Optimal Dining Etiquette for Formal vs Informal Occasions

Jun 13, 2023

Understanding and practicing polished dining etiquette is essential for both formal and informal occasions. While the level of formality may vary, demonstrating good manners and proper etiquette will always leave a positive impression. Here are some key points to consider for both formal and informal dining settings:

Formal Dining Etiquette:

  1. Seating: Wait for the host or hostess to indicate your seat, or follow the seating plan if one is provided. Generally, the most honored guest or the guest of honor is seated to the right of the host.
  2. Napkin Etiquette: Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you are seated. Use it to dab your mouth, but avoid wiping your face or blowing your nose with it. When leaving the table temporarily, place your napkin loosely on the chair.
  3. Silverware: Start with the outermost utensils and work your way in as each course is served. The general rule is to work from the outside in. Use the appropriate utensils for each course, from the salad fork to the soup spoon to the main course knife and fork.
  4. Table Conversation: Engage in polite and appropriate conversation with those seated around you. Avoid controversial topics or anything that may make others uncomfortable. Be attentive and show interest in the discussion.
  5. Glassware: Different glasses are provided for different beverages. Generally, the water glass is placed above the knife on the right, while wine glasses are arranged to the right and slightly above the water glass. Use the appropriate glass for each beverage served.

Informal Dining Etiquette:

  1. Seating: In an informal setting, there may not be assigned seating. Choose a seat that feels comfortable to you, but avoid taking the host's or guest of honor's preferred seat.
  2. Napkin Etiquette: Follow the same guidelines as in formal dining settings, placing your napkin on your lap as soon as you are seated. Use it to dab your mouth and place it on the chair if you need to leave the table temporarily.
  3. Silverware: In informal settings, you may have fewer utensils. Start with the utensils farthest from the plate and work your way in. Generally, a salad fork is placed on the outer left and a dinner fork on the inner left. Place used utensils on the plate when finished.
  4. Table Conversation: Engage in pleasant conversation with those around you, keeping the atmosphere light and enjoyable. Be attentive and show interest in what others are saying.
  5. Glassware: Similar to formal dining, use the appropriate glass for each type of beverage. If unsure, observe others or ask for guidance.

Regardless of the occasion, it's important to exhibit good manners, be respectful of others, and observe basic dining etiquette principles. Remember to pace yourself, avoid talking with food in your mouth, and use utensils properly. By practicing polished dining etiquette, you will feel more confident and make an optimal positive impression in any dining setting.


Join me for live events where I will share my knowledge and answer your questions!

View upcoming events with LaVetta

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.