1. Women are usually served first. If it is an honorary dinner, of
course, the guest of honor is served first. Otherwise, age and
status of the guest determine the sequence, with older or more
distinguished guests served first. The host is always served after
his or her guests. When children are present at the table, serve
them as quickly as possible to maintain peace.
2. Place and remove all food from the left of the guest.
3. Place and remove all beverages, including water, from the right
of the guest.
4. Use the left hand to place and remove dishes when working at
the left side of the guest and the right hand when working at the
right side of the guest. This will provide free arm action for the
server and avoids the danger of bumping against the guest’s
5. Place each dish on the table with the four fingers of the hand
under the lower edge and the thumb on the upper edge.
6. Never reach in front of a guest, nor across one person in order
to serve another.
7. Present Serving dishes from the left side, in a position so that
the guest can serve himself. Place serving silver on the right
side of the dish, with the handles turned toward the guest so that
he may reach and handle them easily.
8. Do not place soiled, chipped, or cracked glassware and china or
bent or tarnished silverware before a guest.
9. Handle tumblers by their bases and goblets by their stems.
10. Do not lift water glasses from the table to fill or refill. When they
cannot be reached conveniently, draw them to a more
11. Set fruit juice and cocktail glasses, cereal dishes, soup bowls,
and dessert dishes on small plates before placing them in the
center of the cover between the knife and the fork.
12. Place individual serving trays of bread and rolls above and to the
left of the forks. Place a tray or basket of bread for the use of
several guests toward the center of the table.
13. Place the cup and saucer at the right of the spoons, about two
inches from the edge of the table. Turn the handle of the cup to
the right, either parallel to the edge of the table or at a slight
angle toward the guest.
14. Set tea and coffee pots on small plates and place above and
slightly to the right of the beverage cup. Set iced beverage
glasses on coasters or small plates to protect table tops and
15. Place individual creamers, syrup pitchers, and small lemon
plates about and a little to the right of the cup and saucer.
16. Place a milk glass at the right of and below the water glass.
17. Serve butter, cheese, and cut lemon with a fork, serve relishes,
pickles, and olives with a fork or spoon, not with the fingers.