As the years go by and parties become more about getting together with your awesome friends since you all work so much, the rules and social etiquette for parties change without us even realizing it. The first time I noticed it, was when my boyfriend and I started consistently getting invited to our parent’s homes for meals and the amazing hosts they were. Sometimes it was a dinner party where other guests came and the special treatment they gave each other was something that had escaped me since I moved out of the house.
Not everyone had the same manners and etiquette taught to them as children, so some things I talk about may be completely new to you. However, I am making a pledge to re-instate these etiquette pieces of gold because everyone deserves to feel special, appreciated and memorable. Yes, when it comes down to it, etiquette is about respect and appreciation of those around you. So here I begin:
1. Invites & RSVPs are serious business.
I’ve been bad in the past at this one and with Facebook, somehow people feel that they have not been hand selected and invited.
For the host: Give guests enough time to keep that date free in their schedules. Be descriptive so guests know its level of formality, where it is and how long it is.
Guests: You must RSVP as soon as you can. And if plans change for you, it’s courteous to let your host know something came up instead of not showing up when they were expecting you. Just think it’s best to overcommunicate than to say nothing.
2. arrive Just on time.
It’s funny because everything else you should arrive early for – work, class, meeting a friend but this is a special case. You should definitely aim to arrive at the party start time (you have a 15 minute buffer). Why should you not arrive early? The hosts are most likely feeling a bit chaotic, and will be tied up with last-minute cooking or cleaning so you won’t get the warm welcoming you deserve and it will add stress to the hosts.
3. Bring a gift, but Keep it simple.
This could be tasty chocolates, a nice candle, a little bouquet of flowers in a vase, a basket of goodies from your own garden (love this idea), nicely-scented soap – these are things hosts will love that you bring. Your host will not, however, necessarily love having to scramble around in the kitchen (that’s already a mess for hosting the party) for a vase to hold plastic-wrapped flowers in.
4. offer your help.
Obviously what’s better than not making more work for the hosts is to help get the food on the table. Try saying, “What can I do to help?”.. to the host you may even be the most memorable person there! You will definitely be invited back again.
5. offer more than alcohol.
Of course I would be saying this. Not everyone drinks alcohol, so even if you’re making the most tasty drinks, offer an equally awesome nonalcoholic drink. Put it out with all the drinks so guests can pick what they’d like without tracking you down to make a special request. Also, label if it’s unclear what they are.
7. PLan the Seating at a large dinner.
It seems like it should be alright to let everyone pick where they want to sit but it can be daunting for guests at a long table. Assigning seats will make guest feel more at ease and splitting up couples and seating quieter people next to more chatty guests will foster a more chatty and fun party.
8. Stay off your phone.
Very casual, social parties like Halloween parties and open houses are a bit more flexible when it comes to looking at your phone. However as a rule of thumb, you should keep your devices stashed, with ringers off, at parties of all types. Don’t you want to meet some fun new people and hear awesome stories without being distracted. You can be glued to your phone when you are alone and elsewhere, but enjoy the moment with those people. And at dinner parties? Don’t even think about it.
If you must be reachable by phone for some situation, the polite thing to do is simply be upfront with your hosts and the other guests. Apologize honestly, briefly explain why you need to take that call or respond to that text, and then excuse yourself from the table to do so.
9. Keep the bathrooms stocked.
No on wants to be the one who made the party to run out of toilet paper! Make sure the bathroom is stocked with plenty of TP, soap and towels before your party. While you’re at it, put a plunger and a room spray in there for safe measure.
10. Treat bags are the best.
If you really want your guests to feel appreciated you can always make little treat bags or goodies for them to take home. This is even better for parties like a house warming or holiday party. It’s not a must but its definitely appreciated.
What are your pet peeves or party musts?