Dinner Etiquette Guidance

Discussion in 'Officers' started by Phoenix57, Feb 13, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I am giving a brief to my blokes about appropriate behavior, etiquette topics of conversation with guests etc for an all ranks mess night coming up. Whilst I know the most of the obvious do and don’ts I am aware that RMAS produces a fool’s guide to this stuff. Does anyone happen to have a copy of it (or similar document) or any other pearls of wisdom that they wish to chip in?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Bump
  3. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt


    PM Barbs - he will have the full gen from RMAS, I'm sure.

    If not, PM me and I will get someone to e-mail it to you through another chain at the end of the week.

  4. Etiquette. Etiquette is nothing more than making people feel comfortable. If your behaviour is likely to make someone uncomfortable then you should adjust it.

    Arrival. Arrive before the CO, main guests and Adjutant.

    Pre-Dinner Drinks. Don't use this as an opportunity to get out of your shell for free - there will be plenty of opportunity later. Remember that you may have to stay at your table for quite a long time. Don't take your glass into the Dining Room.

    Hosting. If you are hosting someone you should be told well in advance, make sure you know who they are or know someone who can tell you. Introduce yourself ('Good evening Sir, I am ...'); there is no need to talk to this bloke all night, find some frineds who will talk to him and then make sure he doesn't go wrong/astray. If he spots a friend of his and goes of to speak to them, good, but don't allow him to totally ignore you.

    Introductions. 'Good evening Sir, I am...'; 'Colonel, may I introduce ...' etc. junior officers/ranks are introduced to their seniors, gentlemen are introduced to ladies, unmarried ladies are introduced to married ladies.

    10 Minute Call. Use this time to go to the loo; not when you should be going in to the table.

    5 Minute Call. Go to your table. There may be other people hanging about (they are probably meant to be).

    Seating. Make sure you know where you are meant to be sitting well before you go into the Dining Room: there is nothing more stupid then seeing someone do a bleep test up and down the room trying to find their seat. Particularly if you have a guest with you.

    Grace/Sitting down. Stand behind your chair as the top table/senior guests come in. Wait until grace is said before sitting down. Help the lady next to you with her chair.

    Starting. Don't start until everyone at your table has been served and the senior bloke on the table/in the room has started. If you don't like something don't eat it, but don't make a fuss.

    Drinks. If the drinks aren't coming quickly enough, you are drinking too fast. If you are offered a choice drink what you like; do not worry about whether what you are drinking 'goes' with the meal, it rarely will. If you like red wine and the meal is fish, drink red wine! Drink an equal quantity of water and wine.

    Conversation. There is absolutely no reason to limit one's conversation. I would suggest that extreme views on sex, politics and religion are likely to upset someone! In terms of dinner table conversation with someone you don't know, and if you have the opportunity, do a little research on the person you are sitting next to: ensure that your source is trustworthy. Be cautious, however, of knowing 'too much' about someone's personal life (habits, pets and predilictions). It may be valuable to have a little knowledge about the person's hobby on the otherhand it may be best not to try and out-knowledge him.

    Silver. Don't touch the silver.

    Photography. Usually frowned upon (if there is a need to record the evening for posterity then someone will arrange a proper photographer!).

    Cutlery. Simple point is to work from the outside in, each course. If you are unsure, wait and see what everyone else is doing.

    Table Manners. Don't talk with your mouth full. It is off-putting and, if nothing else, your punchline will undermined by blowing brocolli into your neighbour's eyes.

    Port. Pass the port from right to left. Pour for ladies. Unless you know there is a rule about the bottle touching/not touching the table ignore any fools who think they know. It is probably best to find out before the dinner than during!

    Toasts. Loyal Toast:

    PMC: Mr Vice The Queen

    Mr Vice: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Queen.

    Stand to attention, leave your glass on the table. Band plays National Anthem.

    All: The Queen.

    Sip port. Sit down.

    Smoking. Don't smoke until the ashtrays are on the table.

    Leaving. Don't leave the table unless you know you can. Comfort breaks are usual when there are ladies present. Stay at the table until the CO leaves the table.
  5. Make sure someone doesn't nick your name-card at the start of the evening.
  6. and only break wind while the orchestra is playing, or during the applause
  7. If you think something is very funny, it probably isn't to the CO/ Adjt.
  8. Phoenix57, you could always keep it short and to the point a la CSgt Tommy T****r, 6 RRF, when advising an assembled blancmange of NUOTC officer cadets on how to behave a few moons ago:

    (Strong Geordie accent) "Ah divnt giv ah fok who yer fatha is, ah'll tek doon yer pants and smack yer face. There'll be neh urinating or defacating under ther table. An that gaans fer you ladies as well"

    That should cover it.
  9. Unless in Scotland - where its don't smoke - so don't ask for an ashtray
  10. If at a Ladies' Dinner Night, which one do you escort in?

    This has always caused anguish (especially as the PMC's wife was left standing when I was Mess Sec!) and disapproving looks from the domestic 0A as I always went for the better looking option!
  11. Find a dealer who sells the house port at a goodand cheap price, buy 4 and go to the loo as many times as you like! :)
  12. If it is a ladies' night and you need a pi$$, then get your lady or the one next to you to "come over all faint" you then must escort her out and see she is OK. Only the meanest PMC would fine you for being such a gentleman. I have seen this done-albeit in the WOs and Sgts mess and by 2 seasoned pros. (both now commissioned)
  13. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Unless on MOD property, in which case smoking is banned.