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Jun 9, 2008

Act at a Dinner Party

This article will teach you the basic essentials of Dinner Party Etiquette. Read on to learn about good table manners that will help you through any formal or semi formal lunch party or dinner party. Here you will find tips on good table manners that will help you through any formal or semi formal lunch party or dinner party.

Unfold your napkin and use it for occasionally wiping your lips or fingers once seated. At the end of dinner,leave the napkin tidily on the place setting.
Wait your turn for food. It is traditional to serve the lady sitting to the right of the host first, then the other ladies in a clockwise direction, and lastly the gentlemen. Never start eating before a signal from the host to do so.
  • If there are lots of different sets of cutlery beside the plate, start at the outside and work in. If in doubt, have a look to see what the other guests are doing/using.
  • Hold the knife and fork with the handles in the palm of the hand, forefinger on top, and thumb underneath.
  • Whilst eating, 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 centre of the plate.
  • Try your food. In the event of being presented with a dish which you feel unable to eat, it is polite to at least make some attempt to do so. 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!
  • Make polite conversation with those guests around you. Dinner parties are not just about the food, they are intended to be a sociable occasion.
  • Make a point of thanking the host and hostess for their hospitality before leaving.
  • Send a personal note to the host and hostess shortly afterwards thanking them for the pleasurable evening.

    • 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, 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.
    • Forks should not be turned over unless being used for eating peas, sweetcorn kernels, rice or other similar foods. The fort should never be transfered to the right hand. However, at a casual buffet, or barbecue, it is quite acceptable to eat with just a fork.
    • Desserts may 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.
    • Good dinner party 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.

      • 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.
      • Never talk with your mouth full.
      • Don’t ever 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.
      • 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.
      • Never embarrass yourself by drinking too much wine. Where a different wine is served with each course, it is quite acceptable to not finish each glass.