We all know how much work goes into planning a party. If you’re fortunate enough to be invited to a soiree show your gratitude by endeavoring to be the best guest. Ever.
Most people would file this under “Duh” but here’s a refresher course on some basic etiquette tips to remember each time you’re invited to a dinner party.
The most important thing you can do when you’re invited to a party is to show up. I think every party host’s biggest nightmare is throwing a party and no one shows up. Or, let’s be honest, only the duds show up and you’re forced to tweeze conversation out of them all evening. Ugh.
As soon as you get the invitation, check your calendar and respond; yes or no. The host needs to be able to plan for menu and the proper mix of people to make a great party. Then get thee to the party!
The next nightmare is having a guest bring an extra uninvited guest. This might be okay at a large informal gathering but never for a dinner party.
Your host has gone through a great deal of effort to plan the evening, the food, the seating and mix of company. Adding an extra guest can be very problematic for your host.
What if the person you’re bringing was not invited for a good reason? Everyone has exes and enemies. Don’t do it.
Also, if you have food allergies or are on a special diet tell the host when you RSVP. Nothing is more awkward than serving beef wellington only to discover one guest is a vegetarian and another only eats foods with the letter Q in them.
Be on time.
Another “duh” but I see it all the time. Late happens. But call or text as soon as you know you’re running late with an accurate arrival time.
The host is juggling the timing of keeping food warm, having enough appetizers to last through cocktails and knowing when to move the party to the dinner table. Help a hostess out!
Let the host know they’ve done a great job and you appreciate all the effort. Compliment the food, show an interest in the décor, play the party games and be thankful you’re there.
Other cool things you can do for the host:
- Don’t just ask what you can bring, call on the way to the party and ask if they need anything from the store. There’s always something needed at the last minute, usually ice.
- Offer to be the late night taxi for those who shouldn’t drive home. This means you’ll be a designated driver so no drinking. This spares the hostess from unexpected overnight guests.
- Bring your camera to the party and send photos to the host the day after the party. Thank them for a “Picture Perfect Party”
- Pitch in at the party. Depending on how well you know the host and his or her level of comfort with help, (and whether they have hired help) – roll up your sparkly sleeves and get to work!
- What to do? Gather up dishes and take them to the kitchen. Fill a sink with hot water and wash up, if that’s appropriate. Empty the over flowing trash. Refill drinks, hang up coats, talk with shy people, circulate, be charming and look for opportunities to be helpful.
- Warning: there is a fine line between being helpful and taking over. Don’t cross that line!
- Let the hostess shine. If you want to shine, have your own damn party.
- Bring a hostess gift – The Diva’s Guide to Thoughtful, Creative (and inexpensive!) Hostess Gifts
- Say Thank You!
For the coup de gras of Divadom – write a thank you note. By hand. And get it in the mail ASAP.
The only thing better than a being a super Diva hostess is being a super Diva guest. This will make sure you’re a fixture on everyone’s Best Guest list.