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Newport Manners & Etiquette: Same-Sex Weddings & More

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Wedding etiquette concerns about same-sex couples

Wedding etiquette concerns about same-sex couples, what to wear to a Sweet Seventeen Birthday party and understanding the elderly. All questions to Didi Lorillard this week at NewportManners.com.

Same-sex wedding with disapproving parent

My fiancé and I are putting together our invitation list for our same-sex wedding and we have an unsurmountable problem. He hates his father and his father hates him. His father phones Jimmy to berate him and says hideous things that aren't fit to repeat. Jimmy dearly loves his mother and is distraught because he wants her at our wedding. How do we finesse this? T.O., Washington, DC

Obviously, nobody is going to change the old man's mind at this stage of his life, so forget about him. Nevertheless, invite them both. Send the invitation to Mr. and Mrs. (Jimmy's parents), but before sending the invitation meet with his mother privately to invite her to come on her own. Make it clear that if she accepts, you'll have her picked up by a good friend of yours, escorted, and taken home when she wishes to leave. The crotchety dad can't complain too much when the invitation was addressed to both them. It is his choice not to attend his son's wedding. ~Didi

Addressing same-sex doctors

We have two doctors on our invitation list who are married, gay, and share the same last name, so how do we address the envelope? J.W., Providence

Simply address the envelope to:

The Doctors Darlington (Use just their last shared name, no first names.)
Above their address ~Didi

Sweet seventeen dress code

Hey, I need your help. Next Saturday I will attend my best friend's Sweet Seventeen Birthday Party. She said the color of the dress code is beige. I really need your help to give me some advice on what outfit I'm gonna wear to the party. Thank you so much, and I want to hear your advice really soon. Withholding name

Go to the website Lulus.com and click on 'dresses,' scroll way down to the sixth page and there is a beige dress called 'Sweet Escape Light Peach Dress,' that looks more beige than peach. As you'll see while scrolling, beige is so trendy that you barely see a beige dress available. Your hostess is a trend spotter. My favorite is at abercrombie.com by typing in 'dresses,' you'll find a beige and gold dress called 'Renee Dress' reduced from $88 to $35.20; again pair it with beige shoes. ~Didi

Aging mom and her boyfriend

My mom, 85, has been difficult to deal with these last few years. To me she's always in a bad mood—knocks me down emotionally—negative—really nasty—doesn't let me talk to calm her down or reason with her. She lies and only calls me when she needs something. Her boyfriend is bedridden now & she is codependent on him. Her life these last 7 years has been only about him. She never has time for me or my kids. She has no hobbies and few friends—she says no to everything. I'm a happy, kind, considerate person--the way I deal with life and others is completely opposite. I know she's not dealing well with being older. By the way, she's been like that to me most of my life. I have always been kind & respectful to her & I try to deal with it. That is how she is...I've tried always to be nice cuz she's my mom—but I told her off the last time she was horrible on the phone. I'm not playing this game anymore. I suggested we see a therapist together. She always says no. How do I deal with her now? Name withheld

Your mother resents the fact that you are young and capable. At 85, she sees the future and it looks grim. You can try saying things such as, "Now, be nice, there is no reason to be rude (mean, unkind)." However, if your tone is condescending it will irritate her even more. To put it bluntly, she is probably jealous of you.

It sounds as though you two have a longtime pattern that a little therapy is not going to cure. If she outlives her boyfriend, she'll transfer her need for co-dependency on to you, or onto whomever else is around. You will need to protect yourself from further abuse. Focus on your own family and don't let her patterns creep into your relationship with your children and husband. Don't take the unkind things she says personally. Much of this is a dwindling dementia on a downward spiral. There may be medications to make her happier, but that is between your mother and her doctor.

As I am not qualified to help you in this area, I can only recommend that you seek understanding of your mother's irrational behavior with a geriatric specialist, who can recommend books and online support groups where adult children with the same problem share information and resources. You are not alone. As each generation lives longer, the care of elderly parents is as much about their mental state as their physical one. Moreover, there are professionals online. Through such sites as psychologytoday.com, you'll find information, advice, and support. ~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 may be found by typing in Didi Lorillard in the above righthand search.


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Kristin MacRae

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