When there is a large group of people dining shoulder-to-shoulder at a table (think business dinner, wedding reception, birthday party), someone inevitably asks, “Is that my glass or yours?” Here are two tricks plus an etiquette tip to help you quickly and easily know whose glass is whose!
The BMW Trick
A quick way to navigate table settings is to think of a BMW car, and to translate that into “bread, meal, water.” If you think “BMW” at your seat, you’ll have your ‘B’ bread plate on the left, ‘M’ meal plate in the middle, and ‘W’ water glass on the right.
The “B” and “D” Trick
Another trick is to make the letter ‘b’ with your left hand and the letter ‘d’ with your right hand (like you’re making the number ‘3’ in Europe or giving the “OK” sign) to remember that the ‘b’ bread plate is on the left and ‘d’ drink glasses are on the right.
Work from the Outside In
When there are multiple glasses at each place setting, the glasses have been set for wine service. The water glass will be closest to the center, followed by the red wine glass, then the white wine glass on the outside. This makes sense, following the adage to “work your way from the outside in” when dealing with utensils. Typically, white wine will be served with a starter/first/second course (appetizers/soups/salads) and red wine will be served with the main course. Therefore, it makes sense to have the white wine glass placed on the outside of the line, followed by the red wine glass. The water glass will be closest to the plate.
Next time you’re seated a group table, use these tricks to grab the right glass!
For more modern etiquette tips, check out my other blog posts!