Every wedding guest should be aware of the setting of the affair they are attending, as each party has a unique set of etiquette rules—most importantly: the more formal the celebration, the more particular the manners. When you sit down for dinner at a black tie wedding, make sure your table manners match the setting with these key basics every black-tie wedding guest (and happy couple!) needs to know.
As Soon as You're Seated, Put Your Napkin in Your Lap
Beautiful displays of chargers, menus, and napkins are par for the course at today's weddings, but they make serving a meal a challenge. Once you've snapped a photo, move your menu to the side and put your napkin in your lap. This will allow servers to set down the first course or remove your charger without having to interrupt your conversation with your tablemates to move your napkin.
Use Utensils from the Outside In
A multi-course meal often comes with multiple forks, knives, and spoons on either side of your plate. Not sure which to use? Start with the smallest utensils (those set furthest from the plate) first, then work your way in. Leave the fork and spoon set above your plate for last: Those are for dessert, so save them for cake!
Bread on the Left, Drink on the Right
With eight to 10 people squeezed around a table, it can be hard to figure out which bread plate is yours and where you should look for your wine glass. Here's a quick way to remember: Hold out your hands and touch your pointer finger and thumb together on each hand. Your left hand will form a "b" (for bread!) and your right will form a "d" (for drink!), so the roll on the left is yours, and you should drink from the glass on your right.
Your Silverware is a Signal
Still working on your braised short ribs? If you're putting your fork and knife down, imagine your plate is a clock and set them at 4 o'clock and 7 o'clock. This will let the servers know you're not quite finished. When you are done, place your fork and knife together at 3 o'clock, with the tines of the fork and the tip of the knife at the center of the plate, and the staff will know that they can clear your meal.