Dining Etiquette Series – That Little Place Card


“Proper names are poetry in the raw.
Like all poetry they are untranslatable.” 
~ W.H. Auden

Whatever one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century meant by these words, to most people their names are like poetry and music to their ears. And that is the reason when printing or lettering place cards, whether they are for a formal or informal affair, names must be spelled correctly. No mistakes or typos are permitted or excused. Great care must be taken when preparing these personalized accouterments to the dining table. Place cards are commonly used when there are eight or more guests. I love place cards, as they add another dimension to a formal or festive table, and people love to see their names as much as they love to hear them. 

Dining Etiquette Series – Who Sits Next To Whom?

They then started the two-by-two procession into the dining room,
where the butler held the seating chart and footmen
 were present to push in chairs.

~ Description of dinner seating at Downton Abbey,
 Providence Journal Blog

Although you might have your preferences of who you'd like to sit next to at a Downton Abbey dinner, the seating chart will be in the hands of the butler.  Arranged seating is the norm at very formal dinners, where you will find your name neatly written, often in calligraphy on a little card above the place setting.  At Downton Abbey, the White House or Buckingham Palace you should also expect to escort or be escorted into the dining room where dinner will be served elegantly by a wait staff dressed in formal attire. Nothing much has changed over the years.