Guide To Dining Etiquette: 10 Tips

If you’ve recently been invited to a dinner party, or even if you’re thinking about hosting one yourself, you’re probably a little bit concerned about dining etiquette and how to make sure you avoid social embarrassment.

After all, you don’t want to be remembered as the guest who used a napkin incorrectly!

The semi-scary news is that your friends were right: there is a long list of dining etiquette, and getting it wrong can lump you as the nervy outcast who no one will invite EVER again.

The good news is that we at Beauty & Tips love you so much that we’ve created a guide of top 10 tips to dining etiquette. Let’s tuck in.

Be On Time

Remember the rule, “arrive late to a party and leave early”? That worked back in high school when punctuality was a sign of being a square.

But you’re not in high school anymore and rules are not meant to be broken when it comes to dining etiquette.

So rather than turning up at midnight with half a bottle of wine, before going on a boozy rampage and leaving half an hour later in your boyfriend’s Cadillac, you need to be punctual. Try to turn up on time, and never be more than ten minutes late.

Use Your Napkin Correctly

Ah, the napkin. Whenever you ask folk about dining etiquette, they invariably focus on the napkin. It’s all about the napkin, you see.

Your napkin is not something to make paper aeroplanes with, and it’s not even used to wipe your mouth. No, your napkin is there so that you can dab your mouth. When you first sit down, unfold it and place it on your knees. Never tuck it into your shirt/dress or leave it on the table. Even when you leave the table for the toilet, don’t plonk it on the table; instead, place it on your seat.

Wine Glasses

Perhaps you didn’t realise it, but there are number of different wine glasses and they are used for different variations of wine. Usually, at a dinner party, there is a red wine glass, a white wine glass, a champagne flute and a port glass. It is important that you pour the correct drink into the correct glass.

When it comes to toasting, you should never raise a glass to yourself. When toasting with others, make sure not to clink glasses. This is a common error. Instead, you should tip your glass in their direction. If you want to raise a toast, refrain from tapping the side of your glass with your knife, fork or spoon. Instead, clear your throat.


At most dinner parties, there will be a seating plan. You will find this either at the door of the dining room, or in the form of cards on the table. If there isn’t a seating plan, wait until the host or hostess shows you to your seat.

You should never presume that you can sit anywhere. This is rude and will cause an inconvenience when you are asked to move. Moreover, it will cause embarrassment to you, your fellow guests, and the hostess.

Body Position

The way you sit down at a table is super important. Once you have taken your seat, you should plant your feet on the floor in front of you. Do not leave them dangling in mid-air. This can cause you to tap your feet on the floor, often unconsciously.

Never cross your legs; keep them straight. Refrain from leaning back on your chair, but instead sit up straight with your elbows by your side. Do not put your elbows on the table at any point, even if it would be more comfortable. When eating, always bring the food to your mouth and never lean over your plate.


It’s important that you refrain from eating until everyone has been served their food. It doesn’t matter if you have been served, nor does it matter how hungry you are; you must wait! You can only begin eating before others if it’s a large party and the hostess has indicated that you can start.

If you start to eat something you know is disagreeable and which you cannot swallow, excuse yourself from the table. Never spit out food at the table. If you want to remove pips or stones from your mouth, you can do this with your thumb and place them on your plate. You can remove bones with your fingers.

Don’t Ask The Waiter For A Hundred Explanations

Ever been to a restaurant with your parents and witnessed your dad ask the waiter to explain everything on the menu? It happens, and it’s pretty freaking irksome. It slows everything down, and you can sense everyone at the table getting annoyed.

It’s imperative that you don’t do this at a dinner party. The waiters are busy people, and they are there to serve you and everyone else their food and drink. If you must, you can ask them to explain one thing.

Eat Foods That Are Easy To Eat

Basically, you don’t want to be slurping on a long piece of spaghetti or chewing on a piece of beef brisket for two hours.

To keep up with dining etiquette, and to make a good impression on your fellow diners, you should choose food that you know is easy to eat. This includes chicken, salads, fish and soup. If there is something on the menu that you sense is going to give you a hard time, it’s better to just ignore it altogether.

Don’t Eat And Talk

Talking happens at dinner parties. Everyone knows this. To make sure that you aren’t sat in silence throughout the food courses, cut your food into tiny pieces so that you can swallow quickly and join in the conversation. Don’t eat and talk at the same time, and always keep your mouth closed when chewing.

Be Polite

At a dinner party, you can never say please, thank you and excuse me enough. Use them regularly and don’t be afraid to be liberal. It’s warranted.

Stay happy!

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