Head Table Etiquette

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by PeterLT, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. PeterLT

    PeterLT Premium Member

    85
    1
    6
    I am trying to settle a disagreement that has sprung up at my lodge about head table guests at an installation dinner. I know it's not nice to point out differences in public but I thought I'd ask around to be sure of myself so as to provide timely council.

    My successor wishes to have the head table served last at his installation dinner. He says that it is a common practice in American lodges, is this true? He also says that it would impart a lesson of "true Masonic service to others". While I don't entirely disagree with this idea, I don't think it should be done with the Grand Master (who is attending), the DDGM and other honored guests, strictly as a matter of protocol.

    Also, having been more or less raised in Her Majesty's Canadian Army, I've always been told that the head table is served first for two reasons. First, it is a courtesy afforded to their rank and standing. Second, by the time the head table is finished eating, the rank and file are still chewing thereby keeping a serene atmosphere for the speeches, awards and whatever.

    I would be interested in hearing the Brethren's views on this.

    Peter
     
  2. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

    1,095
    17
    38
    Ive always seen the head table seated and served first.
     
  3. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    2,353
    25
    38
    i'm not big on these kinds of specifics, but it would seem easier for the head table to go first.

    "would you mind chairing the committee for this decision? i expect at least 3 meetings for discussion before such a decision could be made" would be my response to anyone questioning my decision on "who gets served first"
     
  4. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

    764
    2
    0
    I've always seen the head table served first, pretty much for the reasons you listed from the military.
     
  5. S.Courtemanche

    S.Courtemanche Premium Member

    213
    6
    38
    Dave is corect, for the military. The head table is always first. As for the situation mentioned, I would imagine it being the same, for all of the reasons you mention.
     
  6. PeterLT

    PeterLT Premium Member

    85
    1
    6
    Thank you all for your input. Ultimately, I will only be the IPM and the new WM will make his decision regardless of my guidance. I just wanted to be sure that I wasn't leading him in a wrong direction. However I may feel, if this is what he wants then so be it, let the chips fall where they may.
     
  7. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

    376
    8
    18
    I see no to disagree since everyone is right! Its a matter of courtesy and practicality (speeches, etc.). I think his idea is a bit off the wall and ill advise, particularly since the Grand Master will be in attendance.

    I looked through the chapter on "festive boards, speeches,etc." in the book Freemasonry and Its Etiquette. And while I didn't see a reference to this issue directly, there are other sections that might be related and, thus, of interest.
     
  8. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

    764
    2
    0
    Another table serving rule to go by is that Honored Guests are always served first, and Honored Guest always sit at the Head Table, hence the Head Table should be the first served. My grandmother drilled all of these things into me as a kid.
     
  9. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

    0
    0
    0
    I hate to disagree with this bunch.. ! but it is his installation as Worshipful Master.. ! he should conduct his installation as he desires.. !
     
  10. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    4,300
    1,090
    183
    Devil's Advocate checking in here: as DDGM, the various Lodges in my District insisted on serving me first which made me very uncomfortable. I was trained to take care of my troops first, and then tend to my own needs. Were I at the head table, I would have no problem with being served last.

    Many have commented on this site about Grand Lodge officers acting as though they thought they were "above" or "better" than their Brethren. What better example of serving the Brethren could they set than insisting that they be served last?
     
  11. Papatom

    Papatom Premium Member Premium Member

    87
    1
    0
    Very wise thoughts, Brother Bill. It would sure seem that it should be done this way, after all it is the troops that pay the way.
     
  12. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

    1,095
    17
    38
    Bro Bill, in the military you also learned that high ranking officers were the last to get on a vehicle and the first off...
     
  13. PeterLT

    PeterLT Premium Member

    85
    1
    6
    All great points. Ultimately, it'll be up to my successor to have his installation his way. But something tells me I'll start my job as IPM with straightening bent noses and discretely apologizing.
     

Share My Freemasonry