Napkin on one leg or your entire lap? Pinky up or pinky down? Does bite size matter?
Etiquette expert Arden Clise, president of Clise Etiquette and author of Spinach in Your Boss's Teeth, hosted a tea party for the KING 5 anchors at World Trade Center Seattle, to teach them the tips and tricks used by the Royal Family.
“Etiquette is your ticket to success,” said Clise, explaining that etiquette comes from the French word for ticket.
French King Louis XIV cared so much about rules, he created little signs, or tickets, all over his property telling people what not to do, and it worked! People behaved by doing things like staying off the grass, not picking the flowers and refraining from swimming in the fountains. And so, modern etiquette was born.
Rules to follow for afternoon tea etiquette:
1. Wait until the host puts their napkin on their lap.
2. Napkin is only used for three reasons: protect your lap, wipe your mouth, and wipe your hands.
3. The host typically serves the guests. Once you pick your tea, place it in your cup and the host will fill it with hot water.
4. Place any wrapper neatly under your plate or saucer.
5. Traditional tea additions are milk, sugar, and lemon. But never lemon and milk together, or it will curdle the tea.
6. Let your tea steep for three to five minutes. Do not dunk your teabag.
7. For used teabags, place in table receptacle or on edge of saucer.
8. Mix or stir tea making as little noise as possible.
9. Drinking with your pinky out is not an acceptable way to hold your cup.
10. When drinking, look towards your cup. Refrain from blowing on the tea to cool it down.
11. Place food on plate with tongs. Typically start with savory and move to sweet.
12. For croissants or rolls, break into bite size pieces to spread butter or jam.
13. Once a utensil is used, it stays fully on the plate.
14. Match the pace of the others around you.
15. Keep your bites small enough that you are able to answer a question in an appropriate amount of time.