Just in Time for the Holidays…some Etiquette Tips!

It’s September so that must mean the social season has started!! Already this week I have gotten 5 invitations to events coming up this fall. So I thought I would go over some protocol and remind us all that manners do count and matter!!
Always, always RSVP by the date you are to respond by…never put “regrets only” on a invitation. When addressing an invite to a couple you never separate a mans name from his surname so your invite should always read: Susan and Greg Spindler NOT Greg and Susan Spindler, Mr. and Mrs. Greg Spindler is more formal. If it is for a birthday, wedding etc. putting on the invitation “No Gifts” is presuming they are bringing a gift and on an invitation this is unacceptable. The inclusion of “no children” or “adults only” should never be printed on an invitation. The way the invite is addressed indicates exactly who is and who is not invited.
So now we are at our dinner party…some do’s and don’ts for the dining table.

A – Serviette (Napkin)
B – Service Plate
C – Soup Bowl on Plate
D – Bread and Butter Plate with Butter Knife
E – Water Glass
F – White Wine
G – Red Wine
H – Fish Fork
I – Dinner Fork
J – Salad Fork
K – Service Knife
L – Fish Knife
M – Soup Spoon
N – Dessert Spoon and Cake Fork

Note: It is often recommended that the salad fork (J) is placed to the left of the dinner fork (I). However, in this formal setting the dinner fork is placed before the salad fork because it is suggested that the guest waits for the main meal before helping him/herself to the salad.

Never arrive at your host and hostess’ home earlier than invited or empty-handed. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gift but something to show your appreciation for all they have done to prepare for this dinner or party. Do not bring cut flowers as the hostess will be busy getting other things done and she doesn’t need the last minute duty of floral arranging. Send flowers the day before or the day after they will be much more appreciated then.

Once you are all sitting at the dining table you wait for the host to begin to unfold their napkin and then that indicate for all to follow. The napkin should be on the left side of the place setting…never sticking out of a wine glass!!! If you have to get up through the dinner place your napkin on your chair never toss it on the table, use it as a bib or blow your nose….ugh so gross but I’ve seen it done in restaurants. Once you pick up your fork it should never touch the table again. Always have it on the plate when not using it. If a soup course is on the menu always skim away from yourself with your spoon. No slurping or drinking from the bowl. No putting lipstick or touching up make-up while at the table leave that for the restroom.

A handwritten thank you note should be sent within 3 days, it only has to be a few sentences but take the time it is always lovely to get a note in the mail instead of an e-mail.

This is an endless subject but these are just a few quick tips. If you have any questions or would like to hear more tips just go to the end of this blog and click on comments and I will be happy to answer any questions.

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman’s newest book The Party Planner is an expert organizing guide for entertaining and can help in your planning of your next party. You can get it at www.amazon.com or e-mail me and I have some in stock.

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