Newport Manners & Etiquette: Bucking Established Etiquette

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


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We're having fun at NewportManners this week answering breaking normal questions about holiday and wedding etiquette.  Didi Lorillard

Worst Christmas card

Q. Do brides and grooms still have to write thank-you notes for wedding presents they've received? Last summer my husband and I attended a beautiful wedding. We dutifully sent an expensive present from the bridal registry in a timely fashion, but we never received a thank-you note. In mid-December we got an elaborate Christmas card from the newly weds with photographs of the bride and groom taken at the wedding. There was a short handwritten notation from the bride on the back of the card that read: Thank-you for your wedding present and being part of our special day. Is it the etiquette these days to combine your wedding present thank-you note with your Christmas card? She didn't even mention what the present was.  NR, Swansea, MA

A. Uniting a wedding present thank-you note with your Christmas card is a rinky-dink way of showing gratitude. If you hadn't sent a pre-approved gift from the wedding couple's bridal registry, I would say the newly weds were ostracizing your wedding present. Meaning they didn't feel it was commendable. The least she could have done was to mention what your gift was. You did follow protocol. Let it slide. Next time you see your friend the bride, be cleverer. Thank her for her Christmas card without mentioning the fact that it was consolidated with her thank-you note.

Best Christmas card

Q. Out of all the Christmas cards we've received in recent years, this one is the most memorable. What do you think, Didi, is this the new normal?  Allison, Providence

A. Someone needs a nap. It is not an easy chore corralling toddlers into a singalong. Expressive cards are the new normal and we agree: your card is the funniest we've seen. Thank you, we all need a good laugh this week before the inauguration.  

Should you expect thanks for a tip?

Q. We actually followed your advice about holiday tipping -- to a point. We didn't tip the sanitation workers because they are never the same guys. We had always tipped the paper delivery person because we want our paper every day; he then included a thank-you card with the next paper. For the first time, we tipped the mail carrier and he thanked us personally and then in a greeting card. My husband and I use the same hair-stylist and we give her one nice holiday tip and she was very grateful. Contrarily, we tipped our once a week cleaning person with a cash tip in a cheerful holiday card and she has not said a word. Since we each work sometimes up to ten hours a day, a cleaning person, who comes in three hours a week, is part of our budget. Was she expecting more?  LT, Weston, MA

A. It is hard to say without knowing her, if your house cleaner was disappointed by her tip or she simply didn't know that she should acknowledge it. You could certainly show her the paper deliverer's card and say, "To think he comes every day, rain or shine, and still finds time to thank us for his holiday tip." If that not-so-subtle hint doesn't register, figure she doesn't want to get it and don't expect even a word of thanks next Christmas, let alone a card.

Breaking dress code

Q.  We are having a casual 5:00 pm wedding indoors. The groomsmen are wearing jeans and brown western shirts. The bridesmaids have turquoise dresses. I am the mother-of-the-groom and found out the mother-of-the-bride is wearing brown pants and a turquoise blouse. What should I wear? I do not feel comfortable wearing pants to the wedding. I planned on wearing a dress. JT, Texas

A.  It sounds as though everyone is doing their own thing by wearing what they want to wear to your son's wedding. There is no reason, whatsoever, that you cannot wear a dress. As the bridesmaids will be wearing dresses, and probably the bride, too, you certainly won't be the only person donning a dress.

Be sure to let the mother-of-the-bride know what you are wearing. Briefly describe your dress to her in the hope that she will open up and tell you more about her outfit. It used to be that the mothers wore outfits similar in style, length, and color, but nowadays anything goes. Traditionally, 

it was the responsibility of the mother-of-the-bride to coordinate her outfit with the mother-of-the-groom. Pants are fashionable so we expect to see them mainstream in weddings.

Be yourself. Wear what you feel the most comfortable wearing.

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.


Related Slideshow: 25 Things to do in New England This Winter - 2016

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Newport Winter Festival

Newport, Rhode Island

From February 12 to 21, Newport will be hosting the 28th annual Newport Winter Festival throughout Newport County. Hosting events like Beatlemania, chili cook-off, the Winter Festival is 10 days of music and over 150 events, providing fun for the entire family.

Photo courtesy of Newport Winter Festival

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Dog Sled Tours at New England Dog Sledding

Mason Township, Maine

Embrace the call of the wind and head to New England Dog Sledding for some dog sled tours. Tours are pulled by trained and "very friendly" Alaskan Husky sled dogs and are offered throughout the Bethel, Maine and North Conway,New Hampshire areas. You can also enjoy skijoring, which is nordic skiing pulled by a dog, so you can bring your own or rent one of theirs!  

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Curling at Ocean State Curling Club 

Cranston RI

Try something new, like curling.

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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Ski Ward

Shrewsbury, MA

Go tubing, skiing or snowboarding on the different terrains of Ski Ward. 

New to the mountain? You can learn how to ride with lessons from their instructors or perfect your technique if you happen to be more experienced. And don't forget to take the whole family out to Slope side Bar and Grill after a long day in the snow. 

Photo: Ski Ward

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Ice Fishing

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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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: Daniel/Flickr

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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 Bicycle 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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Lowell Winterfest 

Lowell, MA

The 16th Annual Lowell Winterfest is set to take place on February 19 and 20th. 

The schedule f events includes free ice skating, an opening ceremony and a big winter carnival that the kids will simply love. 

Ice Sculptures, a fire dance and a city hall lighting also highlight the festival.

Photo: Mike/Flickr

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Go Snowshoeing

For those who can't ski or snowboard, snowshoeing is another way to get around in the snow. Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire ski resorts have designated snowshoeing facilities, but the best part is you can strap into a pair and walk around anywhere snow is too deep for boots. 

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Sledding in RI 

Winter time means it's time to get the sleds out and find some serious hills to conquer. 

Click here for Golocal's most recent list of the best sledding hills in Rhode Island. 

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Pond Hockey

Lace up the skates, grab your favorite jersey and stick and hit the frozen ponds for some hockey. Maybe just some one on one action or grab a bunch of friends and play a full scale game. 

Either way enjoy the ice. 

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

Photo courtesy of yooperann/flckr

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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.

Photo: Doug Brown/Flickr

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Day and Night Skiing at Wachusett Mountain

Princeton, MA

Make the best of winter by strapping on your skis or snowboard. With over 25 trails open, Wachusett also lights up 18 of these trails until 10pm for night skiing. Wachusett has rentals and lessons for beginners and terrain parks and even an air bag for advanced skiers and boarders. Night tubing is an option during speical events, too!

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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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Providence Winter Restaurant Weeks 

Providence Winter Restaurant Weeks will be held until January 23 features about 80 restaurants offering three-course, prix fixe lunches for $14.95 and three-course prix fix dinners for $29.95 and $34.95.

Participating restaurants include Siena in Smithfield, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Eleven Forty Nine Restaurant, The Dorrance, Capriccio, Capital Grille and more.

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Sarah Potenza at The Met 

Providence, Rhode Island 

RI native and The Voice veteran Sarah Potenza will be playing a homecoming show on January 24th at The Met

Expect a full show of classics and maybe some tunes from her new album Monster. 

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Sledding in Central MA 

Last year, Central Mass was hit with a record amount of snow. While we are not wishing for that again, it did make for some great sledding hills. 

When snow comes again this year, break out the sleds. 

Here is GoLocal's latest list of great sledding spots in Central Mass.

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Beach Boys at Park Theatre 

Cranston, Rhode Island

The Beach Boys in February? You bet! The touring band led by original member Mike Love (with Newport native John Cowsill on drums) will be stopping by the Park Theatre on Valentine’s Day. 

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Snowmobiling in Vermont

Mount Snow, Vermont

Snowmobiling across the wilderness is an exhilarating and adventurous experience during the winter. 

Be sure to get on a snowmobile at least once this winter. 

Photo: Frank Kehren/Flickr

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Ice Skating 

Whether you are skating on a pond or at one of the many ice rinks across the region like the Alex & Ani rink in the heart of Providence or the ice rink at Worcester Common Oval, make sure to get out there and get a good skate in with friends and family. 

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Jump Around at Launch Trampoline Park 

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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Indoor Rock Climbing

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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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. The winter season is sometimes when items like food, clothes, blankets and other things are needed the most. 

Click here for how to give back to RI non profits. 

Click here for how to give back to Mass non profits. 

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Get the House Organized 

The weather isn't great, it's freezing out side. 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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 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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