Newport Manners & Etiquette: Asking for A Raise, How to Host A Dinner Party + More

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


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Readers asked practical questions this week to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners about how to ask for a raise, host a dinner party, and how to know when you're on a first name basis with an older person, and What's the best 2018 Newport bridal gown?

How To Ask For A Raise

Q.  How do I go about getting a raise in salary? I've worked for two years and not received an increase, nor a promotion nor any additional compensation. I work overtime when I have to get my job done on time. I like my job, but it is a startup company without a Human Resources department to go to for advice. I'm not confrontational because I'm constantly being cradled into complacency when I'm told that my work is exceptional and appreciated. But those praises are not reflected in my paycheck. I happen to know that three of my male coworkers recently received raises. What really ticks me off is that I recently completed a certificate process in my field that these coworkers don't have. Name Withheld, Providence.

A.  The gender gap is real, especially when it comes to paychecks, but it is slowly shrinking. I'm not asking you to wait it out, if anything, I want you to create a sales pitch - but you'll need to do some research.  

Figure out your pitch to your boss. The onus is on you to prove that you deserve a raise in salary. Start by preparing your pitch.

  • Make sure you've had an end to the year 2017 job review. If you didn't get one, ask for one and for specific performance-review goals. Find out what is expected of you.
  • Ask what's different about your work from that of the coworkers who did get a raise and what it would take to bring you to parity.
  • If represented by a union and you work on a contract, find out where you are on the pay scale.
  • Research salaries in your line of work at several online sources.
  • Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics that oversees a thousand occupations.


Then practice:

  • Now that you're ready to practice your sales pitch, start by reciting it, alone, in front of the mirror, before cajoling a colleague or friend to critique your pitch.
  • Give examples of instances where you've shined to remind your boss that you are worthy of a raise. 
  • Remember you're not asking for a special present, only compensation for your work.

Once you're confident that your arguments are valid:

Email your boss for an appointment to discuss your work.
Set up a time to meet by suggesting two different days, and let her/him set the exact time of the meeting.

Should your boss turn down your request for a raise:

  • Don't back down, stay firm.
  • Be prepared to suggest other duties you are willing to handle to meet your salary requirements.
  • Request that you and s/he revisit your request for a raise in six months.
  • Ask for a bonus or stock options.
  • Suggest training opportunities that would make you even better skilled at your job.
  • At the end of the day, if you're not receiving the compensation you feel you deserve, look for another company. But don't give up your current job until you have a better one.


Knowing When to Use A First Name

Q. When is it appropriate to call your elders by their first name?  OP, Chicago


A. Thanks for your great question about when it's appropriate to call your elders by their first name.

Of course, it could depend upon the age difference between you, as well as the nature of the relationship. 

Protocol would be that you would wait until the older person asked you to call her or him by their first name.

There are exceptions: when the elder is your relative or a long-time friend. 

  • You've known your friend's parents since you were a small child and always called your friend's mom Charlotte and the dad Charles.


Often with parents of friends, take the cue from the formality of their friend's relationship with their parents as to how their parents wish to be addressed. 

  • If your friend calls them "mother" and "father," then you would probably call them Mrs. Brown or Mr. Brown, unless asked to do so otherwise. 
  • On the other hand, if your friends call their parents Dick and Jane, no doubt you're already calling them Dick or Jane.


In a situation where the older person is your employer, you would wait to be invited by Mrs. Brown to call her by her first name. 

Or if a fellow employee says, "It's alright to call the boss George. He likes us to call him by his first name."

When in doubt, go by the standard of protocol until the person has said to you, "Oliver, please call me Didi." 

  • When you've known the older person a lengthy time, and you're not an employee, it is perfectly acceptable to ask, "May I call you Didi?"
  • Or a future daughter-in-law might say to her mother-in-law, "What would you like me to call you?" Then the mother-in-law would say, "Please, call me, Louise."


If, say, you think your mother's known your girlfriend long enough to be on a first name basis and you want Zoe to call your mother by her first name, suggest to your mother that she tells your girlfriend to, "Please, call me Louise."

Any further questions? We're here to help.

Wining and Dining The In-Laws

Q.  We invited my future in-laws for dinner. What is the procedure for a proper dinner party? They are very stiff and formal and coming from another culture, I need to know how to make a good impression. My fiancé says I have to relax, but I feel that everything I do will be scrutinized. Name Withheld, Jersey City, NJ

A.  Start by creating your menu (if possible two weeks in advance). Recreate a menu that you've had success with in the past. Make a list of the ingredients you'll need for the evening. Figure out what china, flatware, glasses, serving utensils and linens you'll use to set the table. Don't forget candles and a centerpiece. Once you start envisioning the picture of your dinner party in your mind, you'll feel less stressed.

Two days to go:

  • Two days prior to the dinner, be sure you have all of your ingredients.
  • Put your fiancé in charge of beverages, including wine other alcoholic beverages they might ask for. 
  • He can also be responsible for ice, filling ice cube trays, and making a playlist.
  • Ahead of time, prepare as much as you can. A dip, dessert, soup can all be made the day before.
  • He or you should double-check with his parents to make sure you know exactly what time they plan to arrive.


It goes without saying that your fiancé would have given you the heads up about any dietary needs. For instance, if either of your future in-laws are watching their salt, sugar, or diary intake. If one is vegan, be sure to serve extra salad and vegetables.


One day to go:

The day before the dinner party, tidy up the rooms that your in-laws will see. If they're putting their coats in your bedroom, tidy it up. Whatever bathroom they'll be using should be pristine with fresh soap and clean hand towels.
Arrange the flowers for the centerpiece or in the living room.

Day of the dinner party:

  • In the morning, set your table and lay out on the kitchen counter all the utensils and equipment that you'll be using to make dinner.
  • Empty the dishwasher. Remove all garbage and anything in the wastebaskets.
  • If your fiancé is cooking with you, go over who will do what when.
  • Have your bar and snack area ready next. Cheeses should be room temperature, wine and beer chilled.


Two hours prior to your in-law's arrival:

  • Arrange the pots, pans and utensils needed for cooking.
  • Take out previously prepared foods so you know where they are and don't forget to put them on the table.
  • Place bottled water or a pitcher of water on the dining table.
  • Take a twenty minute break to get ready for the evening leaving your fiancé to welcome your in-laws should they arrive early.
  • Have him light the candles and start the playlist. Music will soothe your guests as they settle into the lovely scene you've created.



  • Ahead of time, you'll have figured out what time you're seating the table and who sits where.
  • Your fiancé can do the seating, pulling out the chair to your right for his mother and motioning for his father to sit between you and his son facing his wife. (You never seat spouses next to each other.)
  • You would give the signal for everyone to start eating by picking up your utensil first after having placed your napkin in your lap.


On a personal note, once you get into the swing of having a dinner party, you'll develop creative ideas about how to garnish the plate of cheese with red grapes and and a stem of rosemary, or whatever. Having color on every plate is important visually because it's more inviting than staring at a plate of bland looking food. Parsley, herbs, fruit, even edible flowers will perk up any table. Working as a team, you'll be able to plan ahead as to who does what and when. Don't get into the routine of waiting on everyone. Decide ahead of time, he clears while you plate the next course, or vice versa.



Newport Wedding Dress 2018

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Important for the wedding registry: While cleaning up after the in-laws are out the door, recap the evening. What was good and what could have been better.? Cast no aspirations. Don't take it personally, because the two of you are responsible for the evening. You might even make a list of utensils, linens, servicing pieces, etc. to add to your wedding registry.


Q.  What bridal gowns are trending in 2018? We're trying to put a couple of styles together as options for me to wear at my wedding this summer in Newport?   Alison, Providence

A.  In Newport, we love this Carolina Herrera 2018 bridal gown! Romantic and subtly seductive. It's so, so, so Newport. Stay tuned, next week you'll find another favorite.


Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners for her upcoming book. Ask a question now  NewportManners.


Related Slideshow: 25 Things You Must Do in New England This Winter - 2017

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Ice Skating at Newport Skating Center

Newport, RI 

Whether you are skating on a pond or at one of the many ice rinks across the region like the Newport Skating Center in the heart of Newport.

The skating center provides a full schedule of activities to carry you through the winter including adult and kids skating sessions as well as activities for the entire family. 

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Snowmobile at the Tall Timber Lodge 

Pittsburg, New Hampshire

For snowmobiling enthusiasts, Pittsburg, New Hampshire might be the snowmobiling capital of New England with more than 200 trails, all filled with great adventures. 

The Tall Timber Lodge offers a variety of packages that include rentals, dinners, lodging and much more. If you need a break from the trails, the lodge also consists of a spa. 

PHOTO: Paul Williams

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Dog Sled Tours at Ultimate Dog Sledding Experience

Oxford, Maine

Embrace the call of the wind and go up to New England Dog Sledding for dog sled tours. Tours are pulled by trained and "friendly" Husky sled dogs and are offered throughout the area.

Ultimate Dog Sledding is located just 40 minutes from Portland. 



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Get Out of the Cold and Into the Water at CoCo Key Boston

Danvers, MA

Get out of the cold and into the water at CoCo Key's 65,000 sq. ft. indoor water park in Danvers. 

The park includes multiple water slides, tube rides, pools and so much more to take your mind off of winter, at least for a little while. 

For those who might need a break from the water, there is an arcade with games for all ages. 


PHOTO: Coco Key Facebook

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Sled Down Neutaconkanut Hill

Providence, RI 

Neutaconkanut Hill has some of the best slopes for sledding in the state. 

Bundle up, hold on, and enjoy the ride. 

In addition to the sledding slopes, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are offered at this legendary Providence slope.

For more great places to sled, check out GoLocalProv's latest list. 

PHOTO: Popofatticus/Flickr

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Ice Climbing With Adventure Spirit 

Burlington, Vermont

For the adventurous out there, Adventure Spirit in Vermont is your place for ice climbing. Choose from climbing at Bolton Quarry, Bristol Cliffs or even Smuggler's Notch to be lead by one of their experienced instructors.

Be prepared to spend your day strenuously climbing some of nature's frozen streams and flow offs. They also offer alpine climbing and outdoor rock climbing for those who wish to fully test their limits.


PHOTO: Adventure Spirit

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Providence Restaurant Weeks

Providence, RI 

Providence Restaurant Weeks will take place from January 14 to January 27, 2018, with nearly 100 restaurants participating. Enjoy three-course lunches at $16.95 and three-course dinners at $29.95 or $34.95, as well as two-for-one specials.

Restaurants include Capriccio, Milk Money and many more. 

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Jump Around at Launch Trampoline Park 

RI, MA or CT

Need to get some energy out? or get the energy out of your kids? Head to Launch Trampoline Park. They have a park in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. 

With dodgeball, basketball, foam pits and more, indoor trampoline parks have something to offer people of all ages. Whether you want to bring a group of children for the day or sign up a group of adults for some "xtreme" dodgeball, trampoline parks can be a great change of pace and a fun way to try something new.

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Newport Winter Festival 

Newport, RI 

The 2017 Newport Winter Festival is set to be held from February 16-25. 

The festival features live music, food, games, a chili cook-off and so much more over a span of nine days. 

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Indoor Rock Climbing

RI, MA or NH

Do you need a new challenge this winter? Try one of New England's indoor rock climbing gyms. Whether you choose Rock Spot Climbing in Rhode Island, Carabiner's in Massachusetts, or Vertical Dreams in New Hampshire, rock climbing is a fun and challenging way to get some exercise without running on treadmills.

Photo courtesy of Rock Spot Climbing

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New England Pond Hockey Classic 

Merideth, New Hampshire 

You have never seen hockey like this. 

The 8th annual New England Pond Hockey Classic kicks off on February 2 with final team rosters due on January 20. Get your team together and head up to New Hampshire. 

If you can't make it up, grab the skates and find your local pond and play hockey anyway. BE SAFE of course. 

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Curling at Ocean State Curling Club 

Cranston RI

You watch curling in the Olympics every year and you love it. So try it this winter. 

The Ocean State Curling Club has your curling fix. Hosting events and tournaments or "bonspiels" at the Veteran’s Memorial Ice Rink in Cranston, RI, the Ocean State Curling Club is a "social club for anyone interested in recreational curling." The club also offers lessons for those who want to learn the sport. 

Photo: dave/Flickr

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Ice Fishing

Across New England

It's practically a tradition for a lot of people, but ice fishing is an interesting winter experience. Head out to the ponds and see what you can get. 

But be safe, it takes 4-6 inches of ice to support a person and 8-10 inches to support a vehicle.

Photo courtesy of Dushan Hanuska/flickr

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Get the House Organized 

The weather isn't great, it's freezing outside. Winter presents a great opportunity to get the house organized. It's not the most fun thing in the world of course, but it will pay off and at the end of it, you will be glad you did it. 

Here are some ways to get organized this winter. 

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Go Snowshoeing at Wachusett Mountain

Leominster, MA

For those who can't ski or snowboard, snowshoeing is another way to get around in the snow. Wachusett Mountain is the perfect place for snowshoeing.  


PHOTO: Matt, just Matt

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See the Lights at La Salette Shrine

Attleborough MA

By far one of the coolest lighting displays you will see anywhere in New England and maybe even the country. 

The Festival of Lights runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night until January 1. 

Do not miss out! 

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Sing-a-Long with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall

301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA

Held at Symphony Hall, the Boston Pops holiday concert is filled with food, sing-a-longs and a visit from the one and only Santa Claus!

Have some holiday cookies as the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays holiday classics for you and your family.

The seven kids afternoon shows include post-concert photos with Santa as well as special treats. 

The concert runs until December 31. 

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Give to the Community

While the winter holidays are generally the biggest volunteer days of the year, any day of the year is a great time to give to organizations or people in need.

Items like food, clothes, and blankets are just some of the things that are needed most this time of year. 

See Ways to Give in RI by Clicking Here. 

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First Night Hartford New Years Eve Celebration 

Hartford, Connecticut 

Join First Night Hartford for its 29th year of celebration! The multi-venue event will include performances by aerialists, Circophony Youth Circus, the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music, and Crafts and tours at Bulter McCook House. 

Don’t forget to stay for the fireworks starting promptly at 6 p.m. with a second showing at midnight to ring in the New Year!

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 Zip Line

Mount Washington, Bretton Woods New Hampshire

Soar down Mount Washington on a series of tree-top zip lines! The Canopy Tour is lead by one of Bretton Woods Adventure Guides as they describe the native fauna and flora. You'll descend over 1000 feet of elevation on this 3-hour tour. Each tour guide can take a group of up to 8, so grab some friends and zip down the mountain!

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Cross Country Skiing

East Bay Bike Path, Bristol to Providence RI 

Grab your poles and skis and head down to the East Bay Bike Path for some Cross Country Skiing. Of course, you can go cross-country skiing anywhere there is snow and some flat land, but the East Bay Bike Path stretches about 14 miles from Bristol to India Point Park in Providence. 

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Ride the Polar Express

Woonsocket, Rhode Island 

Buy your ticket now for the Black Stone Valley Polar Express! Watch the popular book and film come to life before your eyes as you take a 90-minute train ride with Santa and the Conductor.

Rides will be available every Friday through Sunday with the final stop on December 23. There will be light refreshments and cookies made available, children are encouraged to wear pajamas.

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 Take a Nature Walk at Squam Lakes

Holderness, New Hampshire

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH offers a wide arrange of guided tours of live animal trails. A staff naturalist leads and teaches groups how certain animals are adapted to the winter climate in New Hampshire. The guided tours are run on weekends and can be a great way to experience and learn more about nature in New England.

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Paint and Vino 

Pawtucket, RI

Forget about winter by painting a picture of a tropical sunset at Paint and Vino, Rhode Island's first paint and wine studio. Bring children for family paint events and parties, or leave them at home to enjoy complimentary "adult beverages" as you paint.

Perfect for date night, girls night out or a fun Friday night, Paint and Vino's classes run for 2 1/2 to 3 hours and a spot must be reserved.

Photo: Yelp Inc./Flickr

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Snow Tubing at Ski Ward

1000 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA

Sledding, skiing or snowboarding not for you? Grab a tube and enjoy the ride down one of the many hills at the Ski Ward.  

Don't forget to take the whole family out to Slopeside Bar and Grill after a long day in the snow. 


PHOTO: Flickr


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