Continuing the Hadley Court series, Celebrating Gracious Living, it’s important to discuss manners at the dinner table. Leslie Wood of Hadley Court asked guest contributor Lynda Quintero-Davids to share her top tips and gentle reminders for manners & etiquette at the dinner table.
Over the years, society has evolved our forms of communication in many ways. Today, we ask Siri for directions to a florist, we email invitations to a dinner party, we text an RSVP, we hashtag a thank you on Twitter or Facebook and we share images of a private affair on Instagram.
Within all of this swift movement forward towards quicker and efficient communication, we do seem to however be losing our humanistic values. Communication skills for gracious living.
Communication skills are taught to us as a child and are the core of manners & etiquette. For instance, from an invitation to a thank you and primarily at the dinner table.
We used to see candlelight on smiling faces gazing into each other’s eyes. Now we see faces hanging down. Similarly, faces looking into a cold blue-based light glow. No one speaking to one another at the table.
Being polite, having manners and knowing etiquette are all key elements to living graciously. This applies whether at your Mother-in-laws for Easter dinner. Out with colleagues at a restaurant. Similarly, if you are a guest at a wedding. In addition, if you are hosting your own dinner party,
If you are hosting a dinner party, set the tone off right by sending handwritten personal invitations en lieu of an e-vite.
After that send the invitations. Once your RSVP’s are complete (via a telephone call or a handwritten response), here are ten table manner reminders to graciously apply to your next social gathering…
Before the Meal
Manners at the Dinner Table 1: Wait for the host to invite you to the table, sit at your designed place setting, and gentleman: pull out the chair for the lady. When he does, politely smile and graciously say thank you. Wait for everyone to be seated before you start to eat. Pay attention to your host as your guide.
During the Meal Manners at the Dinner Table
Manners at the Dinner Table 2: Disconnect from social media and be social and in the moment.
Do not pull out your cell phone to tweet, photograph, and do no even place the phone on the table. Be in the now & focus on the moment. Smile and enjoy each other’s company.
Manners at the Dinner Table 3: Remember proper posture: Sit up straight. Place your napkin on your lap. No elbows on the table during the meal. In addition, be sure to keep your elbows close to your body when cutting and eating.
Whilst Eating and Drinking
Manners at the Dinner Table 4: When sipping your wine, it’s best to hold the glass from the stem. This will also help to preserve the correct temperature of the wine. In addition, this will keep fingerprints to a minimum on the glass.
Manners at the Dinner Table 5: Always only use your utensils and the appropriate cutlery. If you are at a formal dinner place setting, this means there will be more than one course. Start from the outside and work your way in. If you still need a reminder or have any doubts, observe your host.
Encourage and teach youngsters the art of etiquette.
Manners at the Dinner Table 6: Remember these four food basics we were taught as a child: 1. Chew with your mouth closed. 2. Don’t play with food on your plate 3. Eat your vegetables. 4. Be sure also to swallow your food before you speak.
Manners at the Dinner Table 7: When you need something, politely ask, “Can you please pass the …” Never reach across, especially in front of someone. Gracefully use your inside voice when speaking when at the dinner table.
After the Meal
Manners at the Dinner Table 8: At the end of the meal, if you need to powder your nose or put on lipstick: Excuse yourself before getting up. Place your napkin next to your plate on the table when you need to leave, then stand up, and push your chair back in. Never put on make-up at the dinner table.
Manners at the Dinner Table 9: Show your appreciation by always saying please and thank you. In addition, say thank you to the waiter in a restaurant or at a catered affair.
Manners at the Dinner Table 10: Be grateful for the meal. Follow up afterward with a handwritten note of thanks.
Additional table manner information to consider
If you were invited to a dinner party: RSVP in a timely manner. For instance RSVP with either a phone call or promptly returning the RSVP within the invitation. After the dinner engagement, send a handwritten gracious note of thanks to your dinner host/hostess.
Take the time to dress properly for the occasion you’re attending – usually noted on the invitation. (ie: casual outdoor gathering vs. a formal dinner).
Engaging in polite conversation at dinner also includes eye contact. Therefore, maintain eye contact with whom you are speaking to. In addition, listen. Do not dominate the conversation.
Following table manners or manners at the dinner table is more than knowing which fork to use. In addition, it’s more than knowing how to cut up your steak properly without looking awkward. Having gracious table manners is also about having a polite attitude.
Therefore you can slip up in the silverware department. Above all, you can make up for it by being polite and graceful in your conversation. This is essential to any well-mannered guest.
Here are two excellent reference guides on Manners at the Dinner Table to add to your library:
For more manners and etiquette tips, plus inspirations for entertaining and celebrating gracious living, join Hadley Court on Pinterest here. Leslie hopes with these gracious manners in mind, you’ll be ready to attend your next dinner party, in gracious Hadley Court style.