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Feature | Dinner Party Essentials for Any Occasion

Etiquette 101

Glean your table manners with these guidelines.
By Naquiah Malik
We’ve all attended a fancy shindig then felt rather alien due to its pretentious proportions. Social graces and polished manners are as rare as elegant women balancing books on perfectly coiffed hair. Vintage etiquette never grows old; in fact it amplifies one’s persona in the eye of the public. In a world where we shouldn’t care what people think of us, the only outlier in this equation just happens to be that fumbling chump in your seat wolfing that entrée and wondering why the mains’ portions are too little.


Eating solo in a restaurant might not be as unnerving as I squeezed a lemon wedge over the hors d'oeuvre with no remorse. As the juice poured down, the wedge shot out of my hand: destination unknown. Surely there must be some way to gracefully recover an airborne citrus without commanding attention.  It was this specific incident that made me investigate table manners; what more when a big family dinner looms near. I have come to conclude that the command of etiquette and a comfort with protocol breeds extreme self-confidence once fully excised.

As a Host

  • The guest of honour should sit in the best seat at the table. Usually that is one with the back of the chair to the wall; hence, a seating chart should be planned out.
  • Food is brought to each diner at the table; the server presents the platter or bowl on the diner's left.
  • To adjourn, signal that dinner is concluded and suggest that everyone go into another room for coffee and after-dinner drinks. Everyone else will follow suit once the hostess rises from her chair. 

Find out more of the remaining guidelines in the latest issue.