The basic principles of proper dinner table etiquette.......and how to avoid social embarrassment!
Here you will find tips on dinner table etiquette that will help you through any formal or semi formal lunch party or dinner party.
The 10 easy DO's, and 10 easy DON'Ts of good table etiquette!
But first of all, a little general advice on.....
Simple, Good Manners
- Always respond to an invitation within a week of receiving it.
- Dress according to the recommended (if any) dress code. NEVER attempt to "out dress" the hostess!
- Be punctual - never more than 10 minutes late.
- If you wish to bring a guest as your partner, good dinner table etiquette demands that you should always check with the host first. If you are the one hosting the party and a guest of yours arrives with an unexpected friend, be polite & courteous with them, and speak with your inconsiderate guest at another time!
- It is considered polite to take along a small gift, for your host and hostess. Flowers, chocolates or champagne are always appreciated.
Dinner Table Etiquette - the 10 Do's!
- Once seated, unfold your napkin and use it for occasionally wiping your lips or fingers. At the end of dinner, leave the napkin tidily on the place setting.
- It is good dinner table etiquette to serve the lady sitting to the right of the host first, then the other ladies in a clockwise direction, and lastly the gentlemen.
- Hold the knife and fork with the handles in the palm of the hand, forefinger on top, and thumb underneath.
- Whilst eating, you may if you wish rest the knife and fork on either side of the plate between mouthfuls. When you have finished eating, place them side by side in the center of the plate.
- If the food presented to you is not to your liking, it is polite to at least make some attempt to eat a small amount of it. Or at the very least, cut it up a little, and move it around the plate!
- It is quite acceptable to leave some food to one side of your plate if you feel as though you have eaten enough. On the other hand, don't attempt to leave your plate so clean that it looks as though you haven't eaten in days!
- Desserts may be eaten with both a spoon and fork, or alternatively a fork alone if it is a cake or pastry style sweet.
- Should a lady wish to be excused for the bathroom, it is polite for the gentlemen to stand up as she leaves the table, sit down again, and then stand once more when she returns.
- Always make a point of thanking the host and hostess for their hospitality before leaving.
- It is good dinner table etiquette to send a personal thank you note to the host and hostess shortly afterwards.
Dinner Table Etiquette - the 10 Don'ts!
- NEVER start eating before a signal from the host to do so.
- Forks should not be turned over unless being used for eating peas, sweetcorn kernels, rice or other similar foods. In which case, it should be transferred to the right hand. However, at a casual buffet, or barbecue it is quite acceptable to eat with just a fork.
- It is not generally regarded as good dinner table etiquette to use one's bread for dipping into soups or mopping up sauces.
- Loud eating noises such as slurping and burping are very impolite. The number one sin of dinner table etiquette!
- Talking with one's mouth full. is not only unpleasant to watch, but could also lead to choking! Definitely not a good idea!
- Don't stretch across the table crossing other guests to reach food, wine or condiments. Instead ask a guest sitting close to pass the item to you.
- Good dinner table etiquette sometimes involves a degree of diplomacy when it comes to the host's choice of food and wine! Even if you feel that you can do better, don't ever offer your criticism. If you feel unable to pay any compliments, at least remain silent on the subject.
- Picking teeth (unless toothpicks are provided) or licking fingers are very unattractive! The only exception to the latter is when eating meat or poultry on the bone (such as chicken legs or ribs). In which case, a finger bowl should be provided.
- Drinking too much wine can be very embarrassing! Where a different wine is served with each course, it is quite acceptable to not finish each glass.
- Don't forget to make polite conversation with those guests around you. Dinner parties are not just about the food, they are intended to be a sociable occasion!