Newport Manners & Etiquette: Saying “Sorry” Isn’t Enough + Weddings + Parties

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


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What to do when she's not satisfied with "I'm sorry." Getting an accurate accepted wedding guest list, and entertaining tips in the time of Uber and serving nuts. All questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners this week.

Saying sorry

Q. I made a terrible mistake and apologized, but I know that merely saying "I'm sorry" wasn't enough. My boyfriend is barely talking to me, he is so mad at what happened. It was a silly mistake, which I made worse by trying to cover it up while over-explaining, but I got caught in an untruth. 

I keep telling him I'm sorry, but he so doesn't seem to believe me! How do I convince my boyfriend that I am truly sorry.  Name Withheld

A.  Either we're someone who annoyingly says 'sorry' way too often, or we have difficulty ever saying "I'm sorry"- even when we know we've done something wrong and hurt someone. Could it be that apologizing to someone, for many, is a sign of weakness?

For much of the population, saying sorry hasn't made its way into their interpersonal skills set. 

There are those who simply cannot recognize apology-worthy situations.

Others simply do not feel the value of the apology.

Making a genuine apology helps to restore the relationship as well as the reputation of the person who did something that warrants a more authentic apology.

  • Accept responsibility for your wrong-doing action.
  • When appropriate reenforce that apology by saying it won't happen again.
  • Be sure to make it clear that you understand and acknowledge the ramifications of the wrong-doing. 
  • So don't be vague, look for clarity in what went wrong.


The purpose of saying sorry is that you want to regain the trust and respect from the person you've offended. 

Find a time when neither of you are stressed out, uptight, angry or tired and say that you want to have a serious talk. Go over what you did wrong and why you think you made the mistake. Then acknowledge that you panicked and tried to coverup, which only made things worse. 

Then, end by saying you won't do whatever it was - and be specific - ever again. 

Wedding guest list

Q. My friend had a lot of no-shows at her wedding. It took place on a holiday weekend, when she mistakenly thought people would be able to get away, but apparently they had better plans. In sending out invitations to our wedding in Newport how many do we need to send out to ensure that there will be at least a 100 guests at our wedding?

We have to give a deposit to the caterer on the number of guests and if we have last minute no-shows, we will have to pay for the food and beverages they weren't there to consume and waitstaff will still have to be paid.  SG, Worcester, MA


A. The immutable social law used to be that you could count on 100 guests accepting and then attending, when you sent out invitations to 130 people. Take into account that invitations are being sent to single people as well as couples, and single guests may want to bring a date.  

We're finding that 30 will regret, but up to another 30 accepted-and-expected guests may not show up. To ensure that you have a minimum of 100, you may need to invite 160 guests in anticipation of 30 regretting and 30 not showing up. Especially during the months of June, September and December, which are the big no-show months.

Entertaining in the time of Uber

Q. My girlfriend and I love to entertain. We divide the chores in pulling the dinner together. I usually do the meat or fish along with the beverages. Rosie does the cheese and crackers, side dishes, and dessert and sets the table. We both clean up while talking about who said what.

Recently I've also had to order an Uber ride for a drunken guest. Usually they say they can't access their Uber account, for whatever reason, and I'm asked to order one for them. Then I get stuck paying for it. It seems petty to go after someone for a cab fare, but they add up. Aside from driving the guest home, what would you do?  Name withheld Providence


A. As long as there are still local cab companies that will come to your door on call, you're in luck. Have the number of your local cab company on hand. Simply tell the guest that you've ordered him a cab, but it isn't an Uber. If the local cab company doesn't take credit cards, the driver can always stop at a cash machine so the guest can pay the fare in cash.

Going nuts over nuts

Q.  My family loves nuts. When we entertain we always serve nuts along with cutup veggies and a cheese canapé, but what guests really love are the nuts. The problem is that when I see someone's hand clawing at the nut bowl I get apoplectic wondering when the guest washed his hands last, especially if he came by subway! Forget double-dipping, what about initial dipping?  CK, Manhattan


A.  Fill a small glass vase that has a narrow neck with whole cashews and discreetly show guests how to get at those cashews by pouring a handful into your own hand. Often you'll see Gold Fish in a small carafe, so you get the idea. Its like a decanter without a stopper that is often used for filling one glass with wine.

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette and NewportManners.


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