Table Etiquette
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THE PERFECT HOSTESS
Whatever the occasion be, from a children’s picnic to a wedding or a dinner party, the secret of making guests happy lies in the personality of the hostess, in her opportunity to make each one feel that his or her presence contributes something special and delightful, and in her ability to “set the keynote” for the occasion. She can do this only if she really likes people and enjoys entertaining them. There are few factors common to all types of entertaining, which a hostess should bear in mind.
For any entertaining, warm well-ventilated rooms, good food and drink are the first requisites in making people enjoy themselves. Soft lighting, attractive decoration of flowers and if possible, quiet background music are a tremendous help in creating the right atmosphere.
The hostess should make it her business to see that proper introductions are made, and if possible get two strangers not only introduced but also well started on a conversation before leaving them.
The offer of a drink on arrival can sometimes be a great help in promoting a friendly and a relaxed atmosphere. While hospitality should be generous, it is no part of the host or hostess’s duties to press alcohol on the guest who declines. Such a refusal should be accepted gracefully and the reason for it respected.
Since food and food service will be the chief preoccupation of the hostess,the hostess should not try to cram everything in the last few hours.The menu should be drawn up with the possibility of advance preparation so that when the guests arrive she can forget organizational problems and concentrate on the human aspects of the party, the guests themselves.
When food and drink is spilt, and damage is done to clothing or furniture, the hostess’s first consideration will be the comfort and happiness of her guests and any damage to her property must only be dealt with after the guests have been reassured.
To be a successful hostess it is not necessary to be rich or to make elaborate arrangement. Thought individuality and the personality one can impart to an occasion count for more than cash expenditure. Many a costly function has turned out a deadly ore, many a given party on the proverbial function has been a brilliant success, any woman who enjoys her own home, and enjoys sharing it with her guest, can aspire to be a perfect hostess.