• Black & White 2:00 PM Wedding
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Black & White 2:00 PM Wedding

Dear Didi,

My daughter wishes to have her colors for her wedding black and white is that okay if the wedding is at 2 p.m? The bridal party would be wearing black and white as well. Is that proper wedding etiquette for two in the afternoon?

–Shirley, South Carolina

Dear Shirley,

There is nothing chicer than a black & white wedding. A black-and-white bridal party is very smart looking. The image to the left of your question illustrates my point. A real two o'clock wedding with the entire wedding party in black, but the lovely bride. Since it is a two o'clock wedding -- and the earlier in the day the ceremony the less formal the dress code -- the bridal party outfits would not necessarily be as dressy as an evening wedding. Even though the men in the bridal party may wear tuxedos or black suits, male guests would have the option of dressing less formally. For instance, in dark suits. The bridesmaids would wear black and white or solid black knee-length dresses with black heels. The bride's dress would be ankle length and not have a train. Nor would her veil be a cathedral-style veil -- which cascades to the floor and beyond. In other words, she wouldn't wear a ball gown, but she could definitely wear a long dress. Although a black and white knee-length dress is equally as chic.The dress code on the invitation could state 'Black Tie Optional' or 'Business Suits.' The flowers could be a third color, either red, purple, yellow, but white flowers would be equally as amazing -- if not more.


  • Groom's Family Gift to The Bride
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Groom's Family Gift to The Bride

Dear Didi,

My son is marrying his girlfriend in June 2015. I want to know if it is a custom for a mother-in-law, me, to buy her a piece of jewelry and what type? Or is this a custom at all? I would like to do the right thing, because she’s a very lovely girl.

–Chickibb, Mid Atlantic

Dear Chickibb,

The tradition used to be that the groom's family presented a piece of jewelry to the bride to wear on her wedding day. Either a family heirloom or something new. For instance lovely earrings or a necklace. Find out what jewelry your future daughter-in-law is planing on wearing with her wedding dress. Ask her what she would like. Nowadays, a bride appears in beautiful earrings rather than a necklace that might distract from the fine design of her wedding dress. If the piece of jewelry is an heirloom, it can be her 'something old.' New, it could be her 'something new,' or even 'something borrowed' or 'something blue' -- if there is a blue stone. But it should be her choice. If the bride is wearing her grandmother's Victorian earrings, a modern necklace may not work with her wedding dress. After World War II, the tradition became more about giving the bride monogrammed silver flatware. Nowadays, couples are marrying later, because a woman is more likely to have a career and her parents are close to retiring or retired, and the wedding couple can pay for their own wedding. In that case, you might offer to give them their wedding trip, or pay for the wedding flowers, music, or photographs. Instead, you would be giving the wedding couple a significant gift. My best advise is to give your future daughter-in-law something she wants and needs. Tell her you wish to give her a special, personal gift and ask her what she would like. Suggests a couple of choicest and go from there.


  • January Dress Code Mother-of-the-Groom
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

January Dress Code Mother-of-the-Groom

Dear Didi,

I am the mother of the groom.  The wedding is  in January at 5:00 p.m.  Is it appropriate for my dress to be  an elegant sleeveless dress?


Dear MLM,

It is appropriate to wear a sleeveless dress under the condition that your arms are buff. What I would question is the dress code for the 'mothers' (mother-of-the-groom, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, and stepmothers), which, traditionally, is set by the mother-of-the-bride. Find out the length, style and color of the MOB's outfit and follow suit with the color in a similar hue. Think about the wedding photos and how you will fit in with the other 'mothers.' We want you to express your style, but you will want to blend in. Also, consider the climate and temperature in January at five o'clock, if the ceremony is in a church or other house of worship, some of which will require covered upper arms. That said, if your elegant sleeveless dress has a coordinating jacket, which can be taken off for the reception, then your outfit is appropriate.


  • Wedding Hats
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Wedding Hats

Dear Didi,

My step-grandson is having a 4 o’clock outdoor wedding in October. in middle Alabama at the bride’s grandparent’s home. They are very wealthy and we have never met the bride or her family. I am a young 60 ish 😉 and I have a quirky since of style and like to be different. I am also a hat girl. Would it be appropriate to wear a hat?  Suggestions on what to wear?

–Kristy, Alabama

Dear Kristy,

Hold on to your hat, because you are not going to like my answer. Don't get me wrong, I love hats. But for a wedding such as this you don't want to wear a straw hat with a lot of fake flowers or you'll look like a hick. I'm all for being quirky, but quirkiness has its place and the place is not this wedding. As the step-grandmother you should look elegant and dignified. Wedding etiquette suggests that you dress in the same style as the other "mothers" (grandmothers, mothers, aunts, grandaunts, and godmothers). Find out from your step-son's mother, his step-mother, or the bride the style, length and color palette of the dress code for the other "mothers" in the wedding party. You want to blend into to the wedding photos and not stick out like a misfit. Find out if any of the other "mothers" are wearing hats. Should you decide to wear a hat, make sure that if it has a brim, it is narrow or the hat looks like a cloche that fits close to your head. Often called a 'dinner hat,' it is worn indoors as well as outdoors (I'm presuming there will be a tent for the dinner and dancing). Another alternative is the fascinator, which is a marvelous wide headband with a fascinating decoration, the color would coordinate with your outfit. To illustrate the kinds of dresses that a woman over forty would wear to an upscale wedding, I recommend the website Halsbrook.com. Not only will you find an appropriate dress, but the accessories that work well with it. After browsing the trends, you can look in department stores near you for similar styles.    


  • Granny the wanna' be bride
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Granny the wanna' be bride

Dear Didi,

Is it improper for the grandmother-of-the-bride to wear a white blouse with rhinestone buttons to a 4:00 p.m. outdoor wedding?

–A. Z., Location withheld

Dear A. Z.,

It would depend upon how many real jewels the grandmother plans on wearing with the white blouse that has rhinestone buttons. Mixing faux bling and real bling can be tricky. Before leaving the house, she should look in the mirror to see if she thinks she looks too glitzy. She can always take off some of the bling. I would also question whether she should be wearing white. The only woman in white at a wedding is the bride. Think about it. Sitting at the ceremony and seated at dinner will she appear to be wearing white to her granddaughter's wedding?


  • Wedding dress code for attendants
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Wedding dress code for attendants

Dear Didi,

I’m the sister of a 26 yr. old bride and I am attending her after 5 wedding in Biloxi, MS in August. The wedding is at an inside venue on the beach. Her colors are fuchsia and navy blue. I am 39-years-old 5’5″ and a curvy size 14 with a tiny waistline and small bust. My sister did not specify a formal wedding; but, I am thinking an above- the-knee cocktail dress would be appropriate??? Any suggestions on the color? I have 3 other sisters who will all be in attendance for our baby sister’s wedding…we were thinking black but not sure.

–Michelle, Mississippi

Dear Michelle,

I agree, I'm not so sure about wearing black in August to a beach-style wedding. The attendants usually wear one of the wedding colors, so why not find a navy blue dress that accentuates your curves, and one that you can wear again. Look for a blue crepe A-line dress. To illustrate the kind of dress I'm recommending, I use the website renttherunway.com where you can rent, buy or just get a sense of dresses available in stores. I did a quick check under dresses choosing the color blue and found:
  • ML Monique Lhuillier: We Belong Together Dress
  • Nanette Lepore: Navy Lace Crew Dress
  • Lilly Pulitzer: Navy Bernadette Wave Dress
  • Vera Wang: Bicolor Power Sheath
  • Lilly Pulitzer: Derby Girl Dress
  • Blumarine: Lady Pep Dress
  • Carolina Herrera:  Navy Metropolitan Club Dress
  • ML Monique LHuillier:  Never Let You Go Sheath
If you find a dress at a site such as renttherunway.com, have your other three sisters check it out. You wouldn't necessarily have to wear the exact same dress, because we want all of you to wear the dress that flatters you most. Choose a length, such as knee-length or above, in one of the wedding colors (navy blue may be more practical for future use) and don't worry about matching the style. For one-on-one advice, go to what2wearwhere.com, where Hilary Dick is willing and able to help you further


  • 'Coastal Cocktail' dress code
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

'Coastal Cocktail' dress code

Dear Didi,

My daughter is going to a wedding in Maine on Labor Day weekend. One of the party invitations says, “Coastal Cocktail” attire. I know what that means in the South (Lilly Pulitzer, e.g.), but I’m not so sure what that might suggest for Maine.

–Anonymous, Palm Beach

Dear Anonymous,

Blue stripes are coastal, or any color stripe for that matter. Lilly Pulitzer is not RI, MA, NH, ME coastal. These places prefer J McLaughlin to LP. Go to jmclaughlin.com and look at the summer sale. Labor Day weekend, however, can be cold, so she'll need a pair of pants and a sweater. For the wedding weekend I like the following dresses on sale on the JMcLaughlin website: Emma Cap Sleeve Dress in Stay Sail, Sage Sleeveless Dress in Marble, Sage Dress in Deco Knot, Edie Dress in Mod Garden, and Nicola Dress in Black Portsmouth Stripe, Nicola Dress in Blue Riviera, Nicola Dress in Coral Mixed Media Stripe, and Maria Halter Dress in Jazz. Not on sale, I like Sage Dress In French Lace, which is lovely.


  • Non-traditional bridesmaid dresses on trend
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Non-traditional bridesmaid dresses on trend

Dear Didi,

My fiancé and I are finalizing plans for a non-traditional wedding. We haven’t chosen what are considered conventional wedding costumes, because I am wearing a below-the-knee silvery blue-grey dress and Tim will be wearing a Belstaff (British biking) jacket, as will his best man. He doesn’t have groomsmen, but I have plenty of bridesmaids with a wide range of waistlines, heights, ages and gender (one of whom used to be a guy). Not your cookie cutter lineup. Needless to say, my ladies are looking for guidance as to what to wear. Please advise.

–D.S., Malibu, CA

Dear D.S.,

From what you've mentioned, relay the details of your dress, shoes, and accessories, then suggest, for instance, that an above the knee-length cocktail dress in the color (although not white) and style of their choice would look chic to you. Short and not white, because in photos you wouldn't want a lone bridesmaid in an ankle-length dress looking like a wanna' be bride. All eyes on the chic bride, you.


  • Does a bride have to wear white?
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Does a bride have to wear white?

Dear Didi,

Dear Didi,
Does my daughter have to wear a white dress at her wedding next year? She wants to wear a long skirt and top that aren’t white.

–L.B., Shelter Island, NY

Dear L.B.,

Dear L.B., Bold brides are saying "I don't" to the traditional white wedding dress. Daring to wear irreverent colors such as gray, called "smoke," and shades of the palest pinks and lavender, as well as the boldest coral and purple, the flashiest of red and coolest of blues, and the ever so chic black There is no rule carved in stone that says the bride's wedding dress has to be white.Prior to Queen Victoria wearing a white wedding gown when she married Prince Albert in 1840,most wedding dresses had been blue. So began the trend in the 20th century with the exception of the 1920s and 30s, when shell pink and pale blue were in vogue.Traditionally, in the modern Western world brides have chosen white for it's identification with purity This is in keeping with the all-white dress worn for Christenings, communions, and. .