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Tips for Banquet Etiquette

banquet etiquette

Banquets can be a little confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been to one before. Luckily, these easy rules of etiquette can help you to look good!

Have you just reserved a limo or sedan for a senior banquet or corporate banquet? Banquets are all about formality, and if this is your first banquet, you may be a little confused. Which bread plate is mine? Can I save a seat for my friends? Is it okay to check my phone or quickly add a little mascara at the table? For those of you who have these questions spinning around in your head, these tips will provide answers and guidance so you look great and make a good impression at your first banquet.

Get to Know Your Place Settings

We all know what a small bread plate looks like, but with so many plates, utensils, and glasses squeezed onto the table, it can be hard to tell if you should take the bread plate to your right or to your left. Hold your hands in front of you and touch your pointer finger to your thumb on each hand so that one hand makes a “b” shape and the other makes a “d” shape. Just remember that “b” is for “bread” and “d” is for “drink”. Your bread plate will be on the left, while your drinking glass will be on the right. When it comes to the many utensils, simply remember to start with the outside utensils first, then move on to the next utensil with each course.

Follow the Rules

Make sure you arrive on time so that you don’t make an embarrassing entrance. Follow all check-in procedures, and wait to eat the first light course until words have been spoken. If there is open seating, don’t try to hold many chairs for your friends; open seating means first come, first served.

Wait for Others

If you find yourself wondering if you should wait, consider the whole room or the whole table. If most of the guests have arrived, then it’s okay to find a seat. Likewise, if most people have been served at your table, then it’s okay to eat. If there are only a couple people at the table who are waiting for special orders or an extra utensil, then they should encourage everyone else to start without them.

Serve the Food Properly

If you are passing food, make sure to pass to the right and always serve yourself last. Salt and pepper should be passed together, and individually-wrapped items, like butter packets, should be passed in a bowl or container, not individually.

Know When to Excuse Yourself

If you need a touch up of mascara or you need to make an urgent phone call, do so in the bathroom rather than the table. If you are bored, resist the temptation to look at Facebook on your phone. Making a good impression at a banquet can earn you more respect down the road!

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