Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Etiquette for Balls, Cotillions, Dances

When taking a woman wearing evening dress to a ball or dance, a man should provide a carriage. 
CARRIAGES: When taking a woman wearing evening dress to a ball or dance, a man should provide a carriage. A man should secure his carriage− check when leaving his carriage. It is safer to take wraps and coats to the house in case of accidents.

DRESS: Evening dress is worn by men and women.

DINNER INVITATIONS. The hostess issues two sets of invitations−−one for those invited to both dinner and dance, and one for those invited to the dance only.

For the former, the hostess should use her usual engraved dinner cards, with the written words: Dancing at eleven, and for the latter her usual engraved At Home cards, with the written words: Dancing at eleven.

A less formal way is to use, instead of the At Home card, a Mr. and Mrs. card, or Mrs. and Miss card, with the following written in the lower left−hand corner: Dancing at ten. March the second. R. S. V. P.

INVITATIONS. These should be acknowledged by an acceptance, or declined, with a note of regret within one week.
On being introduced to a woman, he may ask her for a dance, and he should be prompt in keeping his appointment.
MEN and ASKING A WOMAN TO DANCE: A man asks for the privilege of a dance, either with the daughter of the hostess or with any guest of the latter or any young woman receiving with her.

On being introduced to a woman, he may ask her for a dance, and he should be prompt in keeping his appointment.

It is her privilege to end the dance, and, when it is ended, he should conduct her to her chaperone, or, failing that, he should find her a seat−−after which he is at perfect liberty to go elsewhere.

If for any cause a man has to break his engagements to dance, he should personally explain the matter to every woman with whom he has an engagement and make a suitable apology.

DEBUTANTE: At a debutante's reception the first partner is selected by the mother, usually the nearest and dearest friend, who dances but once, and the others follow.

INVITATIONS: Invitations to balls or assemblies should be answered immediately; if declined, the ticket should be returned. A man should call or leave cards a few days before the affair.

SUPPER: At balls and assemblies where small tables are provided, a man should not sit alone with his partner, but make up a party in advance, and keep together.

If a patroness asks a man to sit at her table, she should provide a partner for him. At supper the senior patroness leads the way, escorted by the man honored for the occasion.

If one large table is provided, the men, assisted by the waiters, serve the women. When small tables are used the patronesses generally sit by themselves, and the guests group themselves to their own satisfaction. 

 Patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh ~ With a Patroness like the fictional Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who needs enemies?!
PATRONESSES: Their duties are varied and responsible−−among them, the subscription to the expenses of the entertainments.

The patronesses should be divided into various committees to attend to special duties −−as, music, caterers, supper arrangements, the ball−room, and all other details.

While affairs of this kind could be left in the hands of those employed to carry out the details, it is better and safer for each committee to follow the various matters out to the smallest details.

Those devising new features and surprises for such an occasion will give the most successful ball. The one most active and having the best business ability should take the lead.

Lists should be compared, in order to avoid duplicate invitations.The tickets should be divided among the patronesses, who, in turn, distribute them among their friends. The patronesses should be at the ball−room in ample time before the arrival of the guests, to see that all is in readiness.

They should stand together beside the entrance to welcome the guests. They should see, as far as possible, that the proper introductions are made, and that every one is enjoying the evening, their own pleasure coming last.

If time permits, a hasty introduction to the patroness beside her may be made by a patroness, but it should not be done if there is the slightest possibility of blocking up the entrance.

A nod of recognition here and there, or a shake of the hands with some particular friend, is all that is necessary. Prolonged conversation should be avoided.

A patroness should not worry over the affair, or leave anything to be done at the last minute. If she has to worry, she should not show it, lest she interfere with the pleasure of others.

They should be the last to leave as well as the first to arrive, to see that the affair closes brilliantly.

SUPPER: The senior patroness leads the way to supper, escorted by the man honored for the occasion.

If one large table is provided, the men, assisted by the waiters, serve the women. When small tables are used, the patronesses generally sit by themselves, and the guests group themselves to their own satisfaction.

If a patroness asks a man to sit at her table, she should provide a partner for him, and in case of a previous engagement, he should notify her by mail.

WOMEN: A woman should always keep any engagement made, if possible. If, for a good reason, it is desired to break one, she should do so in ample time to enable the man to secure a partner.

It is bad form to refuse one partner for a dance and to accept another for the same dance afterward. After refusing to dance, a woman should lose that dance unless previously engaged.

A woman may refuse to dance at a public entertainment.

A young woman chaperoned should not accept a man's invitation, unless he first asks permission of her chaperone.

It is not good taste to keep late hours at an informal dance.

In round dances the man supports the woman with his right arm around the waist, taking care not to hold her too closely. Her right hand is extended, held by his left hand, and her left hand is on his arm or shoulder, her head erect.

When tired, the woman should indicate a desire to stop dancing.When the dancing ends, the woman takes her partner's arm and strolls about a few minutes. He then conducts her to her seat by her chaperone, and, after a few remarks, excuses himself.

When supper is announced, and the young woman and her chaperone are in conversation with the man who danced with her last, they should accept his offer as escort if they are not already provided with one.

If a woman is without escort when supper is announced, she must rely upon attendants or members of the host's family.

At balls and assemblies where small tables are provided for the supper, the woman should not sit alone at a table with her partner, but she should have others present also.

DEBUTANTE: At a debutante's reception the first partner is selected by the mother, usually the nearest and dearest friend, who dances but once with her, and the others follow.

DANCES (FORMAL):

A man should seek out those women who, for some reason, are neglected by selfish men, especially unmarried women, and invite them to dance.
HOST: When supper is announced, the host leads the way with his partner, followed by hostess and escort, the rest following.

HOSTESS: She should limit the number of guests to the capacity of the house.

Invitations should include more men than women, for some men may not attend, and of those who do come, some may not dance.

An awning and carpet should be spread from curb to steps. The man stationed at the curb should open carriage doors for arriving and departing guests, distribute carriage− checks, and tell the drivers at what hour to return.

The servant opening the door directs the guests to their respective dressing−rooms.

A small orchestra should be provided and concealed behind palms or flowers.

In the absence of polished floors, carpets should be covered with linen crash, tightly and securely laid, in order to stand the strain of dancing.

Friends may assist in taking care of the guests, making introductions, etc.

SUPPER: Supper may be served at one large table or many small ones, as desired.

DANCES (INFORMAL): Dances of this character lack all possible formality. The invitations may be written or verbal.

Piano music is all that is required, played by one of the family or a professional.

Refreshments of a suitable nature are provided. See also Chaperone. Dances.


DANCING:
At balls all men should dance, and those who do not, have no place there, though invited. "In inviting a lady to dance with you, the words, "Will you honor me with your hand for a quadrille?" or, "Shall I have the honor of dancing this set with you?" are more used now than "Shall I have the pleasure?" or, "Will you give me the pleasure of dancing with you?" If she answers that she is engaged, merely request her to name the earliest dance for which she is not engaged, and when she will do you the honor of dancing with you." Samuel R. Wells

Before asking a chaperoned woman to dance, the man should ask permission of her chaperone.

A man should pay especial attention to the women of the house, and invite them to dance as early as possible.

A man should seek out those women who, for some reason, are neglected by selfish men, especially unmarried women, and invite them to dance.

Men should keep engagements a few minutes
before each dance.

If for some good reason it is desired to break an engagement, it should be done so as to leave ample time for the other to secure a partner for that dance.

In round dances, the man supports the woman with right arm about her waist, taking care not to hold her too closely. His left hand holds her right one, both extended.

The woman should indicate when she desires to stop dancing.

All persons should be at a formal dance not later than half an hour after the hour set.

A man should secure his carriage−check. It is safer to take wraps and coats to the house in case of accidents.

GLOVES: Gloves should be worn at formal dances, and should be put on before entering the room.

SHAKING HANDS: It is not customary to shake hands at formal dances.

SMOKING: Smoking should not be allowed in the dressing−room, but a special room should be provided. Men who dance should not smoke until leaving the house.

Young women should be chaperoned at all formal dances by their mother...
WOMEN. The time for the formal dance is indicated on the invitation, and all should be there not later than half an hour after the time set.

At private dances the maid takes and calls for the young woman in the absence of a male escort.

Young women should be chaperoned at all formal dances by their mother or others.

Introductions should be made as much as possible before the dancing begins.  —
From "The Book of Good Manners"

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