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Newport Manners & Etiquette: Broken Halloween Promise, How to Complain & Forgetting Names

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

 

What to do when dad breaks a Halloween promise, how to complain at a restaurant, the length of the wedding toast, and what to do when you've forgotten a guest's name were all questions to Didi Lorillard this week at NewportManners.

Make a promise, keep a promise

Q.  My dad promised he would take us trick-or-treating. Now he says we're too old to trick-or-treat. He thinks it's just an excuse for us not to do our homework. How do we get him to keep his promise?  JW and PW, Cranston, RI

A.  A promise made means everything. Keeping a promise to yourself and your loved ones is essential. Your dad must know that. Why not try the following:

Be kind to your dad. Make him a Halloween card. Ask him if he'd like to do something else with you and your sibling instead of going trick-or-treating. 

If that doesn't work: Get him to talk to you about what he did as a kid on Halloween. Be curious. Listen to his stories. Help him to remember good memories by asking questions. What Halloween costumes did you wear when you were about my age? 

  • If that doesn't win your dad over, ask him to spend time with you on a day he has off from work. Make it about dad spending fun time with you and your sibling and don't make it about Halloween. 

 

Who knows, perhaps your dad had a really bad experience when he was your age. Or that his family simply didn't recognize Halloween as a fun family activity. Find out his reasoning. My point is that he made a promise knowing you might have homework. Why did he break his promise? He owes you a better answer.

 

How to efficiently make a complaint

Q.  What's the most efficient way to complain about poor service and food in a restaurant? We know the owners, but don't want to go there even though we think they should know our complaints.  Name and location withheld

A.  A recent British survey found that 38% of those asked would never think of making a complaint in a restaurant, even if something was dreadfully off. Chefs have been known to throw out a quest who complained or, say, asked for ketchup to doctor his ceviche. Never order something that is unfamiliar to you and then complain that you didn't know it was raw fish. Ask before you order. If the chowder is cold or the steak is not rare enough, speak up.

When making your position known:

  • Be clear, calm and concise in verbalizing your complaint. Then be patient - mistakes happen. Allow for the error to be rectified.
  • Be straightforward, don't wait to complain about a dish until you've practically cleaned your plate.
  • Speak up immediately. Once you walk out of the restaurant door, it's over. Good manners would be to let your waiter or management know of your complaint before exiting the restaurant - and not through social media. Although if you made the reservation through sites like OpenTable, you can send a private message to the restaurant when you receive their follow up survey.
  • Don't ask to be compensated for your discontent. Any good restaurant will want to turn your criticism into a positive complaint and will probably offer a complimentary dessert or after-dinner drink as a reward for your patience. 

 

Totally surprise guests with the timing of your fabulous wedding

Q.  We went to a family friend's wedding this past weekend and the father-of-the-bride lectured us for 45 minutes about his wonderful, brilliant, beautiful daughter. The best man spoke for at least half an hour about how much he admired the bride and groom. When the groom got up to take the mic, we had had enough already. The groom went on and on for another half hour. As the mother of a bride to be, I'm wondering what the timing for the toasts should be and how to enforce limits for my daughter's upcoming wedding?  Susan, Westport, CT

A.  Here is an appropriate timeframe for a wedding that is followed by a dinner reception:

Wedding Timeline

5:00 pm Wedding

6:00 pm till 7:30 pm Drinks and Canapés

Dinner and Dancing: Welcoming toast by the father/mother-of-the-bride, best man/woman toast introducing the groom, followed by the groom's toast introducing the bride

Send out a memo to the speakers/toasters: Speeches during dinner are to be absolutely no longer than ten minutes each -- and much shorter if it's a toast that asks guests to "stand and toast." Five minutes per speech/toast - or less - is the ideal length of time.

  • Toasters that go over that timing are not delivering a toast, but a lecture.
  • Toasts and speeches should be loving, humorous and respectfully short. 
  • Wedding toasts are not the time for roasting the honorees. (Roasting takes place at the welcome dinner the night before the wedding.)

 

How to recover from having forgotten your guest's name

Q.  What do you say when you're having a lapse in memory and can't remember a guest's name when he arrived for dinner, and so you don't know how to introduce him to the guests who are already there? I was mortified.  GP, Brooklyn, NY

A.   Be a chicken. You should have ushered him in to meet the other guests then quickly excused yourself to "tend to something in the kitchen." With you out of the room they would have been forced to introduce themselves while you eavesdropped at the door to refresh your memory.

Entertaining can be stressful. No matter how much you love the company of friends, there is much to do in preparation. Stress can certainly cause you to forget names as easily as to neglect to put butter with the bread or a pitcher of ice water on the table. It happens to us all. Once I was having such a good time I forget to bring out the salad course!

  • Next time you entertain: Rehearse your guest list ahead of time by repeating the names out loud over and over again. It will help you not only to learn the names but remember them as well.

 

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners for her forthcoming book.

 

Related Slideshow: 25 Things You Must do This Fall in New England - 2017

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Walk/Jog/Hike Through the Bird Sanctuary

Worcester, MA 

There are some great walking and hiking paths behind the Audubon Society on Massasoit Road in Worcester to visit this fall.

Want to be at peace and escape the city without really leaving the city? Take a brisk walk through the Bird Sanctuary. If you don't feel better by the time you leave there...then turn around and go back in.

The bird sanctuary is located on 414 Massasoit Road in Worcester

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Pumpkin Picking at Jaswell's Farm

Smithfield, RI

The fall season is all about pumpkins. Pumpkin beer, pumpkin pie and most of all pumpkin picking.

Pumpkin picking is a timeless event for families, especially those with young kids who will love to just run around and grab whichever pumpkin looks good to them.

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Attend the Vermont International Film Festival 

Burlington, Vermont

The 2017 Vermont International Film Festival takes place from October 20 to October 29. 

The festival will feature more than 70 films from all over the world as well as panels and discussions. 

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Fall Exhibits at the Boston Children's Museum 

Boston, MA 

The Boston Children's Museum has two special exhibits to celebrate the fall season. 

The first is a dinosaur exhibit titled "Explor-a-saurus," and there is also a "Bubbles" exhibit and a "construction zone."

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a daily basis. 

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Leaf Peeping in The Berkshires

Berkshires, MA

Arguably the coolest thing about the fall season is the changing of the leaves. You will want to go up to the Berkshires and stroll through a park or just down a street and take note of all the colors, it's a must do fall activity.

How many colors can you see?

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Attend the Freeport Fall Festival 

Freeport, Maine

The festival will feature more than 130 artists showing off their work ranging from photography oil, watercolor, mixed media and much more.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Enjoy a Glass of Wine at Newport Vineyards

Newport, RI 

Hello grape season! 

It may be getting colder, but for wine lovers, this is the best time of year because it's grape season.

There are many great Vineyards around New England but Newport Vineyards is among the best. 

Enjoy the wine.

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Coppal House Farm

Lee, NH

Not one, not two, but three corn mazes all in one spot. 

The famous triple maze at Coppal House Farm in New Hampshire is fun for all ages!

This year's theme is honey bees for all three mazes.

Built in the mid-1700s, Coppal Farm has horse-drawn carriage rides, pumpkin picking, and tons of other activities on its 78-acre farm.

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Drink a Glass or Two or Three of Apple Cider

Across New England

Nothing says fall like drinking nice warm glass of apple cider, or maybe multiple warm glasses of apple cider.

Head over to your local market and buy some, or maybe you know how to make your own or have your own recipe. Either way, drinking apple cider is something to look forward too.

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Last Golf Rounds of the Year at Harbor Lights 

Warwick, RI 

While it may not be summer anymore and you may need an extra shirt or light jacket, there is still time to get some end of season swings in at your local golf course.

The fall season presents some of the best golfing weather that we have all year in New England.

Hit them straight.

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Take a Trip up Mount Mansfield 

Stowe, Vermont

Visit Vermont and take a gondola up Mount Mansfield. Once you get to the top, look back at the spectacular view. There are not to many views like it. 

For travelers, be sure to bring a jacket.

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Coastal Wine Trail 

Across Southern New England

The Coastal Wine Trail is a nonprofit group of 14 wineries that are spread throughout Southeastern New England. 

Vineyards on the trail include Preston Ridge Vineyard in Preston Connecticut, Travessia Winery in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery in Westport, Massachusetts and Coastal Vineyards in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. 

The heart of the trail is less than three hours from New York City and 90 minutes from Bosto

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Visit the Factory of Terror  

Worcester, MA

Check out five attractions at the super spooky Factory of Terror! Clown College, Zella's Hideaway, Zombie Alley, 3D Nightmare and the 13th Haunt all in one place.

This indoor haunted house offers a frightening and spooky experience with realistic, detailed rooms featuring cutting edge special effects and horror creatures at every turn!

Enter at your own risk!

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Last Chance for Al Fresco Dining at Boat House Restaurant 

Tiverton, RI

The views of Mount Hope Bay are unparalleled. Enjoy some wine with a snack or three while watching the sunset.  The chef is known for a well-balanced menu of seasonal treats that uses locally sourced seafood in creative ways.

Celebrate the fall season and eat outdoors one last time. 

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Drink a Fall Beer Before They Go Away 

Across New England

The fall selection of beers is unmatched. 

Whether it's Octoberfest from Sam Adams or a pumpkin pie beer from Newport Storm, it's time to get out to your local bar or store and pick up some of the great fall beers on tap or in stock.

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Learning at Plimoth Plantation

Plymouth, MA

The fall season is Plimoth Plantation's busiest time of year and it is a great time to bring the family.

Visit the Wampanoag Homesite, the 17th-Century English Village, Nye Barn, Craft Center, Plimoth Bread Company, Mayflower II, and the Plimoth Grist Mill!

A great way to learn and have fun at the same time.

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Visit the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo

Providence, RI 

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is a one of a kind fall event taking place at Roger Williams Park Zoo and runs from October 6 - November 6, 2016 and tickets are only sold online.

The display features more than 125 carved pumpkins, featuring designs such as the laughing tree and several others. 

New to this year’s spectacular, Friday – Sunday nights now feature timed ticket entry starting at 5:30 p.m. These tickets will only be sold online.

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Last Chance for Outdoor Dining at Caffe Expresso Trattoria 

Worcester, MA

Caffe Espresso Trattoria has been open for more than 20 years as a family owned and operated restaurant. Trattoria offfers authentic Italian home cooking.

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International Oktoberfest at Bold Point Park 

East Providence, RI 

International Oktoberfest will take place over Columbus Day weekend at Bold Point Park. 

The festival will include seasonal beer, German cuisine, and live music. 

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Ride or Run the East Bay Bike Path 

Barrington, RI 

Put on a comfy sweater and take a fall run or bike ride down this 14.5 mile long path that stretches from India Point Park in Providence to Independence Park in Bristol.

The path connects many towns while providing waterside views nearly the entire way.

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Attend King Richard's Faire 

Carver, Massachusetts

Dive into history at King Richard's Faire, New England's oldest and largest Renaissance Festival and most beloved annual fall event. Dress up, play games and learn alot at a faire that is a great fall event for the entire family.

The faire ends on October 23. 

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Take a Fall Trip to Block Island

Block Island, RI

As the fall season rolls on, trips to Block Island are winding down.

But at the moment, there is still great weather ahead and great opportunities to get on the ferry and head over to Block Island for the day, or maybe even multiple days.

A fall trip to Block Island is something ou must do this fall.

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Westerly Fall Restaurant Week

Westerly, RI 

Restaurants will offer a three course price fixed meal at $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner. 

Participating restaurants include Venice Restaurant and Lounge, Pleasant View Inn, Amigos and more. 

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Book a Weekend Getaway to Twin Farms

Bernard, Vermont 

Take a break, getaway from the daily grind of life and go on a weekend getaway to Twin Farms in Vermont. 

While you are there, there are great opportunities for hiking, biking and just relaxing. 

You will not regret this trip. 

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Visit Connecticut's Glass House 

New Canaan, CT 

Construction began on the Glass House in 1949 by architect Philip Johnson and is now a National Trust Historic Site. 

The house is on 49 acres of land which holds 13 other structures and features a collection of 20th century painting and sculpture. 

The foliage surrounding the house makes the fall season a great time to go visit. 

 
 

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