Formal Dinner Manners:
A good guy to know is comfortable in all situations. While most of us probably claim to have good manners, we could all probably use a refresher on the rules and etiquette of a formal dinner. Have a listen and learn some new tips to impress your friends, the ladies, and maybe even… your friend’s lady! Thanks for listening!
General Rules of Dinner Etiquette:
Take your cues from the host.
Chew with your mouth closed; don’t talk with food in your mouth.
Bring food to your face not face to your food
Say please, thank you and excuse me
When preparing to attend a formal dinner, know your crowd. Try to anticipate just how fancy the dinner will be and dress accordingly. Better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. If the dinner is at a friends house, it is appropriate to bring a small gift such as wine, or flowers or my personal favorite, gourmet olive oil. Also, be sure to arrive on time but not to early. Most hosts are busy preparing the meal until just before you arrive. Don’t be more than 10 minutes early.
If the meal is less formal and there is a buffet or family style serving, take an average size serving. Also, you should never double dib on dishes that are meant for the whole group.
Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down (never tuck it into your shirt)
Do not shake out the napkin. Simply unfold it and put it on your lap.
The purpose of the napkin is to be able to wipe food from your mouth and also to remove any inedible pieces of the meal such as bones or fat
Dinner Place Setting:
– Everything revolves around the plate: forks on the left, spoons on the right, knives on the right.
– Work from outside to inside
– Your drinks go in the upper right corner (your water goblet or glass is always the largest, followed by red wine and finally white wine. Largest glass should be closest to the center.)
– Bread plates go in the upper left corner
– Never place used utensils back on the table.
Random Dinner Etiquette Facts:
– The prayer should be said (or initiated) by the host; the toast should be offered by one of the guests.
– If you need to lift your soup bowl to get the last bit of soup, tilt the bowl away from you so as to not splash any soup on yourself.
– If someone asks for the salt, always pass both the salt and pepper. They should never be separated during a meal.
– Never reach across the table. If you have to rise from your seat, that is too far. Simply ask someone to pass the item instead.
– If you are eating meat, always cut one bite-sized piece, eat it, and then cut the next piece.
– When you are finished, the way to signal to your host or server that you are done is to place your fork and knife in the 4 o’clock position. The fork should be tongs up and the cutting blade of the knife should face the fork .
– Practice makes perfect.