Royal wedding etiquette: Table manners

Royal weddings are full of protocol but what do guests need to know before sitting down to eat at William and Kate's wedding reception?

The reception will be a buffet, so there is no need to worry about place settings. But there will be a sit-down dinner and dance in the evening so it is best to get to grips with table manners well in advance.

image of table manners

Cutlery dilemma

It's quite simple - start at the outside and work in as the meal progresses. The soup spoon will always be on the extreme right if soup is the first course. It will be second from the right if served as a second course. Dessert cutlery will always be at the top of the place setting with the fork facing right and the spoon above it facing left.

Drinks order

Glasses are also placed in the order in which they are used. So, for example, water, champagne, white wine, red wine, dessert wine. A napkin might be placed on the plate or to the left of the forks.

How to eat...

Some dishes require their own etiquette.
Bread rolls: don't cut with a knife - break with fingers.
Soup: tip the bowl and scoop the spoon away from you; sip, don't slurp.
Asparagus: eaten with fingers, start with the head.
Oysters: use an oyster fork to detach the oyster from its shell. Hold the shell between thumb and first two fingers, place against lower lip and slide the oyster and its juice out of the half shell. Don't swallow it whole. Chew slowly and savour.