“The Pride of any host is her dinner table” – Kumari Govender
I really hope that you enjoy this two part feature on “How to host a fabulous Dinner Party”. It is a part of my Dinner Party workshop and includes basic table etiquette, social graces and fabulous tips that will help you host a formal dinner in style and with ease.
The first thing that you need to finalise is the menu. Have your Reference Party Book handy so you won’t serve the same meal to the same guests twice and to see who hasn’t been invited to dinner for a while. After the menu is set and the guests chosen, you can decide on the service style and the wine.
Who is going to serve coffee and after dinner drinks is something to also plan now. Some people have coffee at the table and other serve it in the living room. If its a casual or small dinner the lady of the house may do the serving.
Somewhere in the kitchen have a spare cover set up so you can replace any thing that might get knocked to the floor in the dining room. Have a bottle of club soda and some towels ready for spills. Another facet of the meal is the number of courses that you are going to have. The classic French meal is 13 courses but today three or four is the norm. The more courses that you have the smaller the portion of food goes on the plate and less wine in the glass.
The white card above the placemat is a place card, which tells who sits where. Many times the cutlery follows the shape of the table.
It might take a professional Butler about 15 minutes per place setting to create a dinner table that lives up to his standards. So setting a table will keep you busy.
Every place setting should be exactly the same.. You might chose to use placemats and no tablecloth, to avoid covering up a beautiful table.
NEVER FORGET… You are not “just” setting the table … You are also setting the mood!
• A. Napkin
• B. Service plate
• C. Soup bowl
• D. Bread and Butter Plate with butter knife.
• E. Water glass
• F. Wine glass
• G. Wine glass
• H. Salad Fork
• I. Dinner Fork
• J. Dessert Fork
• K. Knife
• L. Teaspoon
• M. Soup Spoon
Pull the chairs away so go can walk around the table freely.
Align the needed chairs so they are spaced evenly down the side of the table.
Now sight the chairs that are across the table from each other.
Use last step from above. Center the place mat on it’s chair.
The edge of the mat should be 1/2 inch from the table’s edge. If you have the large mats the flatware goes on the mat. If you have the small English type the flatware goes on the table.
All done, you’re half way there. The second part to this feature will follow shortly. In the meantime, please feel free to share your thoughts on Dinner Parties and Dining Etiquette. If you would like to attend one of my Etiquette Workshops please contact me directly
Photo credits: StyleSociety, FotoNuova Photography Studio