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Q: When I’m invited to a dinner party, should I tell the host ahead of time about my food allergies? A: Definitely mention any allergy that could cause a serious reaction. When you call to RSVP, explain to your host, “I’d love to come for dinner but I have to tell you I’m deathly allergic […]


Q: If I’m not enjoying myself at a party, how soon can I leave without seeming rude? A: If it’s a large cocktail party or reception, it’s okay to leave after staying for roughly an hour. If it’s a dinner party, you should stay through dinner, since your host has set a place for you […]


Can you pass the potatoes, please?

by epi on July 25, 2013

Q: When eating family-style, which way should food be passed? A: Technically, food is passed around the table in a counterclockwise direction, or to the right. The reason there’s even a guideline for this is to provide some sense of order when passing food. Common sense comes into play here, too. If someone only a […]

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Q: It is our family’s custom to say grace before meals. Is it okay to say prayers when we have guests for dinner? A: Certainly. One of the warmest gestures you can make is to include a dinner guest in a family tradition. The only exception would be if you think it might make your […]

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Are you a goer or a thrower?

by epi on July 15, 2013

Q: When it comes to parties, I’m always a goer never a thrower. Is that rude? A: It’s rude not to reciprocate in some way, but it doesn’t have to be in kind. If you’re not fond of cooking or having parties at your house, and your budget allows, take small groups of friends out […]

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Q: I need to attend a viewing for the sister of a friend at work. I never met the sister. Is there an appropriate time that one must spend at the viewing? It is in another town an hour away from where I live so it could be a long night. Is 20 minutes too […]


Addressing Envelopes

by Daniel Post Senning on July 3, 2013

Q: When addressing an envelope, how many spaces do you skip after the state to put the zip code? A: Ordinarily you skip one space. This enables post office scanning equipment to read it easily.


Setting the Table for Tea

by Daniel Post Senning on June 27, 2013

Q: Where should the handle of the cup on a tea serving be placed? A: The handles point to the right so that guests may most easily pick them up.


Dietary Dilemma: The dinner party

by epi on June 26, 2013

Q: I’m a vegetarian. When I’m invited to a dinner party, should I tell this to the host ahead of time? A: Dietary preferences such as vegetarianism or a low-carb diet should be handled differently than food allergies. At large parties and buffets, where there’s usually a large variety of foods to choose from, make […]

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Table Settings: Wine and Water Glasses

by Daniel Post Senning on June 21, 2013

Q: Where do the wine and water glasses go on the table? A: They go above the tip of the knife to the right of the place setting. The water glass is closest to the knife, and the wine glass to the right of the water glass.