British Columbia·OUR VANCOUVER

Show your best side to Mom this Mother's Day

Nina Durante shows Gloria Macarenko how to properly set a table and fold a fancy napkin. She also talks about the modern-day need for better manners and how they can make all occasions extra special.

Nina Durante of "Social Graces" offers etiquette classes for all ages

Nina Durante of Social Graces offers etiquette classes 6:35

You may think handing your Mom a bouquet of flowers might be a great gift, but it actually makes Mom work harder according to a Vancouver etiquette teacher.

"When you give cut flowers, they are going to have to take the time to cut them, arrange them, find a vase [and] especially if they're cooking dinner, they may not have time to do that," says Nina Durante, founder of etiquette school Social Graces in West Vancouver.

Durante recommends bringing either a full arrangement or a beautiful potted plant; both require little work.

Modern society, modern manners

It might seem to some that the manners of days gone by may no longer have a place in today's hectic, practical and fast-paced society, but Durante disagrees. 

"Even though we're a modern society, that doesn't mean there isn't a place for modern manners," she says.

According to Durante, taking time to set the table with the kids can do wonders in developing great manners and getting children involved.

"You don't have to be really fancy to have good manners.".

She says dining is the number one thing she hears from parents that they'd like their children to be better at.

For Mother's Day, she suggests having the kids take a minute to put together a handwritten menu that could be placed on each plate for the special occasion, closing with "Love you, Mom" at the bottom.

Durante gave tips to Our Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko on how to fold a napkin in the Windsor fold, saying a simple napkin can add just that little extra to lift up a meal.

​How to class it up

Durante also has quick tips to help if people find themselves in a place with a sophisticated table setting.

First, keep in mind that you are going to be eating from the outside in, she said.

You start with the cutlery on the outside first and work your way in with each successive course. That's how you can guess which fork or spoon to use next. 

Another question Durante gets is, how do you know which glasses are yours and which plates are yours when you first sit down?

A trick to use, according to Durante, is to form a "b" with your left hand and a "d" with your right hand — "b and d or bread and drink" shows that on your left you will have the bread plate and on your right will be your drinking glasses. 

Spelling out "BMW" also works: bread, meal, water, from left to right, will tell you where things will be, Durante added.