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Belle of the Ball: Date Etiquette

date night etiquette

If you’ve recently been asked by a gentlemen to accompany him on a date for the first time, you're probably feeling a little nervous.  That feeling is completely normal for first dates.  Out of all the social encounters, first dates are some of the most nerve wracking experiences, because everything is indefinite.  Before you accept an invitation for a date make sure it is with a gentleman with whom you are acquainted with.  If he is somebody you are meeting for the first time, make sure that there are people accompanying you on the date.  In order to alleviate some of your first date anxiety, it’s important to learn how to gracefully navigate through the date.  

A true belle of the ball can easily navigate through any situation with grace and finesse.  In preparation for your date, we’ve prepared a guideline for you to follow to ensure that you have the confidence to command respect…..


Pre Date Pampering  
In order to alleviate some of your pre-date jitters, take some time before the date to properly pamper yourself.  Taking the time to prepare and nurture yourself before the date can calm and ease your anxiety.  A great way to calm your nerves is to take a hot bath and listen to music that relaxes you.  Even if you can’t find the time for pampering or a relaxing bath, make sure to change out of your day clothes into an outfit that makes you feel confidant.   

Appropriate Attire
When choosing your dress keep in mind that your attire and the atmosphere should match. Consider whether this is a casual date or if it is a fancier occasion where you need to put a little more time into your wardrobe for the evening.  Remember, that your choice of dress communicates a lot about who you are and your personality.  Be mindful of this when planning your outfit for the date.  

Meeting Place
The ideal in the old days was for the gentleman to pick up his date and he would arrive a few minutes early, as punctuality was considered a favorable trait.  I believe this should still be true today.  However, if it isn’t possible for the man to pick you, then you should meet at the location on time.  This shows that you are ready for the date, you're dependable, and you care enough about being with him to make the effort to be punctual.  Also, if the man holds open the doors to allow you to walk in ahead of him, make sure to thank him for being courteous.

Table Etiquette
Seat yourself so that you are comfortable in your chair.  Avoid putting your arms on the table, leaning back lazily in your chair, or playing with your knife, fork, or spoon.  Slouching and putting your elbows on the table are considered rude.  Make sure to silence your mobile phone and  tuck it away for the entire duration of the date.  Peeking at your phone or receiving calls conveys boredom and disinterest in the other person.  

Charming Conversation 
Show genuine interest in your date.  You can ask them questions about what interests them.  Make sure to take the time to attentively listen to their answers.  It’s easy to try to fill pauses in conversation.  During the pauses take the time to relax.  You don’t have to fill these void spaces.  Many times when you try to force conversation it leads to unnecessary rambles.  It is important to remember to always be polite during the conversation. Never interrupt the person who is speaking as it can be rude and inconsiderate.  

Polite Ordering 
Be considerate of what you order.  Avoid picking the most expensive item on the menu as it can come off as inconsiderate and rude. Instead, pick an option from the menu that is mid range in price point.  If you’re still unsure on the price point, ask your date what he is ordering and choose an option that is comparable in price to his chose.  

Dining with Elegance 
Wait for your date’s meal to arrive.  Do not begin to eat until his meal is at the table and he is ready to eat.  Be mindful of your portions.  Refrain from putting large pieces of food into your mouth. Make sure to eat your meal slowly, and cut your food into small pieces as you go before putting them in your mouth.  If you have to cough, or use your handkerchief, rise from the table, and politely excuse yourself from the table.  If you have not time to do this, cover your mouth, and turn your head away from the table.  If you were unable to finish your meal, never ask for a to go bag, as they are viewed as passè on a first date.

Courtesies, paying the check
It is custom and proper etiquette for the gentleman to pay the bill.  It is respectful to subtly offer to pay by reaching inside your bag once the check arrives.  You don’t want your date to feel as if you accepted his date invitation for a free meal.  Plus sitting and staring at your date when the bill arrives makes for a very awkward situation.  After subtly offering to pay, your date should tell you not to worry about it and will take care of paying the bill.  If for some reason your date doesn’t stop you that is fine, don’t get upset.  Instead, go ahead and pay for your portion of the meal.  This is popular practice for group dates.

Gracious Goodnight
A gentleman should walk you to your door.  If you met at the destination then he should walk you to your car door.  If your date went smoothly and you would like to continue getting to know him, speak warmly of the pleasure of the evening, and, at parting, thank him and give him a hug.  You can casually imply that would be great to meet up again soon.  Be respectful and remember to make sure he respects you!   If on the other hand, the date didn’t go as planned, politely shake his hand and thank him for dinner.  A true prince charming will respect you and never make you feel uncomfortable.  

May this guide give you the confidence to relax and enjoy your date.  Remember, that true politeness is derived from a kind heart.  If your intentions come from a place of kindness you will never be thought of as rude.  Even if you forget all the courtesies of etiquette and are awkward at the table, but have a kind heart for others, you will make them feel at ease.  If your actions haven't originated through kindness, then you’re only merely doing forms of etiquette, and customs of society, and this politeness seeks only its own ends  Instead, if your poise originates from a gentle, friendly, unselfish and loving spirit you will radiate true politeness.  For it is within the heart that a true belle of the ball radiates love for all.  

What's the most awkward date you’ve ever been on?

Hugs and Kisses,

Tiffany



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