This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
• • • •
Always respond to an invitation within a week of receiving it. Dress according to the recommended (if any) dress code. NEVER attempt to "out dress" the hostess! Be punctual - never more than 10 minutes late. If you wish to bring a guest as your partner, good dinner table etiquette demands that you should always check with the host first. If you are the one hosting the party and a guest of yours arrives with an unexpected friend, be polite & courteous with them, and speak with your inconsiderate guest at another time! It is considered polite to take along a gift for your host and hostess. Flowers, chocolates or champagne are always appreciated. Once seated, unfold your napkin and use it for occasionally wiping your lips or fingers. At the end of dinner, leave the napkin tidily on the place setting. It is good dinner table etiquette to serve the lady sitting to the right of the host first, then the other ladies in a clockwise direction, and lastly the gentlemen. Hold the knife and fork with the handles in the palm of the hand, forefinger on top, and thumb underneath. Whilst eating, you may if you wish rest the knife and fork on either side of the plate between mouthfuls. When you have finished eating, place them side by side in the centre of the plate. If the food presented to you is not to your liking, it is polite to at least make some attempt to eat a small amount of it. Or at the very least, cut it up a little, and move it around the plate! It is quite acceptable to leave some food to one side of your plate if you feel as though you have eaten enough. On the other hand, don't attempt to leave your plate so clean that it looks as though you haven't eaten in days! Desserts may be eaten with both a spoon and fork, or alternatively a fork alone if it is a cake or pastry style sweet. Should a lady wish to be excused for the bathroom, it is polite for the gentlemen to stand up as she leaves the table, sit down again, and then stand once more when she returns. Ladies are never seen to bite into food. A lady cuts a piece of food into "pop it into the mouth" portions. Even and especially toast. One breaks a small piece of toast, butters it, jams it, and then pops it into the mouth to chew. Bread is never cut at the table, always broken. Always make a point of thanking the host and hostess for their hospitality before leaving.
In the 1930's it might be considered bad etiquette to smoke in the home of a non-smoker, but back then hosts were expected to supply ashtrays and even cigarettes or cigars for all of their guests. Smoking was also much more accepted in public places such as stores, and restaurants. Only the most inconsiderate things a smoker could do were considered bad:
When at another person's home putting a cigar or cigarette out on something that might be damaged Setting a cigarette down somewhere and letting it burn, causing a burn hole in any other way, or ashing in the wrong place (such as a plant). To smoke at a host's dinner table if the host did not light up first.
Conversely it was expected that any good host or hostess would provide a plethora of ashtrays for their guests. In fact most people provided matches and cigarettes at every place setting when they entertained guests for dinner. Ladies may smoke, but they are never seen to smoke. Smoking is done in the privacy of a room, alone or with other ladies, or with a husband, never in company and never at the dinner table. Gentlemen smoke at the table once the ladies have left.
• Sydney Harbour Bridge • Pharlap’s Death • The Depression • Foreign Affairs
(A guide to being a good Host/Hostess)
The 1930’s was a time of the Great Depression and 1932 was during the highest period of the economy meltdown. This would be the main topic of conversation at a 1930’s Dinner Party, but as the party will be Upper-class the conversation would be positive. This is because during the depression the rich people of Australia got richer and remained employed. Other topics of conversation for the upper-class would include the death of Phar Lap (a guest at the party was his owner, D.J. Davis), comparison and discussion of the lower-class life (a lower-class citizen will be present at the party) and the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which was opened that year.
The Great Depression- The peak of the depression was around the middle of 1932 and unemployment had reached thirty-two percent. The upper-class guests at the party received money from inheritance and Davis from Phar Lap. The dinner party is based around people who cannot lose their money and therefore remained rich. These type of people considered lower-class citizens to be lazy and not eager enough to make money. Some discussion questions could be: “How much longer do you think this will go on for?” “When will the government get back on its feet?” And discussion of lower-class and how lazy they are, complaining about simple financial problems that can be easily fixed.
Sydney harbour Bridge- In January of 1932 the last stone was set into the pylon and last rivet driven into the bridge. In March it was declared open to the public and traffic allowed on the bridge. The unexpected drama at the Opening could also pose questions for discussion as militant monarch Captain De Groot opened the bridge instead of NSW Premier Lang as was planned. Some possible questions suitable for the dinner party could be: “Have you travelled across the bridge yet?” “What do you think of the Sydney Harbour Bridge?” “Should Premier Lang or Captain De Groot have slashed the ribbon?” “Are you planning on climbing the bridge at any time?”
Death of Phar Lap- In April of 1932, Phar Lap passed away in controversial circumstances. David. J. Davis was his owner at the time and is a featured guest at the 1930’s dinner party. This topic could be discussed more in depth as Davis would control what happens to the horse. These questions could include: “What do you think happened to Phar Lap?” “Do you think he was poisoned?” Directed at Davis: “What are you planning on doing with him now? Will he be buried or preserved?” “Will you try and raise another horse like him?” “How will you spend his last winnings?” Lower –class Life- The lower-class Australians at this time were very poor and lived off sustenance and government funding. Many were unemployed and those that were received minimal wage. Topics of discussion will revolve around the butler, Walter as he explains the experience of being lower-class during the depression. Questions would include:
“Would you be able to handle the effects of the depression?” “How would you try to stay employed?” “What would you do if you couldn’t afford a house or food?” Directed at Walter: “Are you able to maintain a healthy lifestyle?” “What is it like for the unemployed?” “How do you afford goods and services?” “What was it like before the ‘crash’?”
Guests Arrive Drinks are supplied Hors D’Oeuvres are served in the living room Talking in the Living Room Dinner is set up in dining room Guests Move to Dining room Dinner Commences Dinner ceases, table is cleaned Dessert is served Dessert is comleted Guests move to games room Dancing in the games room commences Dancing Ceases Guests Leave
7.00 Upon entry 7.30 7.40 7.50 7.55 8.00 8.45 8.50 9.10 9.15 9.25 9.55 10.00
Ladies In the 1930s the feminine silhouette became mainstream, which emphasized the natural form of the woman's body. Bosom, waistline, and hips were clearly defined by the shape of the clothing. The waistline returned to its natural position. Evening dresses were long or ankle-length, moulded onto the body by means of bias-cutting. The bias cut enabled fabric to fall into a smooth vertical drape and to cling subtly to the body. Such dresses followed the body to the hips, where they flared out to the hem. Other common characteristics of evening dresses included bare-backed gowns and halter-type bodices. Gowns were sleeveless or had full, cape-like, or puffed sleeves. In the early to mid-1930s, hair was still relatively short, usually waved softly, and with short, turned-up curls around the nape of the neck.
Gentlemen From the 1920s through the end of World War II, tailcoats were the preferred dress for the most formal occasions, and were worn with white waistcoat and tie. Generally, evening wear consisted of the tuxedo in black or midnight blue. Tuxedos had either rolled collars faced in silk or notched collars. double-breasted styles in the 1930s. In the '30s and after, white dinner jackets were worn, especially in summer. Black ties were worn with tuxedos or dinner jacket.