Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)
Question: My cousin is getting married next month and the wedding is very formal. She and her fiancé are big foodies with a lot of friends who are chefs, so the seated dinner includes table service and four-courses with wine pairings. As a casual type of guy, I’m nervous about etiquette during the meal. How do you navigate an elaborate place setting at a formal wedding?
Answer: It sounds as if you are in for a big treat and a fine meal at your cousin’s wedding. I appreciate your willingness to prepare ahead, since formal dining isn’t your forte. First, remember that you most certainly won’t be the only one feeling nervous about the place setting. It’s a very common situation and many people can relate. The best tip or trick in the book is to work your way from the outside in with the utensils. If there is a soup course, there will be a spoon, otherwise no soup spoon will be on the table. (Tip: When eating soup, scoop it with the spoon in a smooth motion away from yourself and bring it back toward yourself once the utensil is loaded.) For seafood courses, an oyster or crab fork is the smallest one on the table and generally easy to spot. For additional study, the Emily Post Institute offers detailed instructions, diagrams and videos on the topic. Good luck and bon appétit!
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.