Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

The Basics of Good Hosting -- Formal Dinner Parties

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sparksals:
Out dogs are part of the family.  Just like children, they do not get locked in a room.

AuntieA:
Resurrecting this to add:

If you are doing the serving, remember to serve the ladies before the gentlemen (but the GOH, if there is one, is served first of all, regardless of gender)

You serve from the left, clear plates from the right.

I've been at many semi-formal dinners at my mother's, and a couple of formal lunches/dinners for the presenting of awards/medals.

Library Dragon:
Let me resurrect this to beg and plead the host/hostess not seat spouses/BG-GF/partners next to each other.  You may need some smiles and "How fun this will be" comments.  It's a dinner party, not a date.

My grand-dog means the world the world means the world to me, but my guest with with a pathological fear of dogs will take priority at my dinner party.  I invited the guest and have an obligation to the guest.

gellchom:

--- Quote from: AuntieA on December 16, 2012, 01:26:44 AM ---Resurrecting this to add:

If you are doing the serving, remember to serve the ladies before the gentlemen (but the GOH, if there is one, is served first of all, regardless of gender)

You serve from the left, clear plates from the right.

I've been at many semi-formal dinners at my mother's, and a couple of formal lunches/dinners for the presenting of awards/medals.

--- End quote ---

I don't like the "ladies first" service.  It is supposedly showing deference to the ladies; but all it means is that the women's food gets cold. 

I know this thread is about private dinner parties, but I believe I learned somewhere that at a more institutional setting, one can begin eating after some proportion of the table has been served -- or perhaps it was the people on both your right and left?  Something like that.  Anyway, that way no one's food has to get cold while waiting for a very large table to be served.  Doing ladies first, when the women are presumably fairly randomly distributed even if not every other, defeats that.

For a dinner party at home, we always serve family style (guests serve themselves and pass the serving dishes) anyway, not plated meals, so that pretty much obviates the whole problem.  It also lets guests discreetly avoid or take only a token amount of any dishes they don't want, choose the chicken part or portion size they prefer, and so forth.

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