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Table etiquette: how, when and why

How should you lay out the cutlery for a meal? What posture should you adopt while eating? What should you do with your phone? We’re sure these questions come to …

How should you lay out the cutlery for a meal? What posture should you adopt while eating? What should you do with your phone? We’re sure these questions come to mind every time you organize a meal or get invited to a formal dinner at another home. That is why we’re now going to give you some basic guidelines for correct table etiquette. This will clear up all your doubts so you’ll never again need to worry about whether you’re behaving properly or not at formal events.

What is the correct posture to adopt at the table?

We’re sure that you’re one of those people who pay attention to how all the other guests at the table are behaving, to try and do the right thing at all times. Well from today onwards you won’t need to worry about what everyone else is doing. Learn what posture you should adopt for these occasions to avoid slipping up!

The first thing you should do, before sitting down, is to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and wash your hands. When you come back to sit down at your designated place, just take a seat however you feel comfortable, supporting yourself lightly with the backrest. Avoid sitting on the edge of your seat or too far away from the table, and try not to be too stiff. Above all, act naturally.

Never rest your elbows on the tablecloth. You can, however, rest your wrists and forearms on the table. Your hands should always remain visible while you are seated.

Once you are correctly seated, take your napkin, unfold it partially and place it on your lap while spreading it out fully. Go ahead and use it whenever you need to, but don’t wipe your face with it, just dab gently. You should also remember to repeat this gesture each time you need to drink, and again afterward before you continue eating. Once you’ve finished eating, place your napkin on the table, ideally to the right of your plate.

How to set out cutlery, cotton napkins, and other elements

This is the eternal question that we ask ourselves when we host special dinners or meals where certain types of guests will be sitting around the table… If you’re trying to impress your boss, for example. We’re sure that you’ve felt unsure on more than one occasion, but these key guidelines will help resolve all your doubts:

  • Set out the cutlery from the outside in, according to their use. You should start by using those that are furthest away from your plate, then work inwards for each following course.
  • Forks should be placed to the left of the plate, while knives and spoons go to the right. Handles should face towards the diner, to make them easier to grasp. Dessert cutlery should be placed horizontally above the plate.
  • Glasses also have their own specific place. They go to the right of the plate, positioned diagonally above the cutlery. They should be arranged from the outside in, as follows: white wine glass, red wine glass, then water glass. The cava glass should be placed between the last two.
  • The napkin should also be placed on the right. Opt for cotton napkins, like those that we supply at MY DRAP. They are made from quality materials and are all available with matching placemats. We offer different collections for every kind of event: from the Celebration and Formal Food collections, designed for important events, to the Casual Food collection, for informal gatherings. And don’t forget our collections for snacks, breakfast, etc.; you’ll love our various designs, such as Ola, Sunny Days, Veggie, and Green Tartan, among others.

What are the key rules to follow?

There are various customs that you should take into account in this area. The most important ones are listed below:

  1. Leave the TV turned off. This will help diners to make conversation without distractions.
  2. If you don’t want a particular drink or food, all you need to do is say so. There’s no need to put your hand over your plate or glass.
  3. Whenever you take a brief pause while eating, place your cutlery on your plate at a 45-degree angle.
  4. Once you have finished eating and are ready for the waiter to take your plate, place your cutlery together on the plate. You can put your knife and fork next to each other, in a vertical position. You could also place them together in a diagonal position, either from the left or the right, towards the center of the plate.
  5. Remember what you were told as a child: don’t speak with your mouth full.
  6. Don’t leave any food on your plate, except sauce or inedible ingredients, like bones.
  7. Never smoke or talk on your phone while eating. It’s best to just turn your phone off, or put it on airplane mode.

These are the main rules for table etiquette. Once you’ve learned them, they will help you to act properly in the most sophisticated environments. And they’re so simple that you’ll never forget them!

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