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Tips To Dining Etiquette

Aug 17, 2007
I always get nervous going out for meal dates as I feel like I'm going to do something to embarrass myself. I am going on a formal dinner date and to the ballet in about two weeks -- what would you recommend that I wear and what should I know about etiquette regarding going to the ballet? As far as attending the ballet is concerned, unless you know that your date is wearing formal wear, such as a tuxedo, a nice dress or theatre suit (a suit that is dressier than a suit that you would wear for daytime work) and heels would be appropriate. Since this is holiday time, you will want to look a bit festive. If your date is wearing formal wear, then a long dress or a cocktail dress would be appropriate for you to wear.

Theatre and ballet behavior consists mainly of treating others with respect. You should arrive on time, at least fifteen minutes a head of curtain time. When the lights flash in the lobby and theatre, you will know that the ballet will be starting soon, so get to your seat. It is a signal for the audience. If you do not get to the performance on time, you will not be seated until the intermission, because it is a distraction to the performers and the other audience members.

There should not be any talking during a performance.

Always wait until the curtain has closed during the intermission and/or at the end of the ballet before rising from your seat to exit. You should not block anyone's view of the stage. It is also rude to the performers and distracting to exit during a curtain call.

Be certain that your cell phone is turned off or on mute. Never take a call in the theatre. Excuse yourself or wait until the intermission or end of the ballet.

Do not eat or make rustling noise.

I'm having a friendly debate with someone about when to place the napkin in your lap. She says that the napkin should go in your lap as soon as you sit down (and I know this is the common practice). But I debated that it's okay to wait until the meal comes before you place the napkin on your lap...the rational being that it's okay to wait until the napkin/utensils are actually going to be used. Am I totally off base and just being a typical guy, or is there some merit to my argument? Your friend is right on form, you may well win on function

We have been invited by our next door neighbors to their home for an informal dinner. I know that it usually in good taste to bring a bottle of wine. Since none of us drink, what would be the socially correct thing to do, bring some flowers or extend to them a reciprocal invitation to dinner, either at our home or at a restaurant? If you want to give flowers either give them the day before or the day after. To bring them is to (potentially) upset the table arrangements. A good host would insist on substituting your offering
for whatever centerpiece she/he already had. Send a brief thank you note after the party and highlight some of the things that you enjoyed most about the evening. You may ask them to dinner at some future or specific date if you wish as well.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert commentator at http://www.CustomDesignPostcards.com/. Visit us when you need to make custom designed holiday, gift, and invitation cards, as well as business cards and brochures. We are the only design utility that lets you download the print-ready images!
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