Summer Party Guest Etiquette Tips

July 30, 2012  |     |   0 Comment

When you are invited to a party, no matter how casual or formal the event may be, you have an obligation to be a polite, mannerly, and considerate guest.  Here are some etiquette tips to keep in mind to ensure you live up to your guest duties and impress your host:

1.  Acknowledge and Respond to an Invitation


If you receive a verbal invitation to a party, let your host know right away whether or not you will be able to attend.  This enables your host to effectively plan for his or her event. You should never stand in the way of holding this up.  If you receive a written invitation with an RSVP date, be sure to honour it.

2.  Be Punctual


Generally, it is polite to arrive at a party at the time stated in the invitation.  However, it is acceptable to be “fashionably late” – which means arriving no later than 10 to 15 minutes past the time stated in the invitation. Never arrive early. Never cancel at the last minute except in a dire emergency.  Either is incredibly rude and inconsiderate and a definite way to never get invited back!

3.  Bring a Host Gift


Nothing says “thank you for the invitation” more than a host gift.  It is a considerate gesture and one that is certainly appreciated by a host.  Appropriate host gifts include flowers, wine, candles, chocolates or french-milled hand soap. Don’t expect that your gift will be unveiled and used during the party as there is no obligation by the host to do so.  It is a good idea to include a small card with your host gift so that when the host does unwrap it, he or she will know who it is from.

4.  Be Aware of Your Table Manners


If you have been invited to a sit-down meal, be aware of your table manners.  If you have a food allergy, it is your duty to alert your host ahead of time; it is considerate in such a situation to offer to bring a dish. Sit up straight and keep your elbows off the table.  Place your napkin on your lap – not tucked into the collar of your shirt. Engage in conversation with the person at either side of you.  Don’t use your neighbour’s bread plate or glassware! Your bread plate is to the left of your main place setting and your glassware is to your right. Use your utensils from the outside, in.  Cut your food one piece at a time.  When you are not using your utensils, place them in the “rest position” which is an inverted “V” with the the knife and fork crossed on the plate with the fork over the knife, tines pointed down, blade of the knife turned toward you.  Sip your beverage – never gulp it.

5.  Offer to Help


Depending on the circumstances of the party, your assistance may or may not be welcomed.  Some hosts prefer to do things on their own, while others would welcome assistance.  Never assume – ask first. If your host declines your offer to help, return to the party and enjoy yourself!  If they accept your help, be open to passing around hors d’oeuvres, pouring drinks, carrying platters from the kitchen to the table, clearing the table, or serving dessert.

6.  Don’t be “That Guest”


You know, the one who drank too much or had three servings of the meal! Practice moderation at all times.  As a guest, your intention should be to leave a positive impression upon your host and the other guests.  By indulging in food or alcoholic beverages, you run the risk of implying that eating and drinking are more important to you than the people present.

7.  Say Thank You


As you are getting ready to leave the party, find your hosts and personally thank them for their hospitality.  Compliment the food and how much you have enjoyed the evening. It is also polite to call your hosts the next day to thank them again.  If you attend a formal party, a hand written thank-you card is customary.  However, such a gesture, no matter how formal or informal the party, is always appreciated.





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