We all want to put our best foot forward when invited to a formal function. Here are 10 old-school etiquette rules for the dinner table that will guide you and help you impress your fellow dinner guests.

  1. Wait until the hostess is seated before you sit down. Wait behind your chair and then move to right of your chair, sitting down from your left. A man may seat the woman to his right, to which she may offer a simple thank you.
  2. Never move place cards. Not only has someone spent a lot of time and thought in carefully working out a seating plan; there may also be certain protocols which you are now disrupting.
  3. Switch off your cellphone or set it on silent. Put it away. Do not check messages or play around on it – it is very poor manners and goes against etiquette.
  4. Place your napkin in your lap only after your host or hostess has done so. If the napkin is large, fold it in half with the fold facing your waist.
  5. Keep a good posture – keep your back straight (but not stiff) and fold your hands on your lap when not eating. No elbows or wrists on the table, unless you are eating “Continental Style” – your wrists may then rest on the edge of the table.
  6. Do not place any of your belongings on the table – not glasses, cellphones or clutches. You may keep your clutch on your lap under the napkin, while larger handbags should rest on the floor under your seat.
  7. Look at how the cutlery is placed on the table. Always begin with the outside cutlery and move closer to your plate as you finish each course.
  8. Wait for the host or hostess to take a bite before you start eating. The hostess will set the pace. If she places her cutlery together as a signal that the course is finished, you should also be finished. The plate of food is not a race, but neither is it a resting place.
  9. Glasses are placed in order of use to the top left of your table setting. Do not sip your wine until the hostess has done so. The meal may be followed by coffee, after which a dessert wine like sherry might be served. Always wait for the hostess to take a sip before you do.
  10. Once the meal is finished, the hostess will signal the end of the meal by placing her loosely folded napkin to the left of the plate. Do the same, but only stand once she has stood up.

From corporate dinners to wondrous weddings, UP A TONE Events will cover every aspect of your event and take care of all the details, so that you can focus on what really matters: your guests. CONTACT US today to find a one-stop solution for your event.