Newport Manners & Etiquette: Hot + Cold Destination Fall Weddings + More

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


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Fall weddings to destinations in the tropics and the Catskills. How to dress for Halloween at the Welcome Dinner the night before the wedding? Mourners help pay for teenager's burial and gravestone. All questions to Didi Lorillard this week at NewportManners.

Too hot for a tux

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.  Name withheld, Newport

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 and reception are not taking place on the beach, but in a hotel or a private home, where there will be a tent with a wooden dance floor. On tropical islands such as Barbados there is an indoor-outdoor lifestyle where tiled or stone terraces with a wooden dance floor are used for dining and dancing. When 'formal' attire in a tropical climate is called for, your husband should wear a white dinner jacket.

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. 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

Wedding Welcome Dinner on Halloween

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 will wear my original wedding dress from 1983 and my husband has ordered a rented tux from the same era.  Patti C., Santa Clarita, CA

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

Chilling in the Catskills

I am attending a wedding in late October in the Catskills. The information on the website says the ceremony and the cocktail hour will be outdoors and to 'dress accordingly'. I believe the reception will be inside (and with a lot of dancing, will end up being very warm) so I am not sure how to dress for the two different settings--outside and then inside. The ceremony starts at 5. I have no idea how to dress. Any advice would be grateful appreciated!!  Ali, Brooklyn, NY

Look for a dress code on the wedding invitation. When it doesn't specify Black Tie, then you can assume it is Suits & Dresses. As a bit of a chic freak, I would say you should keep warm in a knee-length or midi stretch wool or knit sheath wrap or gathered dress, worn under a soft leather jacket, sweater coat or other lightweight knee-length coat. Sheer shiny legwear will dress up your legs and also help to keep you warn, along with short leather gloves. When you go inside for dinner you should be able to check your coat.  If not, drape it over the back of your chair before tucking your gloves into your jacket pocket. Earrings, a bracelet, cocktail ring, and beautiful shoes and evening bag will jazz up the outfit when your coat comes off.  ~Didi

Grandmother mourns granddaughter

My 16-year-old-granddaughter was killed in a car accident on September 25, 2014. She was in a car with 2 other teenagers, who were also killed. My daughter is an interior designer and works on straight commission. Many friends and family members know this and have sent contributions. Is it alright when thanking them for the contribution that they are told it was used for her burial arrangements or it was used for her gravesight marker? Is it alright to say they will always be remembered for being a part of her burial or precious tombstone?  B.J., Location withheld

Yes, of course, people like to know how their monetary gift was used. Knowing their contribution helped defray funeral and burial expenses will make the mourners feel even more a part of the grieving process. The many friends and family members will be touched by your thoughtfulness in telling them.  ~Didi

Do you have a Question for Didi? Visit her at, where Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book, "Newport Etiquette." If your Question is used, we can withhold your name and/or location. Do explore Didi Lorillard's earlier columns listed below.


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