This is a guest post from Slave Dove. I am unsure where it originated, but am sharing it here from a now defunct website.
These dinners are what many would view as a "scene" but they are not play parties. No one is available for physical "use" it is formal Old Guard Domination and submission at its gratifying best. Although to make things easier I write in Male-Top / fem-sub terms, the dinner is pansexual.
Planning your Dinner:
I recommend the people invited to your home for a Master's Banquet are coupled and in power exchange relationships. The guest list should be confined to the number that can be seated comfortably at the dining room table. This type of dinner does not work for casual buffet style dining. Although you can alter the dinner to a fit less formal style, you will lose much of the ritual and meaning if you do.
If your table accommodates 8 people, then four couples would be the maximum. Choose an elegant but simple menu. The main course should be something that you can easily prepare for a group, for example, a Prime Rib roast or Cornish Game Hen. Something like steak is not a good idea because you need to cook each one individually. That could lead to some of your guest waiting to be served and you want above all for the dinner to go smoothly.
You may also want to consider asking a close friend to help you with the pre-dinner preparations.
Before The Guests Arrive:
- There should be very little conversation between the serving submissive and the guests. Therefore the aspects of a ritualistic dinner should be given to the guests prior to the evening of the dinner.
- Remove every other chair at the table, giving the dominants the opportunity to decide whether his submissive will be seated at the table or the on the floor at his right.
- Note - The left side remains open as that is the side where food and beverage will be served.
- Select a tablecloth and napkins that will compliment your table settings.
- Real table linens should be used rather than the disposable paper kind.
- The linens must be spotlessly clean and crispy pressed.
- Remember this is a feast to honor the Masters/Mistresses present and should be fit for Kings and Queens!
- Place enough candles on the table to ensure good lighting.
- Unscented candles are advised so they don't compete with the aroma of the food.
- Rather than a customary "floral arrangement" for the table, I recommend something that sets the appropriate "tone" a riding crop, lengths of chains or some other implement symbolic of the physical power dynamic of Master/slave relationships.
Setting Your Table:
Dinner plates and silverware:
- Set your table with your finest china, glassware, and silverware you own.
- If you have a set of "chargers" (A large plate - sometimes made of brass or other metal) make this the foundation of your table setting. As courses are served and the dinner plates are changed, the charger will remain as part of the table setting no matter which course is being served. It is used to maintain the place setting so that at no time will a guest be staring at the linen rather than a plate during course changes.
- If you do not own a set of chargers use a linen place mat or just skip this part, primarily it's there for formal decorative purposes and will not drastically affect the dinner.
- If you plan to serve 8, you will need to have 16 dinner plates.
- Place an empty dinner plate on top of each of the 4 chargers on the table.
- The host will have two plates resting on his charger (this will be explained later).
- When setting your table no salad or soup plates should be placed over the dinner plate. The reason for this is the silverware is NOT placed to the left and right of the plates (as is customary for "normal" dinner parties.) Instead, the knife and fork are placed in an "X" across the empty dinner plate.
Meaning and Symbolism:
The knife and fork are placed in an X on the dinner plate. This is done to allow the dominant to communicate he does not yet wish food without having to speak to the server. A request for food to be served is indicated when the dominant "uncrosses" the knife and fork and placing it to the left and right of his dinner plate.
Attentiveness to this gesture prompts the serving submissive to respond to the unspoken desire of the dominant. She is then allowed to speak, to inform the dominant that soup and/or salad is the first course of the planned menu and will ask which of the two is desired first.
- With the exception of wine, no other alcoholic beverages are served with dinner.
- All glassware (including water glasses) are placed on the table "upside down."
- There is also a small glass plate beneath every upside down glass.
Meaning and Symbolism:
Much like the knives and forks, the dominant is able to indicate his desire for water or wine without having to speak to the serving submissive by turning the applicable glass "right side up." As long as the glass is right side up, it should be refilled every time its contents fall to 1/3 of the capacity of the glass.
The small glass plate the glass was sitting on is placed on top of the glass to abort automatic refilling of the glass. (Unspoken meaning, "what I have in my glass is sufficient, please do not refill it further.)
- Once the serving submissive sees the small glass plate on top of the wine or water glass, she will remove it.
- She must commit to memory the fact that he used the small glass plate once and she will not refill the glass again.
Place settings for the slave:
- Set a place mat on the floor in the empty place to the right of the dominant. This will protect the rug from lapping and spilling accidents and indicate where the submissive will be seated.
- There is no need to set plate and silverware on the floor.
- Each Master will give his submissive a plate and silverware after he has been fed and when he desired her to eat.
- Serving begins with the first guest seated to the left of the host and continues to the left, counterclockwise, around the table.
- The host is always the last to be served.
- His guests are always served first as a symbol of his honor at their acceptance of his invitation to the dinner.
- If more than one dominant uncrosses his knives and forks at the same moment, the server should respond to the first dominant to the left of the host and continue to the left until each one is properly served.
- The serving submissive never makes direct eye contact with the guests seated at the table.
- She never speaks except to offer menu selections after the dominant indicate he desires food.
- Dinner is served in courses and the dominant will indicate he is finished with any particular course by placing the used silverware face down on the plate or bowl. (Example: A soup spoon would be placed with the "bowl side" of the spoon facing down when he is finished.)
- If the soup is consumed and the soup spoon is NOT placed in this manner in the bowl, the bowl will be refilled.
- This is to provide a second serving for the dominant's submissive.
- Remember them?
- They are probably sitting on the floor next to their partners.
- At this time if a Master wishes his slave to have soup, the soup bowl will be refilled because he didn't place the spoon, bowl side down into the plate.
- The second servings will either be for him, or for the purpose of feeding his slave.
- More often than not, the dominant will remove the second helping of soup from the table entirely, and place it on the floor for his slave to eat.
- The salad is served in the same way and the placement of the salad fork in the bowl with the tines curved down is an indication that no more salad is desired, either for the master or for his slave.
- After the first course, dishes are removed and the main course is ready to be served the dominant will place his knife across the dinner plate indicating he wants all of the meat cut into small pieces.
- Note - The dinner plate is still on the charger because the soup and salad were served in their own dishes or bowls.
- At this point, the empty plate is removed, and a new plate with the main course is set in its place.
- The empty plate you removed goes back to the kitchen to allow "extra helpings" to be served on a fresh plate.
Meaning and Symbolism:
A knife placed diagonally on the dinner plate indicates the meat should be cut into small pieces. The meat is cut so the dominant can hand feed his slave from the table without having to cut the meat.
- Again, an indication that the main course has been finished and no refills are desired is accomplished by crossing the knife and fork on the dinner plate.
The serving submissive:
In most instances, the serving submissive is the host's slave.
Although the serving submissive does not speak to the other submissives while she is attending to the dominants at the table, it's acceptable and encouraged that the slaves under the table show affection and appreciation by gentle touches or playful tickles as she passes by.
Submissive Conduct during Dinner:
Perhaps you're wondering what the slaves should be allowed to do throughout the evening and during the pre-dinner conversation between the dominants.
Usually, the slaves are permitted to talk "under the table". The evening should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all in attendance; therefore unless a slave has been instructed not to speak they are encouraged to enjoy chatting with each other under the table. It's actually a beautiful picture, picture relaxed dominants sitting at a fine table with their contented slaves sitting at their feet, happily chatting with each other. The slaves need to be mindful that their conversation doesn't disrupt the men or that it doesn't get so loud the men find they are trying to talk over the ruckus under the table.
(If this unfortunately happens, a tapping of silverware against a drinking glass is given as a warning and should be instantly headed!)
When the first course is served, the plate is prepared in the kitchen and brought into the dining room. Place the soup bowl or salad plates on top of the empty dinner plate that is set on the decorative charger.
The main course is usually a meat dish, such as prime rib and is served whole or cut into bite-sized pieces depending on the dominants wishes indicated by the placement of his knife.
After the main course has been served and all have finished their meal they will indicate so by placing the silverware face down on their plates.
The host is the only one who will not place his silverware face down. Remember he has one 'extra' dinner plate under his at all times. Instead of crossing the knife and fork, he will indicate it's his slave's turn to eat by putting an extra plate over his food stained dinner plate.
This is an indication for the serving submissive to fill the plate for herself.
She will return the full plate to her Master, who will decide if she is to eat standing up or on the floor at his side. The meat will automatically be cut so he can feed her if he wishes, or he may place the plate on the floor showing that she is to feed herself.
She will have no utensils available and will eat using her hands.
The time it takes for the serving submissive to eat or be fed is used for the dominants to digest, engage in more conversation and generally relax before desert.
When the serving submissive has been fed to her Master's satisfaction, he will invite the dominants to join him in the living room. If there are doors between the dining room and the living room close them.
All the slaves help to clear the table, straighten the kitchen and prepare the dining room for dessert. (It also allows them to stretch their legs as they have probably been on the floor for 2-3 hours at this point.)
The chargers are removed at this time.
If the tablecloth is soiled it should be replaced as well.
Set the table with coffee cups, dessert plates, cream and sugar and fresh napkins.
The Dessert Course:
Once again the dessert fork is placed diagonally on the dish when the dominant removes the fork it means dessert is desired.
Coffee cups are placed upside down and a tea bag is placed on top of every upside down coffee cup. If a dominant would like tea instead of coffee, he will turn the coffee cup right side up and place the tea bag in the cup.
If not, he will remove the tea bag from on top of the cup and place it to the side.
A coffee cup turned right side up means he wants coffee. Coffee and tea will be refilled until the dominant indicates he is satisfied by placing his spoon in the cup.
What to wear?
The serving slave wears a dressing gown, is often barefoot and wearing a slave anklet with bells. That way as she is moving about a delightful chime is heard.
Unless the dinner invitation states dressy or formal, dominants should dress casual and comfortable. Like you're going to a casual restaurant.
The submissives dress in accordance to their Master's wishes although nudity is an option it is discouraged. The focus is changed radically by nudity or lingerie.
If you desire your slave to wear something other than street clothes I recommend a long dressing gown. Satin or velvet is nice, something sexy but modest.
For your private pleasure, the submissive may be nude under her dressing gown.
I suggest the slaves bring a robe and change once they arrive.
Are collars, cuffs and other paraphernalia acceptable?
Some wear a symbolic item such as collars, cuffs or even nipple clamps under their robes. Others have taken their meals on the floor while blindfolded or tied to their Master's chairs.
Do the submissives have to sit on the floor?
Some masters have requested their slave eat at the table with them due to physical restrictions.
Other Masters wishing their slave to observe and learn how to conduct a formal dinner make the request to have their slave seated in a chair at their right. (Although this practice is generally confined to couples who have never attended a formal D/s dinner)
In closing, I would like to say that participating in a formal D/s Dinner will be a rewarding adventure and you will find a bonding and camaraderie forms between those that share the experience. Your guest will cherish the memory.
Books about Formal Food Service