Newport Manners & Etiquette: New 2014 Wedding Etiquette + More
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Inviting ex-family to the wedding
My daughter is getting married and would like to invite my sister's ex-husband and his new girlfriend, but I feel it will be very uncomfortable for my sister. (I knew it would be!) What to do? KR, Providence
I should say! Inviting the bride's aunt's ex-husband and his new girlfriend would be uncomfortable for more guests than just your sister. The first thing you have to remember as the mother-of-the-bride is that you only want to create good memories. Beautiful memories of the wedding that will be everlasting. So, you don't want to make a bigger deal out of this than you have to. Got it? No drama. Since your sister is the bride's blood relative, the bride's first duty is to protect her from feeling uncomfortable by not inviting her former uncle and his new girlfriend. Try to gently broker a compromise with your daughter by suggesting she invite her former uncle without his plus one. If he agrees to attend solo, that's fine. Although he can only come with the understanding that he is not to bring a date. ~Didi
Addressing divorced families
My college-age daughter has several friends with divorced parents. In all of these cases, the mothers are the custodial parent, and have chosen to use their maiden names since divorcing. How should I have addressed their Christmas cards? This year, I used:
The Smith (the mom's maiden name) and Jones (the children's last name) Families on their envelopes for our cards, but I can't seem to locate a source that would identify this as being correct. Can you help me? Thanks so much! J.M., Princeton, NJ
Happy to help. Next Christmas address the envelope to:
The Smith and Jones Family
The Smith & Jones Family
Addressing them as 'The Smith and Jones Family' sounds more normal and friendlier, rather than making the word 'family' plural. Don't you think? ~Didi
Funeral étiquette for condolence cards
If you have a friend who has lost his father, and you do not know the father's spouse, do you send the condolence gift to the friend or the deceased's spouse? J.C., West Warwick
Dear J. C.,
Look up the obituary of your friend's father online and/or in your local newspaper to find out where gifts are to be sent. As the son is the blood relative of the deceased, it wouldn't be wrong to send him a gift in memory of his father, if gifts haven't been designated otherwise. When the obituary doesn't give that information, then contact the funeral home to find out how gifts are being handled. The funeral home acts as the clearing house for such matters. ~Didi
Teaching a three-year-old table manners
My step-sister-in-law seems to think that my three-year-old should have better table manners. How exactly do you teach table manners to a child that young? C. B., Portsmouth
When teaching a three-year-old table manners, give them one lesson at a time until you feel they've rote learned it into their routine. For instance, a three-year-old no longer needs to sit in a high chair, but s/he has to quickly understand that they have to remain seated until after dessert. Before then, they can ask to be excused and take their plate to the sink. Once they're excused, they cannot come back to their seat. (It goes without saying that they've been to the restroom to wash their hands, etc., before sitting down to eat, and that all the plates would be cleared at the same time. None of this clearing of the plates and leaving Jacob to sulk over his unfinished dinner.)
At this age they know they should eat with their child-size knife and fork or spoon, even though they cannot always manipulate the utensil. This is the lesson that takes patience on the part of the parent/caregiver. The child may not yet be able to manage his/her utensils until s/he has broken the food down and felt it's consistency. Like a scientist s/he will dissect the food into the tiniest of crumbs in order to get a feel for how best to conquer the task of using the utensil.
Out of the corner of your eye, it is so interesting to watch them trying to figure it out. They'll chop, say, a piece of corn bread into crumbs with their child-size knife and fork. With the fork they'll try lifting lots of tiny crumbs up to their mouth, which falls off most of the time. Then they try the spoon. It works. That's when you pipe in with a piece of corn bread in your hand to say, "Corn bread is so crumbly, you can eat it with your fingers one bite at a time." They also discover on their own that they cannot eat yogurt or ice cream with a fork. This is all part of the process. Patiently allow her/him to experiment in a controlled setting in order for them to find their manners at the table. Once s/he takes command of their utensils, they'll proudly use them, much to your step-sister-in-law's delight.
As for dinner conversation, it wouldn't be about the experimentation that is on-going. The child will be so engaged that s/he will not feel needy for attention – for a least a couple of minutes. It is best not to discuss table manners too much while eating experimentally or they will become so self-conscious that they'll lose interest too quickly in exploring the possibilities. As I said, let them experiment with their food and, yes, they may need a rubber child's tray under their plate, and you may need to place a cloth on the seat of their chair as well as underneath to catch all those minuscule crumbs before calling in the dog to lick them up. ~Didi
Do you have a question for Didi? Visit her at NewportManners.com. We can withhold your name and location. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Previous weekly GoLocalProv.com columns can be found by typing in Didi Lorillard in the above lefthand search.
Related Slideshow: 10 New England Wine Getaways
Hardwick Vineyard & Winery
Central Mass’s own Hardwick Vineyard & Winery, open March-December, is a close to home treasure that produces 3,000 gallons of wine each year. The winery, which grows 6 varieties of grapes, is built on a quiet road in Hardwick that abuts the Quabbin Reservoir. Located on the property is a majestic 200 year old mansion. This weekend, take the trip to the vineyard to enjoy a wine tasting. Favorites include Massetts Cranberry and Yankee Girl Blush. If you head out on a Sunday; you’ll be in luck—the winery is hosting Sangria Sundays for the rest of the month.
3305 Greenwich Road, Hardwick, MA. (413) 967-7763.
Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery
Tucked away on the southern coast of Massachusetts, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, located about an hour’s drive from Worcester, is worth the trip. For only $10, you can take home a special edition etched wine glass and enjoy a tasting of up to six of their award-winning wines. While the tasting room is open Monday-Saturday, free winery tours are also offered to the public every Saturday from 1-3pm.
417 Hixbridge Rd, Westport, MA. (508) 636-3423.
A relatively young addition to the Massachusetts family of wineries and vineyards, Coastal Vineyards in South Dartmouth opened its doors in 2004. Coastal Vineyards grows eight varieties of grapes on their property, including Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and more. For a special treat, head over on Sunday for their Ugly Sweater Wine Party featuring acoustic musician Ryan Thaxter. Don your ugliest sweater to get 35% off your purchase—and a chance at a prize.
61 Pardon Hill Road, South Dartmouth, MA.
Amherst Farm Winery
Head out to one of Massachusetts’s favorite college towns this weekend to check out Amherst Farm Winery. Enjoy a wine tasting set in a cozy 19th century post and beam dairy barn. For only $5 receive a logo glass and a taste of 5 of their 15 wines, including unique flavors like chocolate raspberry, pumpkin frost, cranberry, and more. Bring a picnic and cozy up on their leather sofa by the fire to enjoy your wine with a snack.
529 Belchertown Road, Amherst, MA. (413) 253-1400.
Nashoba Valley WInery
Take the bite off the winter chill this weekend and take a drive to Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton. The winery hosts tasting events everyday from 10am-4:30pm For $5, receive a free tasting glass and samples of up to five different wines. Some favorites include Strawberry Rhubarb Wine, Holiday Special Cranberry Apple (a new release in November 2013), and New English Cider. If you are in the mood for something other than wine (if that’s possible), check out their beer selection as well!
100 Wattaquadock Hill Road, Bolton, MA. (978) 779-5521.
Mill River Winery
Mill River Winery, located in Rowley, is the perfect wine destination for a mini-getaway. Enjoy the gorgeous winter scenery of Western Massachusetts as you wind through country roads to the winery. Mill River’s tasting room is housed in a refurbished cider mill, complete with eclectic décor that provides for an excellent tasting and shopping experience. Try their delicious Naked Chardonnay, a full bodied chardonnay with aromatic notes of lemon zest and pear. If you would like to get a “Dirt to Bottle Tour,” make sure to be at the winery at 2pm or 4pm Saturday or Sunday.
498 Newburyport Turnpike, Rowley, MA. (978) 432-1280.
Black Birch Vineyard
For only $6, get the full Black Birch Vineyard experience—tasting and a tour! Enjoy the great mix of contemporary and rustic décor of the tasting room and the local culture of this Massachusetts winery. While you’re in, be sure to try their award winning selection of reds and whites.
155 Glendale Road, Southampton, MA. (413) 527-0164.
Taylor Brook Winery
Located just over the border, Taylor Brook Winery in Woodstock, CT, is a hidden gem. This winery tends to over 2,000 vines of the finest grapes in the region. Head down to enjoy the country hospitality of this great local business, which offers tastings, bottles of their wine, and other great gift items for purchase. For a delicious winter wine, try their Winter Pomegranate.
848 Route 171, Woodstock, CT. (860) 974-1263.
Obadiah McIntyre Farm
Obadiah McIntyre Farm Winery
The Obadiah McIntyre Farm Winery is located on the Charlton Orchards Farm property. The winery is owned and operated by a family that has been in the business of growing fruit for over 50 years, and began making wine in 1999. They are dedicated to making the best tasting wines around. Every weekend until the end of December, join them for a tasting and see for yourself.
44 Old Worcester Road, Charlton, MA. (508) 248-7941.
Puttney Mountain Winery
Just over the Vermont border, Putney Mountain Winery located inside Basketville, has been making delicious local wines since the 1990s. All of their wines are crafted from local produce, which makes for the best tasting wine possible. If you’re toting the kids along for the day, the winery also sells juices made from locally grown produce, like their Putney Bubbly Vermont Sparkling Black Currant.
8 Bellows Falls Road, Putney, VT. (802) 387-5925.
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