Remember, the best of your gowns, most precious of jewels and a nice gift for the host are not enough to enjoy a dinner party for which you have been invited. A party invite is not just for enjoyment. It conveys volumes about the host and the guests invited. There is a code of conduct which people need to follow or rather which people should follow when they are in a social setting. A person not following these set of etiquettes is often seen as a deviant and is looked down upon by everyone else in the society. Therefore, it is important for a person to abide by the rules of etiquettes. One should understand the fact that these rules of etiquettes have been set in the first place to outlay guidelines for people to behave in a particular manner when in a group. A command over dining etiquette would prove to be handy, when you are invited for dinner meetings and other formal affairs.
Basic Dining Etiquettes
- If you are an invitee to a party or a guest to a formal function, you must follow your host who will lead you to the dinner table. Your host should be the first person to be seated, to start eating and to leave the table. However, if you are at a non-formal function, then it is polite for a man to offer the female companion a seat before being seated himself.
- Once you are on your seat, unfold the napkin and use it occasionally for wiping your lips and fingers. At the end of your dinner, place the napkin neatly on the table.
- The lady sitting to the right of the host should be served first and then the other ladies in the clockwise direction. The men should be the last to get served. This is a basic and a good dining etiquette.
- Hold the knife and the fork in the palm of your hands, with the forefingers on the top and the thumb underneath the vessel. Hold the knife in your right hand and the fork in your left hand.
- In between your meal, you can place the knife and the fork on either sides of your plate, when you are still munching or in between of a conversation. Once you are done with your dinner, place your fork and knife parallel to each other in the middle of the plate.
- It might so happen that the food served to you is not to your liking. In such case, you should at least make an attempt to eat the food. It shows the respect you pay to the cook and the host by eating little of everything that is served.
- It is acceptable to leave some food to one side of your plate if you feel you are full. On the other hand, you should not clean your plate, as if you have had nothing since ages.
- It is polite for the gentleman to stand up whenever a lady joins or leaves the table. It is also a part of the etiquette to show the lady to the washroom or to the door if the lady wishes so.
- Make sure that you thank the host and the hostess for the food offered and their hospitality, before you leave. It is also good dining table etiquette to send a personal thank you note to the host and the hostess shortly after the meal is over.
- Dinner parties are not just about enjoying food, they are also an opportunity to get sociable. Don’t forget to strike gentle and polite conversation with those sitting around you. This will show that you are a social person.
- A common etiquette faux pas that most guests commit is that they start eating before the host signals for the same. Do not start eating before the host or the hostess signals the guests to do.
- The forks should not be turned over until it is for eating peas, corns, rice or other similar foods. The fork should be transferred from the left to the right hand when eating these kinds of foods.
- It is not considered to be a good dining etiquette to dip a crust of bread in the soup bowl or to mop up sauce from the plate.
- Slurping or any other loud noises while eating, such as burping is considered to be impolite on the part of the guest. One should even not talk with their mouth full. The sight is not only unpleasant to the view, but can also lead to choking.
- It is definitely not a good etiquette to stretch across the table, crossing other guests to reach for food, wine or condiments. It is better to ask a guest sitting close to the dish to pass on the item, or wait till the item is offered to you.
- Diplomacy also is the part of dining etiquette. Be diplomatic when it comes to the choice of food and the wine. If you find it difficult to compliment the arrangements and the food, be silent and do not criticize.
- Nothing can be more unattractive than licking fingers, while eating and picking teeth. This is very unpleasing to the eyes and is definitely against dining etiquettes.
- Drinking too much of wine can get embarrassing. It is acceptable and understandable that a guest will not be able to finish each glass, when different wine is served with each course.