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Ultimate Guide to Classy Dinner Party Etiquette
‘Tis the season of dinner parties and family get togethers, cocktail hours and festive nights out. With the busyness of the season and stress from holiday shopping and travel plans, how to properly behave at a get together is probably not on the forefront of your brain. But, there’s no need to worry if you’re concerned about that classy affair you may have coming up, or if you just want to impress your family or friends this Christmas. As a cotillion alumna and a debutante of National Charity League, I’ve had my fair share of learning proper manners for the fanciest of occasions. Below is a collection of some etiquette tips that I’ve learned throughout my cotillion years. #1 You may begin eating if there are more than 8 people at the table. Contrary to the popular belief that you must wait for everyone to get their food before you can start eating, if you are dining with a party of 8 or more you are allowed to start your meal. Why, you ask? Because wait staff normally cannot bring more than 8 plates simultaneously. So, to avoid eating cold food, apply this rule next time! #2 Set your fork and knife parallel on your plate to signal you are finished eating. This one is self explanatory. There’s much talk about how to signal you are done eating. Rather than placing your dirty napkin atop your plate, set your fork and knife parallel to each other to let the wait staff, and/or others, know that you are finished with your meal. No crossing of your utensils, no napkin on the table. #3 There’s no such thing as Fashionably Early. Although you may think that it is considerate to arrive to the party early, it’s not. Arriving before the specified time is not appropriate. It takes time away from the host, and can cause extra stress. The person throwing party suggests a start time for a reason, so by showing up before that time, you are essentially ignoring the invitation. When arriving to a dinner party, arrive within 10 minutes of the start time. For cocktail parties, arriving a little later is okay! #4 Refrain from arriving empty handed. Don’t be that person who shows up empty handed. Regardless of whether or not you think it is necessary, bringing along a small host or hostess gift (whether it be an arrangement of flowers, bottle