Now that you have browsed our website, you know us a little better. That is why our ‘FAQ’ page is not typical of what you would find on the web!
It is here we have taken the opportunity to help you with any etiquette or protocol questions you may have. Below are some of the questions you have asked our resident etiquette expert William Hanson:
Ideally you should find your host to say goodbye. If you've tried looking and you've perhaps asked some of the other guests if they have seen the host but you do really need to go, then go! Just make sure you call the host the next day to say you tried to find them to say goodbye. And obviously, follow this up with the thank you letter.
Yes, there are plenty! Serving hot milk with tea is the most annoying. It should be cold milk for tea, hot milk for coffee. If hot milk is added to tea it caramelises the tea and messes with the tannins to produce an odd taste. Serving brown sugar with tea is also wrong, technically it should be white sugar (brown for coffee). It's a different type of sugar, you see. The brown sugar is a molasses sugar and again can caramelise in the tea. The final big faux pas would be serving tea in coffee cups! Coffee and tea cups are totally different shapes (for a reason) and it really does show a lack of knowledge.
If you were expecting the call, warn your fellow diners about it before it comes through and ask whether they would mind if you stepped away from the table for a moment to answer it. Then when it does come through, excuse yourself with the minimum of fuss, and answer the call away from the table. Return as soon as possible.
Avoid: sex, money, health, religion, politics. These are the five taboo topics and they have no place in small talk. They can make people feel uncomfortable, and this is bad manners.
In Western countries and in the Middle East, we present cards with the text facing the recipient, presenting it in our right hand. In Eastern countries, two hands are used. In Japan there will be a slight bow, too. In Arab countries, it is also considered polite to have one side written in English and the other side in Arabic.
Traditionally it means 'no denim'. For men, an open-necked shirt, jacket, and smart trousers. For ladies, a casual dress, or similar outfit.
It is polite to be 10-15 minutes late to social events, so 7.10 or 7.15pm..
If you have a dietary requirement then when you accept an invitation it is your responsibility to tell the host. Thoughtful hosts may ask if they have never had you to dinner before, but if you fail to make your preferences known then prepare to just eat the accompanying vegetables!
Yes - if you are leaving before everyone else, then it is polite to say goodbye and if possible you want to individually bid farewell to everyone. However, the logistics of the restaurant or setup of the group may mean you can't individually shake hands/kiss everyone, so just standing up and waving goodbye to everyone is acceptable.
In good conversation, you should ask questions about the other person, and, in turn, they should ask about you. Start a conversation with asking how they know the hosts, or whether they have travelled from far to get to wherever you have just met them.
The gentleman always pays on the first day, regardless of whoever initiated the date.
Yes!! Although not cheap ones you've just bought from the convenience store!
Bow ties are nowadays really only seen for formal evening events. If the invitation says 'Black Tie' or 'White Tie' then this means a black bow tie, or white bow tie respectively. Make sure it's a proper bow tie, rather than one of those awful ready-made jobs.
Yes - if you turn up in a jacket, keep it on. Being interviewed is a formal process, so keeping your jacket on ensures you are seen to be professional.
As early as possible! Three or four years-old is probably suitable.
Teach them to extend their hand and say their name and 'how do you do'.
On the assumption that it is two couples, I suggest that each couple is opposite each other, so that everyone sits next to someone they don't live with! Keep it boy-girl-boy-girl, also.
From an accuracy point of view, a ‘toilet’ was a lady's makeup and dress - she went to the powder room to 'do her toilet'. The use of ‘bathroom’ or ‘restroom’ can also be confusing for obvious reasons. In polite society the words 'loo' or 'lavatory' should be used.
Simply send us an email and we would be delighted to answer your questions!