Newport Manners & Etiquette: All-White Wedding Etiquette + More

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


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Bold brides say "I don't" to white wedding gowns.

The increasingly rising trend in number of weddings bring questions against wearing an all-white wedding gown and sending a present when you don't attend the ceremony. Nonetheless, the trickiest question of all to Didi Lorillard has to do with asking people about their salary. This week at

Asking someone's salary

Dear Didi,

Is it good etiquette to ask a person how much they make? L.C., Jamestown

Dear L.C.,

Is it polite to ask a woman her age? There are ways you can extract this sort of information without putting the person on the spot. By saying, instead, "John, you must make six figures." With that they can answer, "Just about," or quickly correct you by saying, "More like twice (or half) that." Still, asking about someone's salary isn't nearly as rude as making them disclose their net worth. ~Didi

Does a bride have to wear white?

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.

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 debutant balls. If your daughter doesn't dance to that tune, let her wear whatever color she wishes to wear on her special day. ~Didi

Do I have to send a wedding present?

Dear Didi,

I regretted a wedding invitation. Do I have to send a present even though I didn't go to the wedding? V.P., Dallas, TX

Dear V.P,

It depends on your relationship with the wedding couple. Ordinarily, if you don't attend the wedding, you don't need to give a wedding gift. Sending a card or personal note within a couple of months, wishing the couple great happiness, and thanking them for having invited you is always appreciated.

On the other hand, if they attended your wedding and sent you a decent present, you may want to reciprocate by sending them a token gift from their bridal registry. Needless to say, if you do business with the couple or know them socially or because they're family, you may want to choose a mid-priced gift from their bridal registry in order to sustain the relationship. ~Didi

Wedding attire for a reader

Dear Didi,

I am 50, 5'4" and 190 lbs. Very apple shaped. Heavy on bottom NOT on top. My niece's wedding is in June. It is an outside event. I would call her style shabby chic. Her colors are Navy and Coral Cream. She has asked me to read a poem for her at the ceremony. Which I am Very honored to be asked to do. She means a great deal to me. However I DO NOT want to shame or embarrass her in any way with my attire. Can you Help me please with what to wear? Annie, Charlotte, NC

Dear Annie,

Since you will be standing up behind the podium or reading from the pulpit, the top is the important element of clothing. I'm a big fan of the special occasion tailored silk jacket, which you could wear with a simple black or navy blue knee-length skirt. Since I don't know the formality or time of the ceremony, this is a rather general answer. Go to the Maria Pucci website ( and look at the shorter jackets especially the Charleston Jacket in Elegant Peach, Pink Sea or Elegant Teal.

The reason I like these jackets is because they are elegant and dignified. They have style, and yet they have the shabby chic old-world look about them that says, I'm the favorite aunt. These jackets are made to order. You would go to the best tailor in your area, who would take the measurements needed to have the jacket made for you. Trust me, you will use this occasional jacket again and again. They are absolutely lovely and it will put you up there on that pulpit with style and dignity. You want to wear a curvy elegant jacket of good quality, whether you have one from Maria Pucci or from another brand. ~Didi


Do you have a question for Didi? Visit her at We can withhold your name and location. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Previous weekly columns may be found by typing in Didi Lorillard in the above righthand search.


Related Slideshow: 10 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Pat’s 5K

If you’re looking for a different way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, think about participating in the St.Pat’s 5K. The Tour de Patrick includes three 5K races in three different cities. On March 8th the Tour de Patrick hits Providence with the race starting at 11am at the Rhode Island State House. Make sure to register for the race online. After the race, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at 12 pm on Smith Street. For more information, click here.

St. Pat’s 5K: Rhode Island State House, Smith Street, Providence, RI, 02908

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Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade

On March 15th don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of Newport’s 58th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade begins at 11 am at Newport City Hall and will include everything from marching bands to clown units. After the parade make sure to check out the alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day family celebration which will feature bag pipers and Irish step dancers. Entry to this event is free and you’ll have the chance to win giveaways and cash prizes. Click here for more information. 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade: 43 Broadway, Newport, RI, 02840

St. Patrick’s Day Family Celebration: The “Hut,” Golden Hill Street, Newport, RI, 02840 (Behind Newport Public Library)

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South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Brought to you by the Allied War Veteran’s Council, South Boston’s one and only St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on March 16th. This parade is said to be the second largest parade in the country and is seen on live TV. The parade starts at 1pm. Make sure to check their website for the parade route as well as a list of pubs and bars recommended by the parade commitee. For more details, go here

St. Patrick’s Day Parade: West Broadway, Boston, MA, 02127

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11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade

If you want to keep the Irish spirit alive after St. Patrick’s Day, the 11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade is on March 23rd. This single day celebration has over 2,000 marchers and 30,000 spectators. There will also be decorated floats, Gaelic music, and the famous Irish jig. The parade kicks off at 1pm and is an event you will not want to miss. Keep checking their website for parade route information. Click here for more information. 

11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade: Mystic, Connecticut

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Harpoon St. Patrick’s Day Festival

St. Patrick’s Day is not a one day celebration, at least not according to the Harpoon St. Patrick’s Day Festival. On Friday March 7th from 5:30 pm to 11 pm (doors close at 9:30 pm) and Saturday March 8th from 2 pm to 9 pm (doors close at 7:30 pm) step inside the largest brewery in Boston and enjoy food venders selling corned beef and cabbage and cash bars featuring Harpoon Celtic Red. Also get ready to dance the Irish jig because both nights feature 4 or more live bands. The coverage charge is $20 at the door (cash only). For more details, visit their website

Harpoon Brewery: 306 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA, 02210

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Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Connecticut has another great parade on Sunday March 16th in Greater New Haven. This parade which begins at 1:30 pm is a free event and is the largest spectator event in Connecticut. This parade features 3,000 marchers, bag pipers, clowns and marching units, and will be broadcasted on FOX CT. Click here for more details. 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Derby Avenue and Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, 06511

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A Little Bit of Ireland

Described as pure Celtic magic, the A Little Bit of Ireland show on March 15th and 16th at the Reagle Music Theatre is now celebrating its 16th anniversary. As the largest Irish show in New England, this show features Irish tenors, Riverdance, a master Irish comic and a peek at Irish cottage life. There are three shows and tickets start at $35, purchase them online. Visit their website for more information.

Reagle Music Theatre: 617 Lexington Street, Waltham, MA, 02452

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Durgin Park

One of the best parts about St. Patrick’s Day is of course the corned beef and cabbage dinner. Durgin Park located near Faneuil Hall in Boston is known for its traditional New England corned beef and cabbage dinners so you won’t have to miss out on this Irish tradition. For more information, click here.  

Durgin Park: 340 Faneuil Hall Market Place, Boston, MA, 02109

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Worcester County St. Patrick’s Parade

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Worcester County is a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Massachusetts and take pride in your Irish- American heritage. The Worcester County St. Patrick’s Parade Committee is a nonprofit organization dedicated to a safe family-oriented parade, which begins March 9th at 12 pm. Click here for details. 

St. Patrick’s Parade: Park Avenue, Worcester, 01602

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Faneuil Hall is not the only place to enjoy some traditional Irish cuisine, RiRa is a popular Irish pub in Providence that serves some great Irish food including a Guinness stew and house brined corn beef. Make sure to check their website for events, they often feature trivia nights and live music. For more information, visit RiRa online.

RiRa:: 50 Exchange Terrace, Providence, RI, 02903 


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