show off your tall, slim figure and not wear a bulky dress that covers you up. Accentuate your slim curves and height.              

~Didi

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  • Children as Wedding Guests
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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Children as Wedding Guests

Dear Didi,

What age is appropriate for children, under the age of 18, to attend a 4:30pm wedding and reception afterwards, in a large country club? And what should a girl of 10, and boys wear for this event? Thank you very much.

-Lynn

Dear Lynn,

In my humble opinion, children under 21 do not belong at grownup parties where alcohol is being served. Even children who are part of the bridal party, such as ring bearers and flower girls, after attending the ceremony and photo shoot should be taken home. An exception would be a big family wedding where activities have been organized and caregivers are on hand to supervise. For insurance/liability reasons, country clubs have become careful (with good reason) about not allowing children into areas of the club where alcohol is served. Signs at the bars say, No Children in The Bar Area. Children means anyone under the legal drinking age of 21. Teenagers should be forewarned. If it is not an adult only wedding and your children have specifically been invited by name, then the club has agreed that children can be present and are taking on the liability. If you are not sure, call the host to ask a couple of questions: Will there be other children my children's ages? Will there be accommodations at the reception just for children? For instance a children's table and/or a separate room showing a movie such as 'Frozen'? In other words, how will children be entertained over the course of a three, four or five hour reception that includes a cocktail hour, dinner and dancing? Now that that's out of the way, let's dress the children. When the wedding invitation does not specify Black Tie or Formal Attire, you can assume the dress code is Suits & Dresses. A teenage lad would wear a suit, or at the very least a jacket/blazer, with dress khaki trousers or grey flannels, a collared-shirt and handsome tie. That is the dress code for boys ten years and older. A ten-year-old-girl would wear her best party dress, tights, and party shoes. We do need to caution you about bringing children to a large country club wedding. If there are not any children their age, they may not have a good time. At any rate, you'll have to keep a constant eye on them when you should be having a good time yourself.  

~Didi

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  • Wedding Guest Dress Code for Disabled
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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Wedding Guest Dress Code for Disabled

Dear Didi,

I am a disabled 53-year-old woman who will be attending a post-wedding dinner for my nephew. I have to wear tennis shoes to accommodate a leg brace. What can I wear to this dinner?

-J. Gregory

Dear J. Gregory,

There are three ways you can go, look for a maxi dress or wide-leg soft slacks to wear with a special occasion jacket. For a special occasion jacket, see what I mean at maria-pucci.com. The last is the most fun. There are a lot of pretty racy spectacular sneakers out there called designer sneakers. Go to net-a-porter.com and click on 'sneakers.' Scroll down and look at these: Isabel Etoile Marant leopard-print sneakers; Jimmy Choo Demi flocked velvet slip-on sneakers; Jimmy Choo Tokyo studded suede high-top sneakers; Isabel Marant leather Etoile Bart sneakers; Adidas By Stella McCartney; Jimmy Choo Demi flocked sequined slip-on sneakers; Common Projects Metalic leather slip-on sneakers; Saint Laurent Leopard-print glossed-leather slip-on sneakers; Common Projects Original Achilles leather sneakers and Rag & Bone Kent waxed-suede sneakers (black). My point is this. If sneakers are going to be an ongoing part of your wardrobe, invest in one pair of dress-up sneakers that you can wear for special occasions.

~Didi

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  • First Time Wedding Guest with Boyfriend
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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First Time Wedding Guest with Boyfriend

Dear Didi,

I'm going to a wedding this Saturday afternoon at 3pm. The wedding is taking place in a church but the bride and groom are both fairly laid-back people, also, this is the first wedding I'm going to with my boyfriend and I want to know if there are any rules for that too?

-B.W., North Truro, MA

Dear B.W.,

Don't be late. Arrive 15 minutes early. Dress nicely in a suit and dress. Don't talk on your cellphone or text because it is disrespectful to the bride and groom as well as to the other quests. You'll be given a program of the service to follow. If an usher or groomsman doesn't escort you to a pew, then sit midway in the church on the side that looks the least filled. You can hold hands, but don't hook up because it will distract the guests seated around you. Don't leave the church until after the bride and groom have walked back down the aisle in the recessional. The aisles empty out one at a time starting at the front of the church and working back to the front entrance. If the bride and groom don't take off in a car right away, you can approach to congratulate them. Don't take a wedding present with you because it could get misplaced. Instead, send a gift from their bridal registry. If you don't know where they are registered, ask other guests. You can also look up their registry online at theknot.com and the weddingchannel.com, using either the bride or groom's name, which will be correctly spelled on the program. The cost of your gift should be what you estimate the host spent on your food and beverages at the reception. Send a thank-you note to whomever hosted the wedding reception.

~Didi

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  • Jacket or Not
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions
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Jacket or Not

Dear Didi,

I am the maid-of-honor in a wedding at the end of September in Newport, RI. The ceremony will be held at 10:30AM on a Sunday with a lunch reception to follow. My boyfriend will be attending, but does not have a suit or even a sports coat. He does own khakis, dress shoes, and a dress shirt with a tie. Can he get away with this or should he scramble for a jacket?

-Rachel S.

Dear Rachel S.,

Yes, your boyfriend ought to scramble to find a jacket. Out of respect for the bride on her wedding day, he should wear a jacket, a white-collared shirt, and handsome tie with his freshly pressed khakis and dress shoes. Tell him that if he is over ten-years-old, he must wear a jacket and tie to a wedding, even if he has to borrow a navy blue blazer from a friend, relative or coworker.

~Didi

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