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Table Manners and Etiquette for a Sophisticated Dining Experience

Sujata Iyer Nov 3, 2018
Here are some tips about basic table manners and etiquette that will help you get through any formal dinner or party.
Do you get nervous at formal dinner parties wondering when to eat what and how? Do you fumble when you have to pass a food item to a person sitting at the opposite end of the table? Don't worry! Read this and notice the difference in yourself!
So, you've been invited to a dinner party at one of your colleague's homes. Nothing to fret over. Just follow these simple table manners and you'll breeze your way through the evening!

Before the Meal

These are some very common sense points that you should remember before the actual dinner or party.

Confirm Arrival

Your hostess will definitely want to know, for sure, if you'll be attending the party or not. So it's good manners to inform her beforehand whether you'll be going. Once you say you're going, make sure you do.
If you don't turn up, it'll create a bad impression of you in front of all your colleagues, not to mention the hard feelings with the hostess. In case of an emergency, make it a point to politely let the hostess know that you'll have to decline.


Once you're at the venue, these simple pointers will help you through the evening.

Arrive on Time

'Making an entrance' is alright if you're a rock star. It is not acceptable behavior to arrive late when invited to someone's home.
There are people waiting for you and they might get disgruntled if you keep them from their meals. In case you're going to be delayed for some reason, inform the hostess about it so that she can make the necessary amendments to the plan.


Most people do carry a small gift for the hostess. Wine, flowers, chocolates are some of the most common dinner party gifts.
If you wish to take them it's fine, but do not get upset if your flowers are not put in a vase immediately or your wine/chocolates are not served at the party. Hence, it is safer to take something the hostess can use later on. A gift basket with assorted goodies is one of the safest bets.

At the Table

Now for the main part. Just read these simple dos and don'ts for an 'uneventful' dinner!


  • Be seated after the hostess is seated.
  • Maintain a good posture.
  • Unfold the napkin and place it on your lap.
  • Make sure your cell phone is on the silent and/or vibrate mode. Answering phone calls during a meal is impolite.
  • If wine is being served but you don't want, politely decline by placing your hand over the glass when it's your turn to be served.
  • Thank the person serving you after every serving.
  • Wait until everyone at the table is served, only then begin to eat.
  • Cut only as much food as you will be putting in your mouth.
  • Put small portions of food in your mouth and close your mouth while chewing.
  • Eat slowly. It's a dinner party, not an eating competition.
  • When asked to pass a food item, pick it up and place it on the table to your side. Stretching over to pass food is rude.


  • Sit in a slouched position.
  • Speak loudly at the table.
  • Shout out if you don't want something to be served..
  • Be rude to the person serving you.
  • Begin eating as soon as your food is served.
  • Eat your food so fast that it may seem that you have never laid eyes on food before.
  • Make loud eating noises and chew with your mouth open.
  • Blow your nose or burp at the table.
  • Loudly announce that you need to go to the bathroom. Just say a polite "Excuse me".
  • Smoke at the table.
  • Play with the silverware or the food.


Thank the Hostess

After eating, make it a point to thank the hostess for the lovely meal. She probably spent the entire day preparing for it, and complimenting her will make her smile.

Leave at the Appropriate Time

Generally, after a meal is over, coffee is served. This also signifies that the dinner has come to an end and that the guests may feel free to leave.
Take it as your cue and leave when you think it's appropriate. Don't linger too long, unless you're sure the hostess won't mind.
Now, what do you think? Isn't it all so easy to learn and understand? Most of them are just good sense so you're probably halfway there already. So go ahead and have a wonderful and well-mannered dinner!