Belle of the Ball: Dining Out Etiquette

dining out etiquette

This is a continuation of our Belle of the Ball series.  Follow along for tips on proper etiquette and how to be a Belle of the Ball!

Valentines Day is this weekend and in preparation we put together a guide on proper dining out etiquette.  This article is a continuation of our Date Night Etiquette which covers how to prepare for your date and the proper etiquette towards your date.  We thought it would be beneficial to follow up with an article on how to maneuver through the dining with gracefulness and ease. There are certain things a Belle of the Ball puts into practice when dining out, from being gracious to staff to using proper utensils.  By making them habitual, they will become natural, and appear easily, and sit gracefully upon you.  Read on for tips on how to be the Belle of Ball when dining out…. 

Being polite and gracious from the moment your date starts will assure that you have set the tone for a lovely evening.  Whether you are being picked up or meeting your date make sure to greet them with kindness.  Depending on your relationship either a smile or hug can be an appropriate greeting.  

When seating gracefully and easily sit in your chair.  Make sure your chair is within comfortable range for you to easily maneuver and eat.  You want be sure you are seated close enough to easily access you utensils but with enough space that you aren’t crammed.

Once you have been seated, gently place your napkin onto your lap with the crease facing towards you. In situations where the napkin is large, fold it in half again.  Before you drink or begin eating make sure your napkin is placed on your lap.  If you have to accuse yourself from the table, gently fold your napkin and place the napkin to the left side of your place setting. 

When you’re settled in, it’s time to look over the menu. Once you have decided what you want to order, close your menu and place it in front of you–this will signal to the wait staff that you are ready to order.  

Be mindful of your mannerisms and avoid placing your arms or elbows on the table, leaning back lazily in your chair, or playing with your knife, fork, or spoon.  When speaking with you date be cautious of your tone.  It can be perceived as rude to raise your voice, when speaking, any higher than is necessary. The clear articulation and distinct pronunciation of each word, will make a low tone more agreeable and more easily understood, than the loudest tone, if the speech is rapid or indistinct.

If there is breadbasket on your table, tear off a piece off and then place it onto your bread plate.  It is actually impolite to cut the bread with a knife!  When buttering your bread use your knife and take a pat of butter then place it onto your bread plate so you have your own personal butter stash.  It can come across very inconsiderate to butter your bread directly from the shared butter dish.

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. Being aware of your portion sizes ensure that you’ll avoid making any noise while eating.  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.

Silence Distractions. 
Make sure to turn your cell phones on silent before your date.  Make sure to avoid texting or talking on your phone while out. If a call or text is particularly urgent, kindly excuse yourself from the table and take care of matters in a private room.  Your escort will feel justly offended if you allow distractions to command your attention entirely when he has invited you on the date.

Once you’ve  finished your meal, gently place your utensils diagonally across the plate.  This is another key restaurant signals the wait staff that you are done with your meal.  Make sure to thank your escort and the wait staff for a lovely meal.  Make sure to read our Date Night article for more tips on how who should pay for the meal and how to say graciously say goodnight. 

These tips can even be into practice when eating entirely alone, observe these little details, thus ensuring you have the most finished and elegant manners are familiar to you.  By acquiring polite manners, they’ll easily become familiar, and an elegance ease.  Having a genuine polite character is a great way to show kindness.  Politeness alleviates accidental disconcern, and promotes a habit of consideration for others.

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