How to Boost Your Dining Etiquette

It’s not generally something you do every day. But if you’re heading out to a fancy dinner with your spouse, fiance or significant other, you’ll want to quickly master the rules of dining etiquette.

Now, instead of looking like you don’t belong, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your guest  –  not worry about whether you’re using the right fork or glass.

Ready for your dining etiquette lesson? Here are the most important points you should know.

  • Dress the part. Don’t dress too casually. Men, wear a jacket or a suit  –  maybe even a tie. Women, ditch the yoga pants in favor of a nice dress. Make it fancy if you’re celebrating an anniversary or special occasion.
  • Stay focused. Don’t put items on the table that will distract you, like your cellphone or purse. Put these things away and stay focused on your guest(s).
  • Guests go first. When it comes time to order, if you’ve made the dinner plans, let your guest order first.
  • Prearrange payment. You’ll really impress your significant other if you arrange for payment ahead of time. If you’re hosting a group of people at a fancy dinner, you should definitely make payment arrangements ahead of time. Or, when the check arrives at the table, be quick to take the check.
  • Avoid talking price. When the sommelier is suggesting wines, don’t offer a price range with which you’re comfortable. Instead, point to a wine on the list that you’re comfortable with, and let her know what you’re having for dinner  –  that’s enough to give the sommelier an idea of where you’re at. And don’t pretend you know what you’re doing if you don’t  –  you’ll just look foolish in front of your guests.
  • Never send wine back. Once you taste the wine, accept it and the waiter opens the wine, you generally have to keep it. On the other hand, if the wine turns out to be really awful, the restaurant will usually work with you.
  • Napkin protocol. You’ll need to know what to do with your napkin. Watch your host. When he places the napkin on his lap, so should you  –  right before you begin eating. If you’re the host, you should know that your guests will follow your lead. If you need to visit the restroom, place your napkin on your seat. Once you’re done eating, place the napkin beside your plate, on the left side.
  • Getting your waiter’s attention. Never yell for the waiter. Instead, wait to make eye contact, or signal the waiter with a raised finger.
  • Sending back food. If your food isn’t properly cooked, it’s perfectly acceptable to send it back. However, be sure to tell others at the table they can go ahead and start eating.
  • Work from the outside-in  –  with utensils and glasses. If you’re having multiple courses, the salad fork will be on the outside. Then, when you’re done with that plate, leave the fork on the plate. Use the next fork in line for the next dish, and so on. Also, your waiter will know you’re done with the course if you put your fork and knife on the plate at the 10:20 position. The water glass is usually on the far left, with the red wine glass in the middle and the white wine glass on the far right.

Don’t be stressed about dining etiquette. Understanding a few rules of a fancy, romantic dinner will help you get through the meal with ease  –  and let you focus on what really matters: Spending time with your guests or loved one.

Contact The HideAway Country Inn’s 1938 Restaurant and Pub to experience casual but elegant dining. You can reserve a table in our main dining room or a candlelight dinner for two in our private dining room. Just give us a call!

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