How to Throw a Formal Ladies Lunch

When ordering Sweetgreen just won’t cut it.

How to Throw a Formal Ladies Lunch

Remember earlier this summer when we brought you how-to’s for hosting an elegant brunch and a family-style dinner party? Today we’re bringing it all home with a menu and table settings for a formal ladies’ lunch from Monique Otero of Brunchpants. Fancy!

And because it’s not enough to give advice as to what to eat or how to decorate, we’ve got Myka Meier of Beaumont Etiquette to give us tips on behaving like the composed, well-behaved adults we are. This is a formal lunch, after all.

To set the table, aim for a color scheme in coral, cream, and green—these colors mimic those in the menu below. Color coordination = pro move. These porcelain dishes are from Raynaud, and they’re in the Cristobal Coral pattern. Another pro move? Use wine corks as place-card holders. Slice the cork lengthwise in a shallow cut, and then slip your place card into the cut.



1. For formal dining, a dessert spoon and dessert fork are always placed at the top of the place setting, with the bowl of the spoon always facing left and fork prongs facing right; dessert cutlery are the only pieces placed above the plate.

2. The bread plate should always be to the left of the main dining plate.

3. Main dining cutlery is set about 1.5 inches away from the end of the table and positioned so that the bottom of each piece is in line. There is no actual measurement that determines how far apart each piece of cutlery should be—the important thing is that each piece is equidistant from the others.



Pink grapefruit, elderflower soda & rosemary vodka cocktail

Micro-green salad with golden beets and burrata

Poached cod with lemon butter and grilled baby artichokes

Apricot pistachio panna cotta



Pink grapefruit, elderflower soda & rosemary vodka cocktail
Serves 1


– 2 ounces rosemary-infused vodka
– 2 ounces pink grapefruit juice
– 2.5 ounces elderflower soda
– Pink grapefruit rind for garnish

1. Using a martini shaker, fill with ice and add all of the ingredients except rind.
2. Shake well and serve in a tall glass filled with ice.
3. Garnish with a piece of pink grapefruit rind.

Creative Direction and Photography: Monique Otero@brunchpants

Etiquette:  Myka Meier@mykameier

Tableware sourced from Jung Lee NY@jungleeny

Photo studio - BFA Studios@BFA

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