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Newport Manners & Etiquette: May to December Romance, Travel Tipping Guide & 5 Best Proposal Spots

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


May to December romance, tipping guide for travelers, five best spots to propose, and who to ask and not ask to your wedding, were all questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners this week. 

May to December marriage

Q. My divorced father has fallen in love with an older woman and I'm having a very difficult time accepting the fact that they are actually getting married. I want to tell him that he might end up taking care of her and that he should date a woman his own age or younger who can take care of him. But I can't. She makes him happy, which my mother certainly didn't. What should I do?  PA, Boston


A.  The innovative industrialist Henry Ford was fond of saying that those "who stop learning are old, whether at twenty or eighty." Two people who are the same age can be as different as night and day just as easily as two people decades apart can be terrifically compatible. I know 70-year-olds who are more active than fifty-year-olds. 

Try not to judge your future stepmother too harshly. You say that she makes your father happy. Let it be.

  • A study by University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock that analyzed 1,507 heterosexual couples found that we perpetuate the trophy wife notion by relying on our culturally ingrained biases. Think of your dad as a trophy husband.
  • Dr. McClintock's conclusion was that the majority of both men and women seek partners who are more similar to them than dissimilar. Whatever your father and his fiancée have found in common are interests that run deep.


Support your father in his quest for finding true love. Give them a chance as a couple. Consider the newly elected 39-year-old French president Emmanuel Macron, whose wife, Brigitte, is 25 years his senior. Coincidently, that's the same span in ages as between Mr. Trump and Melanie.

Whom to invite to my wedding

Q.  In trying to pare down our wedding invitation list I'm stressed about not inviting people who I work with and friends from college and high school whom I don't see any longer. Just because I went to a friend's wedding do I have to invite them to mine? What do I do about the people I see in the office five days a week?  Name Withheld

A.  As long as you gave a wedding present to that old friend whose wedding you celebrated, you have reciprocated that friend's invitation and you are not obligated to invite him or her. Should you run into one of these old friends and they want to know about your wedding, say that it is (or was) a small wedding and leave it at that. She knows you sent her a wedding gift.

Not all friends in your workplace would feel comfortable at your wedding where they won't know many of the other guests. Here's how to handle friends and coworkers not being invited to your wedding.

  • What you don't want to do is talk about your wedding plans. Especially don't look for advice. If you're asking one of your coworkers to go wedding dress shopping with you after work because she has an "in" at a bridal boutique, you're going to have to invite her. People who do favors might expect to be invited.
  • The word will get out that you're having a wedding and you'll have to tell those coworkers whom you're inviting that it is a small wedding and you could not invite everyone. Because you don't want any hurt feelings you're asking those invited to not discuss your wedding with anyone at your office.
  • When a coworker you haven't invited gives you a wedding gift, possibly because she wants an invitation, or more than likely because she is genuinely pleased for you, take her for lunch or coffee and explain that you can't invite everyone to your small wedding and that you hope she'll understand. Be sure to send her a sweet thank-you note.
  • Be careful of what you say over drinks after work. Don't go inviting coworkers to your wedding you know you don't have room for or whom you will regret having asked.


Tipping while traveling

Q.  On our June honeymoon we're traveling throughout Europe. We're slightly mystified as to how to tip. Guidebooks differ on when exactly tipping isn't necessary and how much to tip when we should tip. Not to be a cheapskate, but we're never going to see these people again so why tip?  And when we do have to tip, how much and to whom?  DR, Providence


A.  Basically, it is polite to show your appreciation by tipping those who have helped you or waited on you. Travel specialists suggest tipping directly to the individual rather than, for instance, leaving an envelope with cash at the front desk to be distributed to the hotel staff, which the people who helped you may never receive.

  • In hotels tip the people directly who wait on you and take care of your room: the equivalent of $5 a night to the housekeeper who makes your bed and cleans; $3 to $5 per bag to the bell people who deliver your bags to your room; $2 to the person who arranges a cab for you; to the concierge you would tip $5 to $10 dollars depending on how much s/he did for you by making a dinner reservation at the in restaurant, securing hard to obtain theatre or concert tickets, or recommending an English speaking tour guide.
  • When engaging an English-speaking tour guide or driver for the day, you would tip anywhere from $25 to $50. For a driver, $15 to $25 for half a day.
  • In restaurants the tip is usually included in the service, but for very good to excellent service, tip the waiter and sommelier directly at your discretion.
  • For hairdressers, beauticians, barbers, and other personal services when the tip is not included in the price, tip accordingly for good to excellent service, anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on the length of time and quality of the care.


Top five marriage proposal spots

Q. She chose the ring, now I want to surprise my fiancée with the creative location to give it to her while I propose. Any ideas?  Name Withheld

A.  Marriage is a journey and starting that adventure in a splendid place that has a memorable backdrop will make the proposal a perfectly great beginning. Of course, I'm going to suggest Newport and our beautiful Aquidneck Island.

  • Norman Bird Sanctuary: Hike out to hanging rock and propose with the panoramic view of the Atlantic and its coastline. 
  • Horseback riding on Second Beach for the ultimate equine experience.
  • Sunset sail on a Twelve Meter or catamaran as the sun begins to set coloring the sky with red, pink and salmon hues.
  • Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge: Walk out to the farthest promontory while watching the birds fishing in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Sky Bar at the Clarke Cooke House: Reserve a table overlooking the harbor. The most romantic restaurant I know.


Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.


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