Thursday, October 15, 2009

Etiquette Challenge Workshop: The Dinner Table Candles



Dear Blushing,
When should I light the candles on the dinner table?
Truly,
Leah, Ontario


Well, readers? Do kindly chime in.



Photo credit: rootcandle.com

12 comments:

Natalie said...

If it is a quiet but special dinner with my husband, I like to light the candles as I am putting the finishing touches on dinner. This helps set the mood (and usually the wine is flowing at this point). If I am having a larger dinner party, I wait for all guests to be seated, and as the hostess, I light the candles and sit down last before a blessing is done. This also helps the heat factor of multiple bodies and open flames in the room. Hope this helps!

LPC said...

When you all sit down? Not that I know for sure that this is in the rule book but that would be my educated guess.

BTW, the High WASP protocol only likes white candles except at Christmas. Then you can do green or red...

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Well, twice, actually. Once before sitting down, ie before the guests arrive, because nothing looks worse or more staged than candles with uncharred wicks. And then 10 minutes before seating your guests at dinner. That seems to be pretty good timing to me, so the room looks lovely upon entering.

Suburban Princess said...

Just before you call everyone to dinner if the meal is in another room. If the meal is in the same room like an open concet situation, light the candles before your guests arrive.

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

When the guest arrive ?? thats what I would do...hope all is well on your side of the mountain today my friend...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

The-Countrypolitan said...

I was going to comment the same as Suburban Princess.

A tip to keep the candles burning slower and longer ...protect the wicks with plastic wrap, then place in the freezer for a time before lighting...

but everyone probably already knew this.

LPC said...

The thing is, I don't like to light the candles earlier because then attention is diverted from group socializing. IMHO. I like candles with new wicks. But for me entertaining is always about the group, vs. more of a formal event.

SPLENDEROSA said...

Are we saving candles here? Light the candles before dinner is served. If in the dining room the hostess,etc. can light the candles before everyone is called to table.
If casual, light them before anyone arrives. Candlelight is part of the enjoyment & the presentation is sometimes more important than the food.

Teacats said...

Light candles well before guests arrive, then do a "candle check" to make sure that errant breezes don't blow wax over your table or encroaching foliage from your centerpiece or artfully placed fabric does not set the whole thing on fire! Then snuff them, trim the wick -- and light just as you call for your guests to join you at the table. THEN zip into the living room, and make sure that the candles there are safe too! After the guests finally rise to take coffee, tea and after-dinner drinkies and sweets in the living room -- snuff out the dining room candles. Of course, if there are wonderful hurricanes with small votives -- you may be able to leave them burning on the dining table!

My question for a future workshop: How and when do you clear the table and/or the dishes for the next course? And how do you stash the leftovers -- before they are inedible or smelly? Do you swish off the plates so they can be stacked?

Jan

Suburban Princess said...

Teacats...deal with leftovers when your guests have gone home. I dont think anything would be inedible and smelly the same night it was served.

The Blushing Hostess said...

I will come back with you all later this week on this. In the meantime, Teacats: Covered casseroles. I use silver plate with heat safe glass inserts. Find them everywhere... but be cautioned, they require polishing... hope this helps.

Jeff Ambelang said...

Jan. Clear from the right with your right hand after all guests have completed the course, removing the silver associated with the course, & replace silver as needed prior to next course being served. Serve from the left with your left, meat at 6 o'clock.
Jambelang@gmail.com