Dinner parties are a great way to socialise and meet people – both new and old. And while you mingle your way from one soiree to another, it’s important to remember to be a gracious and pleasant guest. Here are some fundamental dinner party etiquettes that will see you through the evening:
RSVP: The first way to express courtesy is to respond to your formal invitation promptly. Let the host know whether you will be present or even mention in case you are going to be late. It’s just polite.
Dress Code: It is important for you to be dressed smartly at the dinner. A formal suit for men and dress for ladies is the general norm, unless specified. You don’t want to turn up all casually dressed and feel out of place.
Gift: It is impolite to go empty-handed to such an event. A bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, flowers or even an aromatic candle can go a long way. Just a little something to say thank you for the invite.
Uninvited company: Do not bring an unexpected guest along. Your host has likely set the table and cooked food for a fixed number of people. In case you have to, make sure you inform the host well in advance to avoid discomfort or embarrassment.
Offer help: You can propose to help by bringing a warm appetiser to take some load off the host. However, it is advisable to bring your dish in a slow cooker to keep it warm without cluttering the host’s kitchen. The kitchen would already be completely occupied and the last thing the host would want is more clutter or an addition to the list of things going into the oven.
Special diet: It is always in good taste to inform the host in advance about certain food allergies or dislikes. They can then prepare the meal accordingly. This is better than leaving food uneaten at the dinner table.
Be punctual: Don’t turn up late, if it’s unavoidable make sure you let the host know as soon as you do. A lot of hard work and planning goes into preparing for the perfect dinner party. Your bad timings can throw things off schedule and that may change the time of eating the meal. Make sure you arrive within ten minutes of the suggested time. If you are running late for the party, you should update your hostess and politely suggest commencing the dinner on time.
Basic Manners: If you have to sneeze at a formal table, you should simply say, “Excuse me”. Do not use your napkin to wipe your nose! Similarly, you should pardon yourself if you have to temporarily leave the table. If you need to be excused, put your napkin directly to the left of your dinner plate, not on your chair.
While eating: Sit in an attentive posture with both feet on the floor, not crossed. Do not play with your hair or with your silverware on the table. It is rude to pile excessive food on your plate if you are serving yourself. Take small bites, eat slowly and chew quietly. Do not attempt to talk with food in your mouth You should always hold your wine glass by the stem, not the rim, while also being careful not to leave fingerprints or lip-prints on glassware. If you do, discreetly remove them with your napkin. Pacing your meal is always a good idea as you do not want to continue eating long after others have stopped. Finally, once you are done eating do not push your plate away. Let your host or waiter clear the dishes for you.
Compliment the host: You must always praise the host in a subtle yet encouraging manner. Tell them the food is delicious and that the entire evening has been a pleasurable experience. The host has gone through a lot of trouble to throw a memorable event and will appreciate honest praise. A heartfelt “thank you” while leaving is a good practice. As an added gesture, you can also send a hand written note to say how much you enjoyed yourself.
Sadie works for Home Furniture Range who have a huge selection of contemporary dining table and chair sets, they’re so good it’s almost worth throwing a dinner party just to celebrate them.