Newport Manners & Etiquette: Virgin Fiancées + Wedding Dress Code

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


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When it comes to summer wedding attire, the best solution is to have the men wear white dinner jackets with black tuxedo trousers.

The anticipation of a Valentine proposal, the etiquette of teenagers with overnight guests, and the magic and heat of a summer wedding dress code, along with what name does a second-time bride use on her wedding invitation, all questions to Didi Lorillard at this week.

Overnight girlfriend guests

Dear Didi,

As a divorced single mother of 4 sons 15-21 I'm at my wits' end dealing with their overnight girlfriend guests. Worst is when one of their friends comes down in the morning with a girl I've never met. She doesn't introduce herself and he doesn't make the introduction. I didn't even know they were in my house. In trying to keep my sons safe, I've inadvertently turned our home into a teenage flophouse. How do I stop this madness? I used to call the girl's mother late at night and ask her to pick up her daughter, but they just say, "I'm not worried." Well, of course, my house is a safe place.  ~N.D., Location withheld

Dear N.D.,

Set boundaries. Call a house meeting. If you can't corral your four sons, sit down and talk to them whenever you can. Gently say, "I need to enlist your help. It's too stressful having my house turned into a cheap motel with girls I don't even know coming and going at all hours. You cannot invite your friends to bring their girls over to spend the night. It's not working. If you want to have a girl sleep over, ask me nicely. Otherwise, god forbid, if there was a fire, I wouldn't know if everyone got out."

You may have to repeat this over and over again until they learn to respect the new house rule. If worse comes to worst, have a chalkboard by the entrance for everyone (family and guests) to sign in and out with times. At least it will remind your lads how rude it is to not communicate about who's home.  ~Didi

The virgin fiancée

Dear Didi,

We're not sure who to ask or how to ask this, but we're concerned. Our sweet, lovely thirty-something daughter, who we strongly suspect will become engaged on Valentines, is still a virgin. Seriously, being a virgin has become part of her modus operandi. Also, possibly, why she's hooked such a catch. Should she or shouldn't she lose her virginity before the wedding day in early fall?  Name and location withheld

Dear concerned parents,

This is what you do. Sit her down and tell her, "This is what happens if the sex doesn't work for you both, you'll end up divorced before the year is out. Would you buy an expensive pair of shoes that you can't return without trying them on first?" Tell her you've heard of instances where the size of his "lance of love" was too large and thus too painful. Size does matter. Encourage your daughter to talk to her girlfriends about losing their virginity.  ~Didi

Dress codes for a summer wedding 3:00 ceremony + 6:00 reception

Hi Didi,

I am having a July 2014 wedding in the Chicago suburbs. There will be a 3:00pm ceremony at a Catholic Church. Approximately 300 people will attend, and the reception will be being held at an old Italian estate nearby, indoors. The cocktail hour will be at 6:00 pm on the terrace overlooking elaborate gardens followed by a sitdown dinner and dancing with a live band. We have chosen floor length dresses for the bridesmaids in a berry pink chiffon and my fiancé wants himself and his groomsmen to wear black tuxedos.

We would love to have a "black tie optional" or "formal attire" wedding, but are hesitant as the ceremony is on summer afternoon.

Do you have any advice on how to proceed? Is it bad taste to request this attire, which would seem to require guests to change before the reception, if we go with "formal attire." Would "black tie optional" allow guests to wear one outfit for the duration of the day? Would male guests look out of place to wear a tuxedo before 6pm? Thank you for your advice. E.S., Chicago, IL

Dear E.S.,

The best solution would be to have the men wear white dinner jackets with black tuxedo trousers. If you are asking them to rent tuxedos, you might as well have them rent white dinner jackets instead of black. White dinner jackets are handsomely stunning at a summer wedding and cross over from day to night in with great style and panache.

Alternatively, for a summer wedding navy blue blazers with cream-colored trousers are also very popular. Add a white collared shirt, a stripe tie in the wedding colors and black Gucci style loafers. The wedding photographs would be fabulous against those elaborate gardens.

You should be commended for thinking about the comfort of your guests. Just for the fun of it, ask your fiancé to poll his groomsmen. Give them the choice: black tuxedo, white dinner jacket with black tuxedo trousers or navy blue blazer with white trousers, with the understanding they would only need one outfit.

Another option of course is the all-time favorite for this time frame in summer: 'Suits & Dresses,' which means best summer suits (or navy blue blazers). The groomsmen could then wear light gray summer suits, which are also rather popular right now. Even if the guest dress code was 'Suits & Dresses,' the groomsmen can still be wearing tuxedos or a white dinner jacket. Then you'll find male guests will opt to wear a summer suit instead of a black tuxedo. If the ceremony was early or the reception later, guests would have time to change, but for many it would be a big bother.  ~Didi

Second-time bride wedding invitation

Good afternoon,

I am divorced and I kept my former husband's last name for the sake of my children. Now, I am getting remarried. Can I use my maiden name on my wedding invitation and save-the-date, even though most people know me under my current name? I'm not sure what to do. Any advice? Thank you, Rose, Providence

Dear Rose,

This is what you do. Send out the save-the-date cards with the name you are using on your wedding invitation, but have the return address on the STD envelope include your maiden as well as your former husband's last name. For instance, if you had been using Mrs. Rose Wilson, use instead:  Ms. Rose Brown Wilson (first, maiden and former husband's last name).

Then on the invitation just use Rose Brown or include your birth middle name as in: Rose Elizabeth Brown. This way the STD identifies your maiden and former married name so when the invitation arrives, they'll know it is you.  ~Didi


Do you have a question for Didi? Visit her at We can withhold your name and location. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Previous weekly columns can be found by typing in Didi Lorillard in the above righthand search. The slideshow below is not endorsed by her.


Related Slideshow: 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Her

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A Charming Gift

Show your special someone that you cherish them this Valentine's Day by giving them a unique gift from Alex and Ani. The popular Rhode Island retailer has outdone themselves this Valentine's Day season offering a variety of gifts -- including bangles, wraps, and earrings. You can even personalize your piece with a cupid or heart charm.

Price: $28 and up

Buy it from: Alex and Ani, Providence, Cranston, Newport, East Greenwich

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Comforting Cashmere

She adores it so why not indulge her? Pink Pineapple carries the best cashmere in the chicest styles. Choose a stunning black tunic to wear with winter boots or a bright sweater in a Palm Beach color to lift a dreary winter mood. Go ahead...make her Valentine's Day!

Price: $120 and up

Buy it from: Pink Pineapple, Newport, Portsmouth

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Evening Barrettes

Today's mini clips and barrettes are yesterday's glamorous 40's hair combs. The most fanciful and sparkly are at Karol Richardson. Just one of these irresistible little hair charmers will throw facets of light back at your smiling face in thanks. You'll love the candy counter experience so cast a spell with one (or two), made in France with Swarovski crystals.

Price: $4 and up

Buy it from: Karol Richardson, Newport

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Lacy Chemise

Lingerie is a traditional Valentine's Day gift but forget granny gowns and opt for an exquisite chemise in a sumptuous color. Blush of Montreal's Sweetest Sin chemise works for all women with its covered lace and quarter wire for support. The beauty of lace is that it draws attention but reveals little.

Price: For prices, click here or call 401-884-9333

Buy it from: Staci's Place Fine Intimate Apparel, East Greenwich

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Silvery Hearts

She'll love an iconic heart in sweet shimmering silver. Green River Silver Co. has outdone themselves with pendants, bracelets, and earrings of whimsical hearts to cherish. Better choose two as she'll surely want one close to her heart.

Price: $18 and up

Buy it from: Green River Silver Co., Bristol, Providence, Wickford

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Luxurious Body Care

Thymes Goldleaf bath products make a stunning impression. Besides the packaging being festive and pretty, the jasmine, rose, and hyacinth draw a tapestry of scent on her skin. Put together a combination of bath powder, lotion, and soap and then give her an hour to herself, no questions asked. Your Valentine will find one hundred ways to thank you!

Price: $13-$49

Buy it from: Kate & Company, Bristol

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Valentine's Day Dinner

End Valentine’s Day on a romantic note this year with a spectacular dinner in Seasons at the Ocean House. Ocean House chefs will take you through five palate-enticing courses, each highlighting the best of the New England bounty. Celebrate one another and the passion that you share over a decadent dessert. What are you waiting for? Click here to make your reservation.

Price: $95/ per person (plus tax and gratuity); Wine pairing is an additional $40/ per person.

Buy it from: Ocean House, Watch Hill

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A Beautiful Bouquet

Nothing says "I love you" on Valentine's Day like a wonderful bouquet of flowers. Express your love Valentine's Day beautiful and affordable flowers from A New Leaf. From romantic roses to impressive modern bouquets, A New Leaf offers nearly 50 unique Valentine's Day special that are sure to please even the most discerning eye.

Price: $34.95 and up

Buy it from: A New Leaf, Providence

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A Music Lover's Dream

Does your Valentine have an affinity for Opera music? How about taking her to the Blithewold Mansion on Valentine's Day for a concert she'll never forget. Opera Providence will present “A Happy Valentine’s Day Concert” on Friday Friday, Feb. 14th, at 7pm and Sunday, Feb. 16th at 3pm at the Blithewold Mansion. The event features the voices of the Opera Providence Ensemble.

Price: All concert tickets are $40 per person. Tickets for the entire concert series are $75 per person.

Buy it from: Click here to purchase tickets or call 401-331-6060.

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The Perfect Perfume

It's no secret that roses and Valentine's Day go hand in hand, but what about rose-scented fragrances? Think outside the box and get your special lady an all natural botanical perfume blended with real rose petals from Providence Perfume Company.

Price: $30 and up

Buy it from: Providence Perfume Co., Providence


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