Newport Manners & Etiquette: New 2014 Wedding Etiquette + More
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Inviting ex-family to the wedding
My daughter is getting married and would like to invite my sister's ex-husband and his new girlfriend, but I feel it will be very uncomfortable for my sister. (I knew it would be!) What to do? KR, Providence
I should say! Inviting the bride's aunt's ex-husband and his new girlfriend would be uncomfortable for more guests than just your sister. The first thing you have to remember as the mother-of-the-bride is that you only want to create good memories. Beautiful memories of the wedding that will be everlasting. So, you don't want to make a bigger deal out of this than you have to. Got it? No drama. Since your sister is the bride's blood relative, the bride's first duty is to protect her from feeling uncomfortable by not inviting her former uncle and his new girlfriend. Try to gently broker a compromise with your daughter by suggesting she invite her former uncle without his plus one. If he agrees to attend solo, that's fine. Although he can only come with the understanding that he is not to bring a date. ~Didi
Addressing divorced families
My college-age daughter has several friends with divorced parents. In all of these cases, the mothers are the custodial parent, and have chosen to use their maiden names since divorcing. How should I have addressed their Christmas cards? This year, I used:
The Smith (the mom's maiden name) and Jones (the children's last name) Families on their envelopes for our cards, but I can't seem to locate a source that would identify this as being correct. Can you help me? Thanks so much! J.M., Princeton, NJ
Happy to help. Next Christmas address the envelope to:
The Smith and Jones Family
The Smith & Jones Family
Addressing them as 'The Smith and Jones Family' sounds more normal and friendlier, rather than making the word 'family' plural. Don't you think? ~Didi
Funeral étiquette for condolence cards
If you have a friend who has lost his father, and you do not know the father's spouse, do you send the condolence gift to the friend or the deceased's spouse? J.C., West Warwick
Dear J. C.,
Look up the obituary of your friend's father online and/or in your local newspaper to find out where gifts are to be sent. As the son is the blood relative of the deceased, it wouldn't be wrong to send him a gift in memory of his father, if gifts haven't been designated otherwise. When the obituary doesn't give that information, then contact the funeral home to find out how gifts are being handled. The funeral home acts as the clearing house for such matters. ~Didi
Teaching a three-year-old table manners
My step-sister-in-law seems to think that my three-year-old should have better table manners. How exactly do you teach table manners to a child that young? C. B., Portsmouth
When teaching a three-year-old table manners, give them one lesson at a time until you feel they've rote learned it into their routine. For instance, a three-year-old no longer needs to sit in a high chair, but s/he has to quickly understand that they have to remain seated until after dessert. Before then, they can ask to be excused and take their plate to the sink. Once they're excused, they cannot come back to their seat. (It goes without saying that they've been to the restroom to wash their hands, etc., before sitting down to eat, and that all the plates would be cleared at the same time. None of this clearing of the plates and leaving Jacob to sulk over his unfinished dinner.)
At this age they know they should eat with their child-size knife and fork or spoon, even though they cannot always manipulate the utensil. This is the lesson that takes patience on the part of the parent/caregiver. The child may not yet be able to manage his/her utensils until s/he has broken the food down and felt it's consistency. Like a scientist s/he will dissect the food into the tiniest of crumbs in order to get a feel for how best to conquer the task of using the utensil.
Out of the corner of your eye, it is so interesting to watch them trying to figure it out. They'll chop, say, a piece of corn bread into crumbs with their child-size knife and fork. With the fork they'll try lifting lots of tiny crumbs up to their mouth, which falls off most of the time. Then they try the spoon. It works. That's when you pipe in with a piece of corn bread in your hand to say, "Corn bread is so crumbly, you can eat it with your fingers one bite at a time." They also discover on their own that they cannot eat yogurt or ice cream with a fork. This is all part of the process. Patiently allow her/him to experiment in a controlled setting in order for them to find their manners at the table. Once s/he takes command of their utensils, they'll proudly use them, much to your step-sister-in-law's delight.
As for dinner conversation, it wouldn't be about the experimentation that is on-going. The child will be so engaged that s/he will not feel needy for attention – for a least a couple of minutes. It is best not to discuss table manners too much while eating experimentally or they will become so self-conscious that they'll lose interest too quickly in exploring the possibilities. As I said, let them experiment with their food and, yes, they may need a rubber child's tray under their plate, and you may need to place a cloth on the seat of their chair as well as underneath to catch all those minuscule crumbs before calling in the dog to lick them up. ~Didi
Do you have a question for Didi? Visit her at NewportManners.com. We can withhold your name and location. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Previous weekly GoLocalProv.com columns can be found by typing in Didi Lorillard in the above lefthand search.
Related Slideshow: 10 New England Wine Getaways
Newport Vineyards is the perfect Rhode Island destination for wine lovers year round. Visit the winery this weekend for tastings and tours, featuring an array of award winning wines.
909 E Main Road, Middletown, RI. (401) 848-5161.
Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineya
Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton is much more than just a winery—it is a place to get away from the stresses of life and indulge your senses, a place to try new things, a place to focus on you. The vineyard is open every day, and invites you to come for a tasting and tour. Try their Petite Red, Vidal Blanc, and many more of their distinctive wines.
162 W Main Road, Little Compton, RI. (401) 635-8486.
Visit Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth to sample their estate grown and produced wine, made in small batches. While at the estate, try seven different wines and keep the wine glass for only $12. While you are tasting, take in the gorgeous views of both the vineyard and river. Besides tasting the wines, Greenvale also invites customers to tour the winery and learn about the history and process of winemaking at the vineyard.
582 Wapping Road, Portsmouth, RI. (401) 847-3777.
Maugle Sierra Vineyards
For a trip to a vineyard that includes much more than just wine, hop over the border to Ledyard, CT, to check out Maugle Sierra Vineyards. The vineyard hosts live music on Fridays and Sundays to compliment your wine tasting experience. Pack a dinner or light fare and enjoy a tasting session in the Sierra Room while you take in the sunset.
825 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard, CT. (860) 464-2987.
Nickle Creek Vineyards
Nickle Creek Vineyard is a family owned and operated Rhode Island wine treasure. The winery, located in Foster, makes it their mission to handcraft the most unique, high quality wines in the business. All wines are created in small batches, giving them a distinctly unique taste. This weekend, visit their tasting room to try their variety of wines. On your way out, be sure to pick up a bottle of Foster Nights to get you through those chilly New England evenings.
12 King Road, Foster, RI. (401) 369-3694.
Nashoba Valley Winery
Take the bite off the winter chill this weekend and take a drive to Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton. The winery hosts tasting events everyday from 10am-4:30pm For $5, receive a free tasting glass and samples of up to five different wines. Some favorites include Strawberry Rhubarb Wine, Holiday Special Cranberry Apple (a new release in November 2013), and New English Cider. If you are in the mood for something other than wine (if that’s possible), check out their beer selection as well!
100 Wattaquadock Hill Road, Bolton, MA. (978) 779-5521.
Bishop’s Orchards Winery
The wines from Bishop’s Orchards Winery and Farm Market in Guilford, CT, have won over 179 medals since the winery opened in 2005. The tasting room at Bishop’s is open seven days a week year round, so no time is off-limits for wine tasting. Head over on the weekend to enjoy a winery tour pre or post tasting session. While visiting the winery, also be sure to check out the market for fresh baked goodies.
1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT. (203) 453-2338.
Diamond Hill Vineyards
For a cool twist on classic wine labels, look no further than Diamond Hill Vineyard in Cumberland. At Diamond Hill, you can get custom designed wine labels perfect for any occasion. If you’re interested in tasting the wines, visit their elegant tasting room for samples of their high quality wines such as Cranberry Apple, Estate Pinot Noir, or Blackberry.
3145 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI. (401) 333-2751.
Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery
Tucked away on the southern coast of Massachusetts, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, located about an hour’s drive from Worcester, is worth the trip. For only $10, you can take home a special edition etched wine glass and enjoy a tasting of up to six of their award-winning wines. While the tasting room is open Monday-Saturday, free winery tours are also offered to the public every Saturday from 1-3pm.
417 Hixbridge Rd, Westport, MA. (508) 636-3423.
Found on the southern Massachusetts coast about 30 minutes outside of Providence, is Travessia Winery in New Bedford. This micro-winery puts a twist on traditional wine culture with its cool urban flair. Travessia is open for sales and tastings Wednesday-Sunday, and invites customers to come in and enjoy their unique variety of wines.
760 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA. (774) 929-6534.
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