Newport Manners: The Etiquette of Handling Selfies, Bullies, Engravings + GMOBs

Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Didi Lorillard, GoLocalProv Manners + Etiquette Expert

Questions to Didi Lorillard this week at NewportManners covered a full range of etiquette from how to handle bullies, selfies, and the grandmother-of-the-bride, to choosing wedding stationery engravings. 

Death and selfies

Q.  To my horror and dismay my college student niece posted a selfie of she and my sister just after she passed away. I want to ask her to take this macabre selfie down but my husband and our sons say that it would be adding insult to injury. My sister would be mortified. What do you suggest?  Name withheld, Cos Cob, CT

A.  Allow your niece to grieve the loss of her mother in her own way and in her own time. For your niece's generation, (hold your breath) taking the selfie of she and her mother may help her to say goodbye and loosen the emotional bonds to a parent who has been a distinctively significant part of her life. Try to understand how a daughter experiences the loss of her mother. What does she feel she has lost with her mother's death? Your niece's reactions have an integrity and logic of their own. The selfie may seem strange to you if you don't consider that it reflects her age, the times in which she is living and how she experiences life.

As hard as it may be, keep all judgement to yourself. Disregard the selfie incident and let it go. Comfort your niece and try to understand the complexity of her grief. Lighten up her heart by telling her funny and interesting stories about her mother, to show how much you appreciated her, too. 

You have a significant bond in common with your niece. Let her know that you are there for her whenever she needs someone who isn't judgmental to talk to. Not only did you and your niece lose your sister, but you both lost an important relationship, and in those relationships a sense of self that existed in those bonds.


Court bullies

Q.  At our small tennis club we reserve a court over a block of time in order to assure a weekly game. Our tennis doubles group meets for a hour and a half and we reserve the same least windy court. Yesterday when we arrived to claim our court two guys were playing. Despite the fact that "our-turn-on-the-court" stare glared in the sunshine at them for 12 minutes, the two guys ignored us. We asked, "What number court are you supposed to be using." The old guy answered, "We don't know." After a snooty look, they moved to a vacant court. They were disrespectful of our time. We deliberated about how if we had been four men, would the two guys have been more respectful of our court time. How should we have handled this?  AG, Stonington, CT

A.  If you had spoken up sooner, they wouldn't have had to pretend to ignore you and your tennis buddies. A five minute wait is long enough. You were disappointed that they didn't ask if you all were waiting for the court. Obviously you were. Don't be intimidated by bullying tennis players.


Handling the grandmother-of-the-bride

Q.  Does my mother have the right to make my brothers wear tuxedos for the sake of the photographs at my niece's wedding?  MS, New York, New York

A.  Your mother is looking at the big picture. Decades from now when children and grandchildren are looking at these wedding photos, your mother wants them to see the family traditionally dressed in what she considers proper wedding attire.

Should your mother be paying for the wedding, she may feel that she has a certain amount of control over details such as dress code. So, if that is the case, you cannot blame her.

On the other hand, traditionally, the mother-of-the-bride, along with the bride and groom decide on the dress code for the bridal party, as well as for the guests. So the vote would be two to one. Can you impress upon your mother to stick to the tradition that the dress code should be decided by mutual agreement between the wedding couple and their parents? If so, do try. 

Another tradition you can remind everyone of, is that male guests can remove their tuxedo jackets (or whatever kind of jacket) after either the father-of-the-bride or the groom takes off theirs.


Engraved stationery

Q. We're looking for ideas for our wedding stationery. Since we were engaged in Newport and hosting our wedding in Newport, we thought you might be able to suggest styles for us.

A.  Here are samples of engravers' styles recently seen in a shop in Paris called Stylo Bac, at 68 Rue du Bac, Paris 75007. As etiquette here in Newport was for the most part due to the influence of the French occupation during the American Revolution, we're keen on the French engravers.  


Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners for her soon-to-be published guide to NEWPORTMANNERS.

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