You know we love a good dinner party here at Bright Settings and we share tips for planning them all the time, but today we’re touching on the rarely discussed topic of dinner serving etiquette. From who gets their plate first to which side to serve from you can find all the guidelines you’ll need in today’s round up of tips!
In an informal dinner setting there are many options for serving your guests. Setting up buffet style with guests fixing their own plates is one option as well as a traditional “family” setup with all dishes on the table to be passed around. It is traditional for guests to pass dishes to the guest seated at their right. Be sure that each dish is passed around with the servingware it requires. Because it takes time to pass dishes around the table, invite your guests to start eating after the first 3-4 people have been served.
In more formal settings or when multiple courses are being served it can be helpful to adhere to traditional serving guidelines.
Beginning the Dinner
- When calling your guests to the table be sure to already have the table prepared-candles should be lit and if the first course is not a hot dish have it already set on the table.
- If guests are reluctant or slow to leave their pre-dinner drinks invite them to bring them to the table with them.
- If your dinner party is large, recruit a few friends to help guide guests to the table in a timely manner
- In traditional settings where there is serving help, the female guest of honor seated at the host’s right is served first and service continues around the table serving the host last.
- It is also appropriate to serve female guests first proceeding from eldest to youngest and continuing the same for the male guest afterwards.
- Plates are generally served from the left and cleared from the right.
- Bread can be passed around the table or served individually on bread plates.
- All dinner and salad plates should be cleared prior to dessert service, including unused flatware and salt and pepper shakers.
- Feel free to bring back dessert plates or necessary servingware on each trip back from the kitchen when clearing the table.
- Dessert can be served already portioned on individual plates or the host may serve it at the table.
- After dinner coffee or drinks can be served at the table or in another room. If serving in another area keep drinks on a serving tray for easy access.
While there are many, many more rules for the most formal of affairs these guidelines will be appropriate for more in-home dinner parties. What kind of dinners do you prefer—formal or informal? I’d love to hear what you think!