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Before the big day
Let’s start at the bottom: shoes. Towering heels have their place, but unless you can walk in them comfortably and gracefully (not sure? ask a trusted adult), go for a lower heel. You won’t want to look back on this night and remember the twisted ankle or blistered toes.
Do a test run of your full outfit. If your dress is light-colored, you may need nude underoos. Straps, hems and such can be altered, but all of that should be done well before the big day. Accessories can make an outfit, but try them on with your dress to be sure it’s not too much.
I have one word of wisdom: aerosol hairsporay. Okay, so it’s two words. In this humidity and heat, it can be your best friend for keeping a hairdo in place.
Meet & greet
You’ve probably spent a lot of time choosing your dress, trying out hairstyles and new make-up. But don’t forget to compliment your date on his dashing ensemble as well!
Photos, photos, #photos. Get the goofy ones and the serious ones, but remember your posture no matter the pose. Shoulders back, inhale, exhale-with-a-smile!
When you leave, let your date hold the door for you.
If you’ll be walking along a sidewalk, let your date walk on the side closest to the street.
Turn your cell phone off (or put it on vibrate at least) before entering the dining area.
Let your date pull out your chair for you.
Always place your napkin on your lap once you’ve been seated. If you have to get up, place it in your chair — not on the table. Don’t put your napkin on the table until you are finished eating.
If you’re seated with a big group, make sure you aren’t yelling down to the person on the other end.
Wait until everyone is served before eating.
At the table, start with the fork on the outside and work your way inside; the salad fork on the outside is used first, then the dinner fork.
When you are finished with a course, neatly place the silverware you used face down on your plate.
And, of course, do not talk with your mouth full, no crunching ice cubes and (if in an American context) no hands on the table.
Above all… have fun! (And send us some pictures, okay?)