Certain rules of etiquette and courtesy apply when you receive guests for lunch or dinner.
To learn all about good manners, follow our guide!
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How to dress when receiving guests?
You have just bought the prettiest evening dress.
In black satin, low-cut in the back, long to the foot.
But you still don't intend to wear it there, tonight, at home, for this dinner with friends.
Just imagine the faces of the guests, who came in casual clothes, panicked at the idea of being next to the plate, convinced that on this Saturday evening with friends, they could avoid ties and styling hair?
You would be showing great rudeness.
To not offend anyone, neither the "too much" nor the "not enough" dressed, find the right balance: a chic but simple outfit is ideal.
Make everyone feel like they belong.
The atmosphere will only be better.
How to put the cover?
The presentation is essential: first an immaculate tablecloth, pretty cutlery, a few flowers in the center of the table (if they don't prevent Nicole from seeing Pierre sitting opposite her).
And, of course, we do not forget that:
The water glass, the largest, is on the left.
The wine glass, the smallest, on the right.
The fork is placed on the left, points towards the tablecloth (it is only in England that we do the exact opposite)
The knife goes to the right, the blade facing the plate.
If you use cutlery for the cheese and the dessert, you will place them between the plate and the glasses, in this way: - The small spoon - or the small fork - for dessert will be placed closest to the plate, the cheese knife closest to the glass.
Their right sleeve.
Think that everything is a matter of logic and that everything is done to facilitate the comfort of right-handed people.
Sorry for the others!
Read alsoSix dressing rules to follow for a perfect holiday table
How to dispose the towels?
For lunch, you have to put the napkin on the plate.
Even with your closest friends, forget the paper napkin and be refined with cloth napkins that match your tablecloth.
Know that for lunch, it must be placed on the plate, for dinner, on the right side of the plate.
Above all, above all, never slip it into a glass.
It is only in pizzerias that we see this.
Certainly not at home!
Avoid risky foods
Do you love tripe?
We are happy for you.
But understand that you are not so many in this case.
The palate of your guests is delicate, even demanding.
To be sure not to make mistakes, forget the sweetbreads, the tongue, the muzzle, the snails, all these dishes that delight some and disgust others.
Watch out for the deer and the rabbit, even the mustard.
Bambi and Thumper remained anchored in the memories.
When you've found the perfect dish, accept the compliments.
"I find that this blanquette lacks a bit of taste, I should have salted it more."
's annoying this false modesty.
You will never appear pretentious by simply admitting the truth: you are the king of the stove.
Be ready on time
Always be ready before your guests arrive.
If at the first ring of the doorbell, you haven't put on your pants yet, and your curlers are still on your head, your dinner has gone badly and you send back a poor image of your talents as householder!
The champagne must have been chilled for several hours, your pot-au-feu… on the fire, the cutlery set, the zakouskis on the coffee table.
That's the basics.
If it's not done yet, diners will feel compelled to get their hands dirty.
But they are not there to help you but to have a good evening.
Respect the schedules
Installed around the coffee table, we laugh, we nibble, we take news.
It's a good time this little pre-meal interlude.
But it has to be just that: a little interlude.
Unbearable to dine at 11 p.m. when we arrived at 9 p.m.
You should sit down to eat about half an hour after you arrive.
Some of us are past the age of going to bed at odd hours!
When the evening draws to a close, you may be exhausted.
Your friends look fine.
And while you think nostalgically of your bed, they think nostalgically of the holidays in Mauritius spent together last year.
Impossible to ask them to go home.
So don't offer them more coffee or more coffee shoots, don't start a new conversation.
In front of your silence and your discreet yawns, let's hope they understand the message.
To read also“A little rince?”
: what does this expression mean?
Think of the superstitious
The superstitious try to reason with themselves.
They have it in their genes.
Even if they are ashamed to admit it... A good householder must know, sometimes guess, the anxieties that can be caused by a knife that crosses another, a loaf placed the wrong way round, salt that scatters on the tablecloth and so many other small catastrophes that are incomprehensible to some and that ruin life for others.
If you don't know the subtleties of superstitions, start with this extremely important one, the best known of all: there should never be 13 at the table.
It has even become a rule of good manners.
Also avoid dinners at 2: a guest with the flu and everything has to be redone.
How to draw up a seating plan?
Prepare mentally - or on a small piece of paper - a seating plan before your friends arrive.
When your guests enter your dining room, all business must indicate their place.
Thus will not settle this slight panic, this confusion, among the guests who do not dare to take the initiative to sit where they want.
While you're at it, separate the two best buds who might be asides all dinner and put friends who don't know each other but should get along side by side.
You are the conductor of this evening, it's up to you to find the right harmony.
How to properly seat your guests?
There are rules of etiquette to place your guests in the best possible way.
There are many, but remember these:
A couple should not be seated side by side unless they have been married – or cohabiting – for less than a year.
We always place fiancés next to each other.
The person you want to honor – for example, the one who has never been to your house, the oldest, etc. – will be seated to the right of the host for women and to the right of the hostess for men.
Should guests be allowed to smoke?
Inviting friends to dinner supposes a few constraints: cooking, hosting, tidying up.
Also accept each other's quirks.
Some are odorless, some are not.
Can you refuse your guests to smoke a cigarette in your living room?
Opinions are divided.
Do you really want your guests to have a good time?
Do you prefer to see the most dependent shivering with cold on the balcony so as not to inconvenience you?
What if we accepted for one evening, one evening only, the smell of tobacco?
If we showed generosity and, therefore, courtesy?
A scented candle, a window barely open, the bedroom door firmly closed, and let them poison themselves quietly.
You are definitely a generous comrade.
Should you open your present without delay?
A chilled bottle of champagne?
What a nice attention.
But you won't taste it another day.
It is now and with the person who brought it to you that you must drink it.
Same for the box of chocolates offered that evening that will be offered at the end of dinner at coffee time.
Nothing is more annoying than those carefully chosen little gifts lying around in a corner, forgotten by those we wanted to spoil.
We almost want to take them home, right?
One last thing: thank your generous donors very discreetly so as not to make those who arrived empty-handed feel uncomfortable.
Read alsoShould we always drink the wine brought by our guests?
It wasn't the best night to organize this dinner: a terrible day, a sleepless night the day before, a last minute problem at the office?
We do not want to know.
Your friends come to your house to have a good time and you have to welcome them warmly even if you dream of slipping under the duvet.
Do not tell them your problems, rather listen to those of others, smile and sometimes say how happy you are to have them present: this is the lot of the perfect host!
How to maintain the conversation?
There are nights like that.
The guests are tired or, worse, have nothing to say to each other.
In short, the sauce does not take.
Long silences chill the atmosphere, the angels pass by desperately.
This is all your fault, you clumsy host.
We have to take things in hand and faster than that.
You must ask the right question, bounce back no matter what, take an interest in everyone, both your neighbor and your friend at the other end of the table: get some to react, ask for opinion of others, wake them from their torpor.
You are responsible for this evening, rise to the occasion.