Wow your guests with your service and etiquette by following these tips. Of course, wowing them with the food is entirely up to you!
- Invitations - they can be written, delivered by phone or in person, or emailed (only for the informal get-togethers!). Guests are expected to RSVP.
- Greet your guests as they come to the door. Have a place for their personal items. Introduce people. Accept host/ess gifts graciously.
- Offer guests beverages and hors d'oeuvres.
- During hors d'oeuvres, slip out to the kitchen quickly to get the first course on the table before the guests are asked to take their seats (unless that first course is hot, in which case you should wait until the guests are seated).
- Call guests to the table and direct them to where you want them to sit, either with place cards or verbally.
- Follow an etiquette book as far as setting the table. Many things have changed in recent years. Not all of the pieces that were once used are necessary now, and some utensils are placed in different locations. A guest should never have to move a utensil to get to his/her napkin.
- After each course, remove the plate and utensils used.
- After the entree, remove all plates, used utensils, salt and pepper, butter, dressing, and so on. The dessert fork and spoon are usually placed at the top of the plate. They would remain on the table until dessert is served.
- Serve dessert and coffee cups. Place sugar and creamer on the table.
- After dessert, you do not need to remove the dessert dishes, unless they will be seen from the living room or family room for the rest of the evening.
- Hors d'oeuvres and cocktail glasses should have been cleared already.
- Games and conversation are both acceptable during this time.
- When guests leave, get their coat and belongings, walk them to the door, say a brief good-bye and return to the other guests.