12 Restaurant Etiquette Tips for Dining Out

12 Restaurant Etiquette Tips for Dining Out

Restaurant Etiquette

More than simple table manners, there are a number of courtesies and etiquette rules to follow when dining in a restaurant. 

1. Honor your reservation. 

A no-show or late arrival cost the restaurant and staff money in lost revenue and tips. If you make a dinner reservation, be sure to honor it. If for any reason you can no longer attend, let the restaurant know as soon as possible so they can fill the table.

2. Dress appropriately. 

When dining in a high-end establishment, dress the part! Did you know that a number of restaurants are considering bringing back dress codes? I am all for it! 


3. Wait for your server to come to you. 

Snapping, waving, or yelling to your server is simply not appropriate. Wait for them to come to you. If you desperately need their attention, try to catch their eye line but nothing more. 


4. Keep the table clear of personal items.  

Cell phones, purses, wallets, sunglasses, and the like should not be placed on the table. Leaving your phone on the table in particular is a distraction and shows that you are not fully present with your dining companions. You should not use your phone for the duration of the meal. Pro Tip: if you are waiting for an important call, place your phone beneath your leg on your seat. 


5. Treat your server with the utmost respect. 

Look at your server when they are speaking and when you are ordering, say “please” and “thank you.” If something is wrong with your meal, communicate this politely and discreetly. 


6. Wait for everyone to be served before you begin eating. 

If the food is hot and everyone else has been served, be sure to tell your companions they may begin without you. 


7. Use non-verbal etiquette cues to communicate with your server. 

Non-verbal cues in the form of cutlery positions can tell your server whether you have finished or are still working on your dish. Use the open position to indicate you have not yet finished, and the closed position to indicate they may take your plate (explained in more detail here). Similarly, a napkin placed upon your seat means you have only left the table temporarily.


8. There is no need to explain when leaving the table temporarily. 

If you need to use the restroom, there is no need to explain where you are going. Simply say, “please excuse me,” when leaving the table. 


9. When a woman approaches the table, a man should stand up. 

This also goes for when she gets up to leave the table. This is a traditional etiquette rule but I believe we should continue to honor it. Note: this practice applies to social situations, in a business setting this is not done. 


10. If you require separate checks, tell your server in advance. 

It is far easier for a server to split the bill if they are aware in advance. They can keep track of what each person orders and keep them on separate checks. However, it is important to note that this is a courtesy, not a right. Many restaurants limit the number of separate checks and/or how many cards can be used to split a bill. Large parties should plan ahead when it comes to how they will pay. 


11. Tip fairly and generously. 

Basic restaurant etiquette and standard practice in the United States is to tip 20% for good service. Even if you felt your service was not up to par, you still must tip. Restaurant staff are paid significantly below minimum wage, as tips are intended to make up the bulk of their income. Whether you agree with the practice of tipping or not, cutting into someone’s wages because they made a simple mistake is unfair and unkind. 


12. Push your chair in when leaving the table.

Pushing your chair back into its proper position is simply good manners. It helps keep aisles clear in tight spaces and looks much tidier. 

I hope you have found these restaurant etiquette tips helpful! If you are interested in polishing your poise and learning more about social, business, and dining etiquette, follow my Instagram for everyday tips or reach out to book a one-to-one training.

Charlotte and Craig’s Enchanted Garden Wedding

Charlotte and Craig’s Enchanted Garden Wedding

A verdant, tropical paradise inside a Downtown Orlando modern arts center? Yes, please! Charlotte and Craig’s wedding was so much fun to bring to life! It was equal parts colorful, lush, and oh so joyful. 

This beautiful wedding was originally planned for August of 2020 but as with so many things during the pandemic– it had to be rescheduled. However, that did not stop Charlotte and Craig from marrying as planned. They arranged an intimate civil ceremony on their original date and pushed the big celebration to January 8th, 2021. Charlotte often said during this time, “the show must go on!” and I feel this perfectly captures her positive, can-do sensibility.


The Design

When the time finally came for their proper celebration with all their family and friends, we did not hold back! Charlotte and Craig love the theater and from the start knew they wanted to have their wedding at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in Downtown Orlando. Charlotte’s initial references for the design of the wedding were the Vanderpump restaurants in Las Vegas, which feature tons of greenery and florals from floor-to-ceiling. She wanted it to look and feel like a magical garden. 

Together with Lana from Fairbanks Florist, we created a plan to hang plants in a lush canopy over the reception space. Charlotte’s natural effervescence and love of color was translated into the floral design, which featured a huge variety of vibrant flowers, including pink hibiscus, red roses, purple anemones. 

Wedding Reception Design – Lisa Lyons Events

Citrus and ferns were incorporated to represent Craig’s strong family ties to both plants and small Cardinals were tucked into various ferns to honor those who have passed. 

The mood was set early on, with custom stationery by Two Peas Paper Co which incorporated the flowers that would be used in the wedding design.

The First Look

On their wedding day, January 8th, 2022, Charlotte and Craig began by getting ready in their respective locations, then meeting for a very sweet First Look outside the venue. Of course, their darling dog Duke simply had to join in for the big reveal!

The Ceremony

Meanwhile, inside the Dr. Phillip’s Center, the scene was set for Charlotte and Craig’s ceremony…

Wedding Ceremony Design - Orlando, Florida

Black drapery with pin lights shining through created a starlight motif to contrast with the bold floral arrangements. They were an explosion of color with red, magenta, and purple flowers and would set the tone for the florals of the entire day. Charlotte was not afraid to go bold and it certainly paid off! 

Guests gathered and took their seats for the couple’s nuptials. Charlotte was walked down the aisle by her father to meet her beloved Craig at the altar.

Just before their vows, Duke made his own trip down the aisle to join his paw-rents at the altar and look on as they said, “I do!”

My favorite moment: You may now kiss the bride!

After the ceremony, guests were ushered to the rooftop for a cocktail hour while Charlotte, Craig, and both families took portraits together.

The Reception

As Charlotte and Craig split their time between New York and Orlando, many of the wedding details paid homage to Manhattan, including the entryway flower cart which featured bouquets for guests to take home with them. The custom artwork on the dance floor was created by Two Peas Paper Co and was designed to emulate the bistro tables on Fifth Avenue.

Inside, the reception design was in place which meant it was time for one of my personal favorite moments… Revealing the reception space to my couples!

Trees, potted plants, vines, and bold floral arrangements combined with string lights, crystal chandeliers, and candlelight to create a truly immersive experience. Mirrored tabletops beneath the canopy brought the experience full circle and the addition of vine-covered swings made for the perfect photo op and touch of whimsy!

After the private reveal, guests were welcomed into reception space to dine beneath the canopy before speeches, the couple’s first dance, and family dances. 

Following dinner, guests lingered to chat over candlelit tables and danced the night away on the custom dance floor.

I believe it is safe to say, a good time was had by all and Charlotte and Craig’s love for each other radiated all evening long. They lived happily ever after, indeed!



Wedding Planning and Design: Lisa Lyons Events
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Dr. Phillip’s Center for the Performing Arts
Hair and Makeup: Kristy’s Artistry Design Team
Florals: Fairbanks Florist
Photography: KV Photography
Videography: KEJ Productions
Rentals: Gala Rental
Chandeliers: Get Lit Productions
Linen: Over the Top Rental Linens
Stationery and Dance Floor Design: Two Peas Paper Co
Entertainment: In Pulse Entertainment

Fourth of July Entertaining Tips

Fourth of July Entertaining Tips

Fourth of July Entertaining Tips

The high holiday of summer entertaining is upon us, *wink! Who can resist an Independence Day party? If you are hosting this year, this guide is for you.

Fourth of July Decor & Table Setting

If you know me, you know I *love* any excuse to decorate! Red, white, blue, stars, and stripes are the mood of the day but that does not mean you have to go out and buy a whole set of 4th of July themed decor. Classic patterns such as gingham and stripes evoke a summer feeling without being too on-the-nose.

4th of July Table Decoration

Your choice of flowers will bring your design together, too. For this table, I chose red anemones, courtesy of my dear Fairbanks Florist, for a pop of color. Plus, those bold centers feel a bit like fireworks to me! 

Now on the subject of bunting… There is never enough! *wink 

Outdoor Entertaining Tips for the Fourth of July

Outdoor Entertaining on the 4th of July

Chances are, when you picture a Fourth of July party, you are imagining an outdoor gathering.  Independence Day is peak summer entertaining which means a few considerations should be made:

1. Avoid burns and bites.

Have sunscreen and bug spray on-hand and easily accessible to your guests. A cute basket filled with helpful products will go a long way in keeping guests safe and comfortable.

2. Keep Guests Dry.

Provide plenty of fresh, fluffy towels for guests to use if swimming is involved.

3. Prioritize *Cold* Beverages.

Coolers and ice buckets are a summer entertainer’s best friend. Pro Tip: an ice bucket is more effective when water is mixed in as it is a better conductor than ice alone. Adding a pinch or two of salt to the mix is even better!

4. Make Food Safety a Top Priority.

Take care with foods that can go bad in the heat. Keep cold foods cold, especially seafood and dairy-based dishes. Covering dishes to protect them from bugs is an additional precaution, primarily for guest comfort over contamination!

5. Comfort is Key.

If the party is going into the evening, have blankets available in case guests catch a chill. This is certainly not necessary here in Orlando, but more northern states will cool off when the evening comes.

6. Practice Mosquito Control.

Is your yard mosquito-proofed? No one wants to spend the evening being bit by hungry mosquitos. Treat your yard prior to the party and be sure to place some citronella candles or mosquito prevention tech around the yard.

7. Ask your guests about dietary requirements in advance.

And plan your menu accordingly. For example, thoughtful purchases such as veggie burgers and vegan cheese for your plant-based friend will help them to feel included and valued.

8. Avoid cross contamination when grilling.

When choosing what goes where on the barbecue, take care with allergens where possible. If a friend is allergic to shellfish, cook the shrimp after the burgers to avoid a medical emergency

9. Include non-alcoholic drink options.

For your friends who may choose not to imbibe, have plenty of fresh iced tea, soft drinks, or similar alcohol-free drink options on hand. If you are making a signature cocktail for the party, consider making an alcohol-free mocktail version too! Remember, it is never acceptable to ask why a person is not drinking.

10. Plan activities for children.

If you are hosting a child-friendly party, make sure to include games, activities, and kid-friendly foods to keep them happily occupied.


Flag Etiquette 

Independence Day and the American Flag are practically synonymous and you will surely want to include one in your 4th of July decorating. Keep these flag etiquette rules in mind to avoid a faux pas. 

  1. The union (stars), should always be in the upper left, whether on a flagpole or hanging vertically. 
  2. Ensure your flag is in good condition, not faded or tattered, as a sign of respect.
  3. The flag should never be flown after dark, unless illuminated by a light source. 
  4. Never let the American flag touch the ground. 

A Note On Fireworks… 

First and foremost, respect the law. If fireworks are illegal within your city limits, do not use them. Often there is good reason for these rules, such as areas where brush fires are common or population density and safety concerns. 

If fireworks are legal in your area, be considerate. Excessively loud fireworks can frighten pets, children, and adults who suffer from mental health concerns such as PTSD. 

Sparklers are forever my preference as they are quiet and very safe when used correctly. Attending a fireworks display is the safest way to enjoy (and the fireworks themselves are much more impressive, anyway!)

If you do choose to light fireworks, do so with utmost safety in mind for yourself, others, and nearby property. Your window of acceptable time for lighting fireworks is the evening of July 4th. Fireworks should end between 9-10pm out of courtesy to your neighbors and should not be lit for days before or after the holiday. Be sure to clean up any debris caused by your fireworks. And remember, inebriation and pyrotechnics are certainly not friends.


Driving Safely

Encourage guests to Uber to and from your party if you know it will be a big drinking day.


Pool Safety 

If children are present and using the pool, the best possible option is to hire a lifeguard. This will allow everyone to enjoy themselves with less worry. However, if this is not possible, consider having parents trade off with each other to monitor the children in the pool. Having a designated “watcher” is much safer than a joint effort where responsibility is shared. 

Young children who are not strong or experienced swimmers should be in proper safety gear, including life vests and floaties.

Anabel & Juan’s Fairytale Wedding at the Four Seasons Orlando

Anabel & Juan’s Fairytale Wedding at the Four Seasons Orlando

What a dream it was to plan Anabel and Juan’s wedding! Anabel and I connected from the start. She has an effervescent personality and is a true joy to be around. Her warmth is contagious and we had such fun going over the details, big and small, for their wedding day.

The mood was set before the big day with custom stationery, monogram, and wax seal by the ever-talented Siuleth of Eleven Note. My personal favorite touch was the illustration of Anabel and Juan’s beloved dog, Daisy, for the reception cocktail napkins!










Anabel and Juan got ready for their wedding in separate suites at the Four Seasons Orlando, where the reception would be hosted later in the evening. Anabel’s bridal style was feminine and romantic, she wore a beautiful gown by Rita Vinieras from Solutions Bridal Orlando paired with Manolo Blahnik heels. The groom wore an exquisitely tailored tuxedo by Leonardo Fifth Avenue.

The couple were married in a traditional ceremony at the St. James Catholic Cathedral near Lake Eola Park in Orlando, Florida. The Roman Catholic Cathedral features beautiful murals and we filled the ceremony space with white floral arrangements.

The bride was walked down the aisle by her loving father in a dramatic, cathedral-length lace train.

Just married! Anabel’s joyous spirit is on full display in this heart-warming image.

Back at the Four Seasons, the manicured hotel grounds served as the perfect place for couple and family portraits.

Of course, Anabel and Juan’s wedding portraits would not be complete without their beloved dog, Daisy. It was a big day for Daisy too, her paw-rents were married! She shined in a matching lace dress with Mom. Could these two be any cuter?!

After their portraits were taken, I snuck Anabel and Juan away from the cocktail hour for my favorite moment – the reception space reveal. I believe this image will go down in Lisa Lyons Events history as one of the best reaction shots EVER!

The entire ballroom space was transformed into a dazzling, glamorous reception. White florals by Raining Roses wrapped around candelabras dripping in crystals. Metallic accents abounded with gold chargers, silver chairs, and mirrored tables to reflect it all. Fyerfly Productions set the mood with soft colored gels mixed with pin lighting. It was very much giving “Be Our Guest” if I do say so myself.

Anabel and Juan’s first dance was framed by a floral lined dance floor. The couple danced “on clouds” courtesy of a well-placed fog machine. And, of course, we brought the drama for the finale with cool sparks, courtesy of Fyerfly Productions.

After the couple cut the four-tiered cake, the party started! There were lighted stilt dancers, fire dancers, light sticks, and crazy glasses. The guests danced all night long.

The aforementioned fog machine made a second appearance in the hands of Anabel!

The evening culminated in a massive confetti release, a must for any celebration in my opinion!

Wedding Planning and Design: Lisa Lyons Events
Ceremony Venue: St. James Catholic Cathedral
Reception Venue: Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Photography: Kristen Weaver Photography
Hair and Makeup: Le Jeune Artistry
Videographer: KEJ Productions
Floral: Raining Roses Productions
Lighting: FyerFly Productions
Reception Chairs and Tables: Gala Rental
Linens: Over the Top Rental Linens
Stationery: Eleven Note
Entertainment: InPulse Entertainment
Wedding Cake: Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Seating Directory: Treasury Rentals
Wedding Dress and Veil: Rita Vinieris via Solutions Bridal
Groom’s Attire: Leonardo Fifth Avenue

Fitness Studio and Gym Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Fitness Studio and Gym Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Gym Etiquette Do's and Don'ts

Gyms and Fitness Studios are shared spaces where we visit to improve our health and feel better, both mentally and physically. Using these spaces with kindness and consideration makes for a better experience for all involved and ensures we leave these places feeling better than when we entered! Follow these gym etiquette tips to be a better patron.

Do check your gym and fitness studio’s rules. 

Most gyms and fitness studios have rules of conduct for members and guests. Because every gym is different, it is important to take the time to read and follow these rules. They can typically be found on the website or in the locker rooms.

Don’t arrive late to classes. 

Entering a class after it has started is disruptive and often means people have to shift around to accommodate you. Arriving to classes ten minutes early or at the very least, by the start time, is simply good manners.

Do put things back where they belong. 

At the gym, one of the most common complaints you will hear is regarding people not re-racking the weights they have used. It is a nuisance for the next person who has to find the weights they need. It also poses a tripping hazard. Standard gym etiquette is to put things back where they belong. That goes for foam rollers, yoga mats, props, and towels (yikes!), which must go into the receptacles provided.

Don’t linger. 

When the gym is busy, be expedient with your equipment use. A common sight in the gym today is people taking selfies before their squats or scrolling on their phone after finishing a set. At peak times when people are waiting to use equipment, it is important to avoid lingering as much as possible. 

Do treat equipment with respect. 

Just because it does not belong to you, does not mean you should be careless with it. Treat equipment with respect. Avoid dropping weights on the floor or letting machinery slam shut.

Don’t take phone calls or spend time scrolling. 

General rules regarding cell phone etiquette are that one should step away from others when taking phone calls, never use speakerphone in public, and when scrolling in a shared space, the volume should be switched off. These all apply to the gym. Similarly, when it comes to a studio class, your phone should be switched off entirely or left in a locker if possible. More cell phone etiquette tips can be found here (the hill I will die on, *wink!).

Do wipe down equipment and accessories after use. 

As a general courtesy (and gym etiquette must), use an antibacterial wipe, spray, or a gym towel to wipe down equipment after you use it.

Don’t give unsolicited advice. 

This has become a more common gym problem, where many people feel they can correct another person’s form or give their opinion without being asked for it. If you find yourself of the receiving end of an unsolicited opinion, try this response: “I appreciate your feedback. I have to finish my workout now. Thank you.”

Do keep music to a minimum.

When listening to music with headphones take care that the volume is not so high that others can hear it. And please, do not play music on the speaker of your cell phone.

Don’t arrive to a gym or fitness studio less than fresh… 

This should go without saying, and yes I understand that for obvious reasons, most people prefer to shower after a workout. However, these are shared spaces and if you are not smelling particularly fresh, it is unpleasant for the other patrons. Ensure your gym clothes are clean and your gym shoes are not biohazard-worthy when you remove them. 

Are you looking to polish your poise? 

Perhaps you would like to incorporate etiquette education into your next team-building exercise, host a speaker at your networking event, or help your staff members hone their soft skills.

Kindly reach out today to learn more about Lisa’s etiquette offerings, including in-person and virtual presentations, one-to-one training, and group classes.