Dinner Date Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on January 29, 2010

in Table Manners

table dinner date etiquette

The topic of dinner date etiquette will be split into two parts: dinner date etiquette for the person who initiated the date; and dinner date etiquette for the person being taken out on a date. Yes, I could put man vs. woman, but, these days, women are just as likely to ask out men!

Dinner Date Etiquette for the Date Initiator

You finally got the courage to ask someone out to a dinner date and…they accepted! Congratulations! Don’t worry; the hard work is behind you now, but, to keep the good times rolling, you might want to take these things into consideration:

* Unless you smoothly managed to snag the date by mentioning your favorite restaurant and suggesting you take the object of your desire there and they accepted, hence, the “date”, you need to find a place where they serve food your date will actually like. You don’t need to get specific with them; sometimes, it’s easier to find out what they don’t like, and go from there. Keep it simple for a first date and fancier as the relationship progresses. The reasoning is two-fold: firstly, you don’t want your date to think that you’re coming on too strong by taking them to a super expensive romantic restaurant when you barely know each other; secondly, a relaxed, casual dining atmosphere leads to relaxed, casual diners. You’re going to be nervous enough on your date anyway; don’t add to it by taking your date to a restaurant where the menu’s in a different language! And don’t take your date some place you can’t afford. You’ll end up stressing about the menu prices all night instead of enjoying yourself.
* When picking up your date, make sure you are on time (not a minute more or less). If you barely know each other, it’s sometimes safer to meet at the restaurant, anyway (especially in these days of internet dating where you really don’t know who you’re going to end up with when you meet face to face!).
* When the check comes, you pay for it. Even if they offer to pay for half or all of it, if you initiated the date, you pay.

Dinner Date Etiquette for the Guest

* Make sure you are ready to be picked up/arrive at the restaurant on time. It is rude to be late, especially when this person is spending their hard earned cash on you.
* Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu. Get what you want, but, even after you’ve been married for a couple of years, your spouse would give you a funny look if you ordered the steak and lobster. Just because someone is being generous and taking you out does not mean you should take advantage of them.
* Make a gesture to pay when the bill comes; even though the date initiator will not take you up on it, it is a thoughtful gesture that they will appreciate.

Dinner Date Etiquette for Both

* If you are the man, open the door for the woman and pull the seat out for her, even if she asked you to dinner. Yes, some traditions will never go away and these little gestures are really appreciated by most women. If she gives you a lecture about women’s rights after you attempt to do something nice for her, then you have much bigger issues ahead of you than your dinner date etiquette.
* During dinner, don’t get drunk. I can’t even begin to tell you how many friends have told me, “Well, the night started out good and he was really great, but, then he got drunk.” #1 Date Killer and you will not get a second chance. You can have a couple to get the edge off, but, know your limits. And if you are being driven by your date, always tuck some cash in your purse/wallet for an emergency cab – never get in the car with a drunk driver!
* If you are the woman, remember, dressing down leaves more to the imagination!
* Finally, take a deep breath and relax! Let’s not forget; dating is supposed to be fun!

Photo: 123rf/iofoto

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