The Holidays are here… Hurray! And with the Holidays come formal dinners. So, we’d like to re-visit some dinner etiquette rules as well as cover a few new ones. For this article, we’ve collected 21 don’ts from the 1895 book: How to Behave and How to Amuse by G. H. Sandison.


We hope you enjoy this quick etiquette reminder. And we, especially hope you make an effort this season to practice what you are learning here. Practice being a guest diner. Practice being a hostess. Practice eating with grace every chance you get.

Now, without further ado…

1.. Do not ask for seconds at a dinner served in courses. It might delay the dinner.

2.. Do not cut bread in small pieces. Instead, break your bread.

3.. Do not butter a large piece of bread and then bite it.

4.. Do not touch the bones of game or poultry with your fingers when eating.

5.. Do not gesticulate with your knife or fork in your hand, nor hold them pointing upward. Keep them down on your plate.

6.. Do not leave your gloves on after you are seated at the table.

7.. Do not load up your fork with food until you are ready to convey it to your mouth.

8.. Do not send your knife and fork, or either of them, on your plate when you send for a second supply. Do not hold them meanwhile in your hand, but lay them down, with something under them – a piece of bread, for example – to protect the table-cloth.

9.. Do not use a steel knife to cut fruit if there is a silver one.

10.. Do not hold your elbows out. Instead, keep them close to your sides.

11.. Do not drink tea, coffee, chocolate, etc. from the saucer.

12.. Do not blow your tea or coffee; wait till it cools.

13.. Do not tip your chair, nor lounge back in it.

14.. Do not roll up your sleeves.

15.. Do not shout out: “Waiter.”

16.. Do not talk with a full mouth.

17.. Do not masticate so loudly that others can hear you.

18.. Do not lay bones or bits of fruit on the table-cloth.

19.. Do not pick your teeth at table. If you must do so, do it unobserved, if possible.

20.. Do not fold your napkin. Instead, lay it loosely on the table.

21.. Do not bid your host and hostess good-bye for at least half-an-hour after dinner is finished.



Ladies! We are excited to say, we now have a tutorial available for designing and hosting professional and society dinners. It is an intensive level course created by family and friends of diplomats and seasoned hostesses. To learn more, click here.


“Society hostesses are not born. They are made.”