Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

The Basics of Good Hosting -- Formal Dinner Parties

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--- Quote from: camlan on January 05, 2010, 11:28:31 AM ---A truly formal dinner table will have place cards, or the host will tell people where to sit as they approach the table. The seating will have been planned so as to place an outgoing, talkative person next to a shy person who needs drawing out, and to prevent two people who always argue politics whenever they meet from sitting next to each other. The old standard used to be male|female|male|female, but I think that requirement is dying away. Used to give hostesses nightmares, though, coming up with equal numbers of male and female guests.

--- End quote ---

The formal standard seating arrangement also requires that social units not be seated next to each other.  Miss Manners' reason is that they tell the same jokes and stories differently; I think it also helps by requiring them to keep their domestic disagreements private and to refrain from talking exclusively to each other or engaging in scrabble at the table if they are not seated together.

Ah, the sideboard!  Now I know why I always wanted one.

Social units separated is also an excellent point. 

To add to 13:  Cell phones and electronic devices should not be answered or used during dinner.  One should either not be "on call" or should leave the table to take emergency calls.

Yes, yes, yes!


19.  Do not hold dinner for more than 15 minutes for a latecomer.  Latecomers will begin with the course being served upon their arrival so as not to disrupt the meal and the flow of the occasion.

Any variations on this rule when the latecomer is/are the guest(s) of honor, or somehow significant to "the flow of the occasion"? This happened to me recently with a function I was involved in hosting in connection with my job. It was a dinner to introduce some international visitors to some members of our community - and said visitors showed up an hour after our specified start time. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, because we were at a restaurant where they put out hors d'oeuvres before serving dinner. I was actually pretty full by the time they served the main course. On the other hand, some people from local political offices were on tight schedules and had to leave early.

Is that not really the kind of function we're talking about here?

20.  Direct the coversation toward topics of general interest.  Now is not the time for the three most controversial subjects (politics, religion, money).
21.  Enjoy yourself!

*Is classical or chamber music mandatory or is jazz acceptable?


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