Dinner & Dancing in Downtown Savannah

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Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah | 11 Magnolia Lane

I know I’ve mentioned before that I just love the school my kids attend in downtown Savannah; it’s been the perfect fit for our family.  We’ve been fortunate enough to find one in downtown Southern Pines that is going to be very similar, I think, but during these past few weeks we’ve been savoring all of our “lasts” of the school year–until my husband retires and we return permanently to Savannah, that is.  And no, we don’t know when that will be yet, just that it must happen eventually!

My son, who’s finishing 9th grade, attended the annual Headmaster’s Dinner this past weekend.  The school is too small for a traditional prom, but this is really a much better fit for the ethos of the school anyway.  Every year, the headmaster hosts a dinner for the 9th-12th graders at my friend Amy’s beautiful historic home on Forsyth Park.  They enjoy a formal, seven-course dinner followed by ballroom dancing in the courtyard.

Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah | 11 Magnolia Lane

The invitations arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, and they had to write a proper response to their hosts–none of those new-fangled stamped, self-addressed response cards.  {They are a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but I will also admit that I grew up reading Miss Manners, Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, and the Service Etiquette book, just for fun, so you know that I’m kind of weird right off the bat!}

Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah

In preparation for the dinner, the students attended a coat-and-tie “etiquette luncheon” at one of my favorite Savannah restaurants, The Olde Pink House.  They walked over to Reynolds Square one school day at noon and were seated in the purple room upstairs for three courses of delicious food–and lessons on proper table manners.  I was happy to hear that despite what I see at home sometimes, Connor used his best table manners at the lunch!

Black tie was optional the night of the Headmaster’s Dinner, and Connor really liked his seersucker suit and bowtie from Easter, so he wore that again.  I was a bit casual even for dropping him off and taking photos, but I had two other (military-related) events to attend that night and both were very informal, so I was a bit underdressed. Connor had a hard time keeping a straight face for the obligatory photos with Mom.

Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah | 11 Magnolia Lane

The parents were allowed to linger for the first 15-20 minutes, taking pictures on the front porch and across the street at Forsyth Park.  While the humidity was typical Savannah at 1000%, the rain we had worried about earlier held off all evening.

Amy has some beautiful antiques and always sets an elegant table.  Her Christmas party is one of my favorite events of the entire year.  While we’ve worked together on a few other school events {you can see one of them here}, I had very little to do with this beautiful evening; I had decorated for a couple of events earlier in the week so she kindly gave me the night off.  For the dinner, she chose low flower arrangements so as not to block conversation, and used books as decorations and favors:

Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah | 11 Magnolia Lane

It’s always fun to have a reason to pull out the nice china and the silver!

Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah | 11 Magnolia Lane

Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah | 11 Magnolia Lane

After pictures on the porch and in the park, the guests enjoyed a glass of punch before being seated for dinner.

Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah | 11 Magnolia Lane

At this point, the parents departed, but Connor told me that all seven courses were excellent.  They were served an appetizer, soup course, fish entrée, sorbet, beef entrée, salad course, and dessert, so they had lots of practice at the table, both with their table manners and their conversational skills!

The parents returned around 10:30 to pick them up; they were dancing in the courtyard when I arrived.  The students had attended several ballroom dancing lessons at the school prior to the event and while they pretty much stuck to a safe waltz box-step (with a few turns every once in awhile), I was happy to see that no one stomped on their partner’s toes and they were able to maintain a conversation while dancing!

Dinner and dancing in downtown Savannah | 11 Magnolia Lane

They all had a wonderful time, and I so appreciate that they gained practical experience in navigating polite society.  Those are life lessons that they will always find useful and relevant–good manners never go out of style!

Thanks for stopping by-


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  1. I love this! Manners and decorum are a lost art. Kudos to your school for teaching and encouraging the students in this way!

  2. Oh how i wish that etiquette was a required course, even if it were just for one semester….. The table is exquisite..such a lovely home and fabulous courtyard to entertain in…

  3. Oh how I love this! Makes me fondly remember my cotillion days; and I’m so glad to see that somewhere on this crazy planet manners and etiquette are still being taught! xx, b

  4. I love this! Appears as though all the young people really took an interest and enjoyed themselves. I was a fanatic about etiquette, manners, etc., when my kids were growing up. They hated it but very much appreciated it once they were older! 🙂 Occasionally we would have a “formal dinner night” at home ~ everyone had to dress for dinner, I used the linens, china, crystal, candles, etc. I wanted both of them to know which fork to use, which glass was used for each drink and you name it!


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