With the holiday season going on in full swing, it is time to host a lovely dinner party and call upon your friends, family members, or acquaintances. Organizing a dinner party is an art unto itself, more so, if it is a formal party. As you gear up to plan a dinner party, here are a few pointers on Dinner Party Etiquette that will make you an excellent host. This guide to dinner party etiquette will help you have a great time with other guests without worrying about offending anyone. Take help from Ellementry to easily get the stuff that is missing at your place.
If you are planning to host an elaborate formal party, it is essential to start planning and focus on making the party a great success. Right from planning a good menu, preparing the guest list, to firming up seating arrangements, you have a lot of details to take care of. Start paying attention to ensure seating and dining areas and any other area that your guests may visit is thoroughly cleaned. Get upholstery cleaned, furniture polished, and vases shining brightly.
Create a Perfect Ambience
A formal dinner party is usually an exquisite affair with a beautifully done dinner table, well-appointed seating area, light music in the background, fresh flowers in the vase, subtle lighting and more. All these things easily available at Ellementry help the party host to create a perfectly comfortable ambience for the guests so that they feel at ease and initiate conversations with other guests with confidence.
Serving Drinks and Appetizers
Usually, drinks and finger foods are served while the guests are deep in conversation at the informal seating area. Drinks are served from the right and platters of finger foods are served and rotated among guests. Keep a toothpick or a fork to pick up finger foods and places napkin holders on the table.
Get Your Guests Seated
Announce dinner as soon as the table is laid, and the guests have finished their welcome drinks and snacks. Women usually sit to the right. Start the meal as soon as the guests are seated so that they can follow you. If you wish to raise a toast to mark a special occasion or to honour someone, this is the time to do it.
Focus on the Table Arrangement
If you are planning to host a multiple course dinner, you will have to focus on getting an elegant table setting. It will have sparkling crystal, translucent porcelains, pristine linens, and gleaming silver. You can serve the finest wines and seasonal delicacies to your guests.
Begin with the First Course
If drinks and finger food round is already over in the seating area, the majordomo or the server must start serving soup. You can place a bread basket with several accompaniments on the table. The soup is served in deep bowls on a plate with a doily paper.
Once the first course is complete, the server will wait for the other guests to finish and then remove the bowl and plate along with the soup spoon. The well-trained staff ensures the serving and removal of dishes is as noiseless and not as distracting as possible. Excellent service is unobtrusive and quiet.
Move on to the Main Course
Next, the staff should be ready to serve the main course. Since all guests will be starting together, it is often a challenge to serve food with perfect temperature control. Still, a team of well-trained staff can pull it off efficiently. They can work in teams and ensure each guest is served within a couple of seconds from each other. Staff must ensure that his fingers do not touch the food he is serving. He must use a freshly laundered linen napkin to catch any spillover.
Serving of food– Food is served from the right of the host. The server moves from left to right, serving the guest from his left. Similarly, when it comes to removing the plate, each plate is removed one at a time using the left hand. Food platters are lying on the table, and the guests can take a serving themselves, or the staff can serve them using two large serving spoon and a fork. This is easier, convenient, and avoid any spillage.
Serving of Beverages-Beverages are served from the right, clockwise. If stemware is being used, it is picked up delicately, refilled from the right and placed back on the table without touching the rim of the glass. When removing the glass, it is done from the right using the right hand. Servers must strictly avoid serving a guest by reaching across the table. After refilling wine glass or water glass, it is placed in front of the guest as the server moves ahead to refill other glasses. He must carry a linen napkin to catch spills. Many formal dinners have crystal pitchers filled with water placed equidistant on the table for the guests to serve themselves through the meal. If it is an informal dinner, wine bottles may also be placed on the tables.
Removing plates for the next course
All utensils and plates on the table should be removed one by one to get the table ready for the next course. To begin with, silverware, trays, platters, and carafes are removed from the table. Next, breadbasket and plates are removed. The server removes one plate at a time using his left hand. He then transfers the plate to his right hand and keeps the other hand free to remove the plate of the next guest. Informal dinner parties, plates are served and cleared one at a time.
Now is the time for Dessert
After removing all trays, dinner plates used utensils, and platters, dessert is served. The word Dessert has originated from the French word desservoir that means clearing the table. Thus, everything from the main course is cleared before serving dessert. Empty glasses are refilled, and champagne is poured for dessert toast and coffee is offered. The host must start this course after all guests have been served their dessert.
When serving desserts, two plates of dessert can be served at a time to expedite this course. Ladies are served first unless you have a guest of honour. It is just a way to show courtesy to them. When the number of guests is more, this practice can be avoided because to follow this protocol. The server must circle the table several times. If serving glazed fruits or chocolates, use compotes to serve them nicely. It is placed on the table and looks like an integral part of the table décor. Guests can take multiple servings as per their choice.
Since multi-course meals last for a couple of hours, guests can stand up, refresh, regroup and enjoy brandy, liqueurs, and demitasse in another room. This gives the guests a chance to stretch and relax a little. After half an hour of serving these drinks, a carafe of water and plumbers are placed on the table. You can bid goodnight to your guests in the drawing-room. The guests then pick up their coats or take the help of the butlers to wear their wraps and bids them good night.
Keeping these etiquettes for a formal dinner party in mind will help you become one of the coolest and preferred hosts. Try and check out ellementry.com to get some more cool ideas.