five rules of etiquette you may not know

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Here at Little Blue Deer, we are all about manners!  Living in south Florida, I cannot even begin to tell you the stuff I see every day, so it’s made me even more conservative in my ways.  We all know the basics:  don’t chew with your mouth open, don’t reach over someone to pass something, but I thought I would share a few other, less well-known guidelines that will help you out at a formal event or business dinner.

  1.  Speak to the guest on your left first, then the guest on your right when seated at a dinner party.  Sometimes this is done in tandem with courses as well, eg. during first course speak to guest on left, then shift to guest on right during second course.  And no matter how unpleasant a guest may be, if you are seated next to them, you just have to talk to them!  Ignoring someone or dominating the conversation is a no-go!
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      1. Pass both the salt and pepper at the same time, even if a guest has only asked for one item.  Never leave the salt or pepper alone.
      2. Tear off a piece of bread, then butter only that piece.  This is the bread on your bread plate, btw, lol, don’t tear a piece off when the bread basket is passed!  Do not butter your whole slice of bread or roll at a time.  When the butter is passed, simply slice a piece of butter and place it on the edge of your plate, and use that pat to butter each bite.  Eat one bite at a time (duh!), then repeat the process.
      3. When you leave the table during dinner, place your napkin on your seat.  When you are finished eating (and everyone else is too!), loosely fold your napkin and place it to the left of your plate.  Another piece of napkin etiquette:  Wait to place the napkin in your lap until the hostess is seated, if there is one.  If there is no hostess, wait till several people are seated to place your napkin in your lap.  I generally wait for the oldest female guest to be seated before placing my napkin in my lap (or really before seating myself).
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      1. When you are done eating, place your knife and fork side by side on your plate.  They can lay either vertically (knife to right, just like at a table setting, blade facing in, fork tines up) or horizontally (at 10 and 4 o’clock, knife on top, blade facing in, fork tines facing up).  For the love of God don’t cross the silverware or place it back on the table!

I hope I don’t sound like an old biddy, but trust me, these things are important.  As I mentioned, most people know the basics and can get by at a dinner party, but it’s the smaller, less obvious things that, trust me, people notice.  My pet peeve is the bread buttering, it makes me nuts!  Isn’t it an awesome feeling to know that you can anywhere and will fit right in?  My in-laws are very old Savannah (and trust me, Savannah is a place where you don’t want to mess around when it comes to etiquette).  So I totally made it a point to brush up on my table manners and events were just a lot more pleasant because I wasn’t stressing about fitting in or doing something wrong.  Don’t worry, everyone will still love you if you only pass the salt, but it’s nice to know some of the lesser-known basics.  Now, go forth and have fun!!

Did I miss something?  Drop me a line below and let me know!

 


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