You already know the basics; no elbows on the table, no talking with food in your mouth, and no picking the green beans with your hands. Be it a business meeting, a meal at your in-laws, or dinner with the Queen, the finer details of dining etiquette reflect in the good books. Here is what to remember before, during and after that dinner.

  1. Before:

Food is the best part, but remember to thank the host for extending this invitation. Before heading over to your seat, wait for your host to guide you, either by taking you to your seat or by notifying you of your place card.

When seated, unfold the napkin and place it in your lap immediately. Napkin tucking may not be the most elegant of looks, but it’s considered acceptable when eating spaghetti or any other messy meal. If the napkin is large, unfold it halfway. Follow the host’s cue when ordering your meal, when confused about which cutlery to use, and when you’re anticipating when to begin eating.

  1. During:

The amount of cutlery bestowed before you may seem a bit much, but remember to start using it from the outside and working your way in as the courses progresses.

Your food will probably require cutting, so cut it into bite-size pieces to avoid the bulging of your cheek when chewing. Although seemingly normal, it’s impolite to blow on your food if it is too hot, so rather wait for it to cool before you start eating, and bring the food to your mouth instead of leaning down to fetch it. Make full use of your napkin by occasionally patting the corners of your mouth, instead of swiping (or scrubbing) across the lips to handle a mess.

  1. After:

Once you are done with your meal, place the knife and fork next to each other, with the fork’s teeth facing upwards and knife blade facing inwards. Keep your plate in front of you, and remembering not to push it away from you, loosely fold your napkin and put it next to the plate. Your plates and dishes are taken from your left. Should you need to be get up while others are eating, excuse yourself politely. Getting up without saying anything is considered rude.

Remember to thank the host when the meal ends, and not to ask for a doggy bag when at a formal dinner.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)

Remember your dining etiquette with these steps
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