It is fun to have a party at home, inviting all your friends and relatives. A party gives everyone a great opportunity to meet friends after a long time. In case you too are planning to throw such a party, your spirits must be surely on a roll. While a party is all about enjoying and meeting your friends, remember there are certain unsaid and unstated things like etiquettes and manners that go a long way in assuring the success of a party. Putting the right foot forward is quintessential for enjoying a party, more so being when the gathering is a formal dinner party. By following proper dinner table etiquette, one can win the heart of all the invitees and gain respect for the act of discipline. Remember, a person who is not aware of the dinner party etiquette might face embarrassment and would never be appreciated by the same set of friends again. However, this does not mean you have to follow every minute detail of the etiquette book, but there is no harm in knowing the basic and common rules. Given here is a list of some basic etiquette tips for dinner party, which when followed will surely save you from embarrassment.
Dinner Party Etiquette Tips
- There is a time gap of half an hour to an hour between the arrival of the guests and dinner. It might happen that one of your guests has not yet arrived. In such a situation, you can wait for that guest for about fifteen minutes but not more than that, as your other guests deserve to be fed on time. When the latecomer arrives, just invite him/her to join the dinner, serving the person same course that others are having.
- Be prepared to receive hostess gifts such as flowers, wine, chocolate and sweets. Receive the gifts graciously and thank your guests for the gift. Keep yourself prepared with a scissor and a vase in case you need to put the flowers in water. If your guest brings a wine bottle, it is completely your choice whether or not to serve it at dinner. If the drink blends well with what you are serving, then you can go ahead and offer the drink.
- Plan well in advance where you want your guests to sit at the dinner table. Make sure you give each of your guests a place to sit, and if possible, escort them to their place. Randomly asking people to sit can make them feel awkward. Make sure not to leave keys, purse or other such items on the table. Keep the table clear to have enough space for the food vessels.
- It might so happen that you have invited guests who do not know every one in the party. Plan ahead for an introduction as and when the guests arrive. This will make them comfortable and involved in the conversation. An introduction also leaves the guests with a conversational hook, giving you time to finish the arrangements, while the guests are busy talking.
- Place the dishes on the table and arrange the cutlery before calling your guest to the table. Often the host or hostess tells people to go ahead with the food.
- Wait for everyone to settle down and get served, before you start eating. It is bad manners to eat before the guests start their meal, even if you are famished or are starving to death.
- Try and pace your eating with others. Do not race to the finish line, before others are halfway through. Slow down and move with others. In case you are a slow eater, speed up a bit. Make sure you are not making everyone wait for you.
- Keep your elbows away from the table, while eating. Unfold your napkin and place it on your lap. Once you are done, place the napkin loosely on the table and not on the plate.
- Follow the rule for using the dishes as well. Usually, a person eats from his left and drinks from the right. Therefore, the bread plate should be on the left hand side, while the wine glass is placed on the right. The utensils to be used first should be kept outside in the arrangement, to avoid any clash or mess.
- All the dishes and utensils, including salt, pepper and butter should be cleared from the table after the meal is over. After having desserts, dishes can stay on the table. The formal dinner party usually ends with tea or coffee.