Table Manners 101


Table Manners 101

Wedding season is right around the corner. Vibrant Table is celebrating with a quick brush up on the Ps and Qs to help all of us make a good impression at summer nuptials.


  1. There may be a large decorative plate called a ‘charger’ at each setting. A bit of mystery and confusion often surround a charger. Generally let it be. The charger’s purpose is to define a setting with beauty and elegance. Your server will remove it when it is time, which is generally before the main course.
  2. Depending on the formality of the wedding, there might be a lot more silverware than you are used to. The general rule of thumb is to work from the outside in – so much easier than memorizing the uses of each size and shape!
  3. Even when utensils appear scarce, there’s no need to save them. Assume they’ll be replaced with the next course. Plus, you’ll reduce the opportunity for embarrassing tablecloth stains.
  4. Pace yourself. It’s impolite to sit with an empty plate while your tablemates are barely half through. A trick for fast eaters is to leave a few bites. It’s likewise rude to make everyone wait for the grilled filet because you were too busy sharing how you met the bride instead of munching your salad.
  5. When finished with a course, place the fork and knife across the plate at a diagonal and then wait. (No pushing to the side!) Your host and caterer will have discussed whether service staff should collect dishes when the entire table is finished or as each guest finishes.
  6. Allow wait staff to pick up the dirty dishware. Please don’t stack. It’s a thoughtful, albeit misguided, gesture.
  7. Is a fork and spoon placed across the top of the setting?  They are for dessert and coffee respectively.
  8. Hold wine glasses by the stem. Stems exist to protect the temperature of wine, but they also forgive greasy fingerprints.
  9. If you leave the table, set your napkin on your chair, rather than your plate.
  10. Make momma proud by following the basics: don’t talk with your mouth full and elbows off the table – while dining at least. Once the meal is finished, by all means, get comfy and relax!

Have we forgotten something? Add it in the comments below!

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~ by Faith on April 14, 2010.

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