Newport Manners + Etiquette: Spring Wedding Woes
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Wearing a linen suit in March
I am attending a 5:30pm, Friday wedding for friends. The ceremony is at a church on Isle of Palms in Charleston, and the indoors reception follows at a plantation. It will officially be Spring, but it's also before Easter. What attire do you suggest for a fit, southern, 27yo male? Is it too early to don a linen suit? For a 5:30 ceremony, what color suit is most appropriate? K.S.H., Charleston, SC
March first is considered the beginning of Spring in Charleston. It's the shoulder season. That said, it's unlikely to be hot and the evening air could be chilly, so you would wear a light-weight wool or wool blend suit rather than linen. Given that its the in-between season, opt for a darker rather than lighter color. Alternatively, a navy blue blazer with linen trousers. Unless the wedding was taking place in New Orleans or the tropics, you wouldn't wear a white linen suit in March. ~Didi
Advice to the Mother-of-Bride on keeping it small
Several relatives are disgruntled that they weren't invited to our daughter's bridal shower yesterday. The word is out and I've already received a complaining email from my husband's cousin saying she and her sister were very disappointed that they hadn't been invited. It's embarrassing because they want to know why they weren't invited. How do I handle friends and family who aren't invited to all of our daughter's wedding festivities? Mother-of-Bride, Worcester, MA
There is no reason why the older generation of cousins should have been invited to the bridal shower. The only people invited to the shower are guests that the bride really, really likes, adores, or loves, and wants to spend time with. You have four choices as to what to say:
Respond saying that you had nothing to do with the guest list.
Respond by saying it must have been some kind of an oversight.
Respond by saying you didn't think they would have wanted to attend.
Don't respond at all.
Whatever you say, keep to your story and discuss the decision with your family. You'll find that there will be family and friends who are disappointed that they are not invited to all the wedding festivities—perhaps not even to the wedding itself. The key word that is used to help those people understand, is "small." It is going to be a "small" wedding. They are planning a "small" shower. When you use the word "small" you're really saying that a choice group was invited. What seems like a big wedding to you, may be a small wedding to them.
When you're pushed to explain why the guest list is so small tell them the etiquette. The breakdown of the guest list is divided in half between the close friends of the bride and groom and leaving the other half of the guest list comprised in equal amounts between the guests of the bride's parents and the groom's parents. If a hundred people are being invited, then you and your husband are only allowed twenty-three guests plus yourselves. Of course, telling your husband's cousins that won't help, but for others whom might think they may be invited, but aren't on the guest list, it's polite to give them the heads up ahead of time.
In general a great response to most anyone—and this is something you'll be saying a lot—is this: After you've told them it is a "small" wedding, say, this is my daughter and her fiancé's wedding, we are hosting it but they have made all the decisions including the guest lists.
You needn't be intimidated into making excuses, just state the facts. To sound authentic, it is important not to over-explain or over-apologize, because then it sounds less credible. ~Didi
The wearing of the green
What color shoes for a green dress - late afternoon wedding - 3/23/13 - dress is just below the knees with short sleeves. J.B., Newport
Go with a nude or the tone of your skin color for shoes to elongate the look of your legs. I like black too, but going into Spring black shoes may seem harsh against the green. Look at the color green with both nude and black to decide what looks more late afternoon-ish. Then you want to think about your small clutch bag. Green can be a very forgiving color, an easy, almost neutral, color to wear, or it can be a blinding neon.
Green is the big color in 2013. So don't get me wrong, I love it, but the tone of green depends upon the color of the accessories. Generally go with the more neutral, unless the green is in the neutral color palette, such as Garden Green or Wild Wasabi, then you can go with black. On the other hand, if it's a standard neon green, go neon all the way and accessorize with VP Green, Chartreuse, Clear Forest Green, Coated Green or Noviol Green. ~Didi
Brides in shorter dresses
I am getting married in June and am wearing a knee-length champagne colored sheath dress with some ivory/champagne/gold lace and beading on it. I will have bare legs. My question is what shoes should I wear? Nude shoes would go best, but should they be kid leather/patent leather/satin/snakeskin? Should they be pumps or sandals? How high should the heel be? I'm leaning toward patent leather nude pumps with 2-3 inch heels, but wonder if that's dressy enough? Jenny
With a lovely dress like that I would wear nude-colored kid leather high heels with an open toe and a sling back. They would be both dressy and work better with bare legs. Lean toward the delicacy of the lace and beading. Introducing another texture such as shiny patent leather heels would throw off the delicate balance because the patent will look too heavy. Although I love patent leather it may come off as looking too tailored for such a feminine and detailed dress.
Alternatively, satin beige 2-3 inch heels would be lovely as well. Whichever height is the most comfy because you'll be in them for six hours or so. That's why I prefer a soft Italian leather for support as well as comfort and durability. With satin, be careful not to have embellishment. Bare legs are informal and your knee-length dress is dressy, so not too dressy with the shoes. As for snakeskin, with the gold beading and lace detailing on the dress, the addition of snakeskin heels would be way too much going on in terms of textures, patterns, and colors. ~Didi
Can I wear peep-toe heels in April?
Can I wear a strappy/open toe hi-heels to a wedding at the end of April? Or Can they only be worn in the summer? A.T., Narragansett
It depends where you are—the location of the wedding—and how cold it is. In the north it can still be chilly in April. Look at it this way. If it is cold enough to have to wear leg wear with your strappy open-toe high heels, then wait until the weather is milder. ~Didi
We like hearing from you at NewportManners.com and if we use your question, we're happy to post it anonymously. Your important queries help other readers make better choices. Didi researches contemporary etiquette and all matters of manners. Or you can ask them on Didi Lorillard's Facebook page or Twitter. Earlier GoLocalProv columns are listed below or can be accessed by a search.
- Newport Manners + Etiquette: Who Pays For the Drinks + More
- Newport Manners + Etiquette: Restaurant Bill Awkwardness + More
- Newport Manners + Etiquette: Handling Rude Flight Attendants + More
- Newport Manners + Etiquette: Deleting Your Ex on Facebook + More
- Newport Manners + Etiquette: Handling Road Rage + More
- Newport Manners + Etiquette: Drinking With Your Mouth Full