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Formal Dining Etiquette 101

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Table manners are for stuck up people

Quite the opposite! ☺️Etiquette levels the playing field for everyone and includes every single soul. It’s all about kindness, compassion and especially in dining etiquette…..hygiene. 

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You want to make everyone around you feel comfortable when you are eating at the table. It’s also important to build relationships over the most important part of our day. Anyone from humble backgrounds can have excellent table manners and thrive in all types of environments swimmingly simply because they apply the knowledge they have of making others feel at ease at the table with confidence.

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I personally see mistakes at restaurants by servers, family members, and total strangers in public all the time. Practice these tips at home where it’s okay to make mistakes. Then when you go out in public, your skills are seamless and natural. 

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etiquette classes near me etiquette classes Los Angeles how to be a gentleman how to be a lady how to be ladylike how to be feminine etiquette for ladies
etiquette classes near me etiquette classes Los Angeles how to be a gentleman how to be a lady how to be ladylike how to be feminine etiquette for ladies

Why is dining etiquette important?

If you are at a business dinner closing a huge deal, you want to be able to focus on your company’s words rather than having to worry about what to do with which knife and plate. Your full concentration will be on your client and your boss will be impress at how impeccably you handled the pitch.

There’s also the social setting. You might want to spend a lot of time with someone special and go to dinner dates without embarrassing yourself. Fumbling through awkward moments is a pain. You want to be confident with your focal point being your partner. Also, if that relationship gets serious, you’re going to have to meet the parents. Impressing them over dinner will be a breeze.

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etiquette classes near me etiquette classes Los Angeles how to be a gentleman how to be a lady how to be ladylike how to be feminine etiquette for ladies

A gentleman never unintentionally gives offence.Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Don’t forget to bless the food!

If you are ever visiting a friend’s family’s dinner party or have in-laws of a different culture, impress them with saying grace. It’s imperative we give thanks for our food and the wonderful people who prepare and serve it to us. 

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Simply give your best effort and it will be appreciated. You will feel very included if you are of a different faith or none at all. 

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Catholic (Latin):

Bénedic, Dómine, nos et haec tua dona, quae de tua largitáte sumus sumptúri.

Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. 

Amen.

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etiquette classes near me etiquette classes Los Angeles how to be a gentleman how to be a lady how to be ladylike how to be feminine etiquette for ladies

Jewish (Hebrew):

Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha–olam ha-motz-i lechem min ha’ar-etz.

basic table manners and dining etiquette
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Christian (English) Format: 

Our dear, kind and gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. 

We wanted to express our deep gratitude for X.

Thank you for guiding us in X.

We are also thankful for X.

Please bless this food X has so lovingly prepared.

Thank you for giving us food to nourish us.

Amen.

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Above is a classic bread knife in a modern design. It typically does not have a blade due to the history of knives at the table — there being none since the beginning of the creation of bread. Knives were used in particular for killing people or animals in The Dark Ages and were omitted from the table entirely as they were seen to be dirty, covered in blood. 

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Another reason it has such a distinct look is because as decades passed, cutlers wanted to make more money by creating new utensils to add to one’s silverware collection. The only who could afford this were the upper class. Today, a bread knife is an elegant touch to one’s table setting. 

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Sometimes you may see the bread knife sitting on the right of the bread plate, while at others establishments, it may be sitting on the top of the plate with the ‘blade’ pointing downward. Both are perfectly acceptable so don’t be alarmed!

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Getting into the habit 

It might seem a bit odd at first, but practice at home and tell your loved ones to help keep each other accountable. This way you create the habit of having consistently outstanding table manners. Facing your boss at important business dinners or an especially lovely lunch date will be something of ease. 

Subscribe to keep an eye out for my table setting video coming out soon! This way all the utensils won’t seem so intimidating.

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There’s actually more

Yes. The thing is these are only a handful of basic table manners. I didn’t even cover how to hold the cutlery — I realized much later and laughed to myself. To join the FREE Fine Dining Masterclass, click here. It’s a deep dive into formal dining etiquette with tons more detail. The funny thing is, in my full etiquette course….there’s even more. We’re still scratching the surface. 

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Join me in The Finishing School for all the dining, hosting, and all kinds of etiquette! I can’t wait to see you inside the digital course.

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Gia G. Dixon
Gia G. Dixon

I’m Gia G. Dixon, an ILM certified etiquette consultant. Here is my guide to elegant style, high quality living, and little things that make your daily life glamorous.

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