Etiquette: Fancy Dinner Dos and Don'ts [Infographic]

Mar 3, 2020

The Importance of Dining Etiquette

When it comes to formal dining occasions, proper etiquette plays a critical role. The way you conduct yourself at a fancy dinner can make or break a first impression, whether it's a business dinner or a special occasion. Understanding the do's and don'ts of dining etiquette allows you to navigate any social setting with grace and confidence.

The Dos of a Fancy Dinner

1. Dress Appropriately: Always dress according to the event's dress code. A formal dinner requires elegant attire, including suits and dresses appropriate for the occasion.

2. Arrival Time: Arriving on time is crucial. Being fashionably late isn't appropriate for a formal dinner. Aim to arrive a few minutes early to allow for any unexpected delays.

3. Seating Etiquette: Wait for the host or hostess to indicate your seat. If there's no assigned seating, follow the lead of others. Remember that the guest of honor or the most senior person usually sits at the head of the table.

4. Napkin Etiquette: Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down. Use it to wipe your mouth discreetly during the meal. Remember to place it neatly on the table before leaving.

5. Silverware Usage: Start with the outermost cutlery and work your way in with each course. Pause and place your utensils neatly on the plate after each bite. Avoid resting them on the table.

6. Table Manners: Chew with your mouth closed, avoid talking with food in your mouth, and don't slurp soup or beverages. Practice good posture and keep your elbows off the table.

7. Conversation Etiquette: Engage in pleasant and appropriate conversation with those around you. Avoid controversial topics or discussing heavy subjects that may dampen the atmosphere.

8. Use the Correct Utensils: Different courses require different utensils. Familiarize yourself with their usage, knowing which knife and fork to utilize for each dish.

9. Restroom Etiquette: If you need to excuse yourself from the table, politely excuse yourself and quietly leave. Fold your napkin and place it on your chair before stepping away.

10. Compliment the Host: Show appreciation for the invitation, the food, and the efforts of the host or hostess. A simple thank you can go a long way in demonstrating your manners.

The Don'ts of a Fancy Dinner

1. Don't Begin Eating Immediately: Wait until everyone at the table has been served before you start eating. It is polite to wait for others and begin your meal together.

2. Don't Slouch or Slurp: Maintaining good posture is important during a formal dinner. Slouching or slumping in your chair can be seen as disrespectful. Additionally, avoid making noise while eating or drinking.

3. Don't Reach Over Others: Never reach across someone's plate to grab something. Politely ask to have items passed or wait until they are within your reach.

4. Don't Play with Utensils: Avoid twirling or playing with your utensils during the meal. It distracts others and can be considered impolite.

5. Don't Use Your Phone: Keep your phone on silent or turned off during the dinner. Engaging with your phone can be seen as rude and disrespectful to your tablemates.

6. Don't Criticize the Food: Even if you don't particularly enjoy a dish, it's impolite to openly express your displeasure. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of the meal.

7. Don't Overdrink: If alcohol is served, refrain from excessive consumption. Stay within your limits and maintain composure throughout the event.

8. Don't Interrupt or Overshare: Be mindful of others during conversations. Avoid interrupting and dominating discussions. Share your thoughts in a balanced and considerate manner.

9. Don't Push Your Plate Away: When you finish eating, place your utensils side by side on the plate, indicating you are done. Avoid pushing your plate away or stacking dishes.

10. Don't Leave Prematurely: Wait for the host or hostess to signal the end of the event. Leaving early without proper acknowledgment is considered impolite and may offend the host.


Master these dining etiquette do's and don'ts, and you'll be well-prepared to impress at any fancy dinner. Remember that proper etiquette reflects well on you and showcases your professionalism and respect for others. Roxanne Weber, VOA provides reliable information and resources on dining etiquette and various business and consumer services, including website development. Visit our website for more valuable insights and assistance in creating a successful online presence.

Kristin Stordahl
I love fancy dinners! 🍴💃
Nov 8, 2023
Great tips! 🍽️ Knowing dining etiquette can save you from awkward situations.
Oct 16, 2023