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Respectfully Yours: Saying grace amazingly well at mealtime

Dear Jacquelyn,

Saying grace privately before a meal is a tradition I have always practiced. However, I often avoid saying grace when I host dinner parties because the situation feels awkward and uncomfortable. Can you please share some tips on how to say grace well in this social situation?

Dear Reader,

Saying grace before a meal, whether you’re the host or a guest, can be nerve-wracking. However, there are ways to say grace amazingly well in all situations.

When it comes to knowing how to say grace, it’s only natural that if you’re about to say it in front of a group of people, maybe some of whom you don’t know, then you might wonder whether what you’re about to say is the best thing to say.

Usually, grace consists of a few simple words of appreciation or a short prayer.

Traditionally, as the host or hostess you are the one who says grace. If you are uncomfortable saying it, you can ask someone else whether they will do the honor.

Always ask people privately whether they would like to say grace. If you ask them publicly to say grace and their answer is no, it’s going to be awkward for everyone.

If someone asks you to say grace and you’re not comfortable doing so, you can simply answer, “Thank you for asking. Not today. You’ll want to ask someone else.”

A long-standing etiquette that will never fade is a show of reverence.

Nothing at the table is passed or drink taken until after grace is said. Grace can be offered sitting or standing, and at the table or away from it.

If everyone isn’t going to be sitting at the same table, make sure to call all the guests together in the same room while grace is being said.

Reserving a moment at the beginning of a meal is a practice grounded in gratitude, something that benefits everyone.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2021 Jacquelyn Youst