Have you ever attended a formal dinner party or eaten at a fancy restaurant? If so, you likely noticed that the etiquette is vastly different than if you were watching the Superbowl with your buddies. In fact, you may be invited to a formal holiday dinner out or gathering this holiday season! No matter the location, there are plenty of the do’s and don’ts of dining etiquette!
Proper dining etiquette for Dad
- Wait until everyone is seated before eating.
- Use the same utensils that others are using if you are unsure as to which utensil is “proper”. For example, if you’re unsure which fork to use, look around and see which one others are using. Generally, the salad fork is the smaller of the two.
- Bring your fork or spoon up to your mouth to eat, sitting up straight
- Don’t forget to use your manners! “Please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome” go a long way!
- Bring a small gift or dish to pass when attending another person’s home
- Dress appropriately for the occasion, location, and crowd. Under dressing can be disrespectful to the host
- Feel free to go back for second helpings if there is enough to go around as it is a positive sign to the chef or host
- Be sure to keep yourself and any area you have made a mess in, clean. It is also considerate to help clean up messes that you may not have made
- Do not chew with your mouth open
- Do not speak with food in your mouth
- Do not lean over your plate to eat
- Do not drink from your soup bowl
- Do not show up late to a planned gathering
- Do not show up to a planned gathering too early, 10 minutes or less is the key!
- Do not “double-dip” during shared appetizers and do not take above average portions during dinner.
- Do not leave without saying “goodbye”, especially to the host and remember to thank them for hosting you!
Proper dining etiquette for mom
Several of the dining etiquette tips for dad are also appropriate for mom. In fact, it is my opinion that each of the do’s and don’ts listed above for dad are followed by everyone in the family. However, there are some that are more appropriate for women.
- Make sure your cell phone is on “silent” or turned off at the dinner table
- Unfold your dinner napkin and place it in your lap while eating. If you have to wipe your mouth be sure to put your fork down and carefully blot your face, careful not to smudge your lipstick
- Ask for someone to pass you an item that is not near you rather than reach, lean or get up and get it yourself
- Do not put your elbows on the table
- Do not slouch
- Do not eat with your fingers unless it is bread (finger foods are for appetizers or less formal meals and should not be ordered or brought to a formal dinner party)
Proper dining etiquette for kids
These tips are to help keep them mannerly but to also help prepare them for the future! Many of the tips listed above should be applied to the children as well but in a more kid-friendly fashion.
- Place your napkin in your lap
- Sit up straight
- Chew with your mouth closed
- Keep your voice at “indoor voice” level and wait for others to stop making before speaking
- Do not arrive at a restaurant or party (or dinner table) with dirty hands or face
- Do not eat until everyone else is
- Do not fuss or play at the table
- Do not spit out food that doesn’t taste good