Summer Party Host Etiquette Tips

July 16, 2012  |     |   0 Comment

I love this time of year.  The warm weather and sunshine naturally lift the human spirit and encourage a reason to come together to celebrate as family and friends.  I also love to entertain and take full advantage of doing so during the summer.  The duties of a host are numerous regardless of whether the party is informal or formal.  A host must take time to plan, prepare, decorate, cook or hire caterers for the party in addition to making sure all of the guests are having fun.  Here are some “good host” etiquette tips to consider if you want your party to be memorable and successful:

1.  Provide a Clear Invitation

The invitation to your guests should provide enough information so that they can anticipate if the party is casual or formal, what the appropriate attire should be, the time they should arrive, and date by which to RSVP.  When I hold a party, I also like to inform my guests who else will be there, and do so when they RSVP.  I find it provides a sense of comfort or a framework for them in advance of attending the party.

2. Be Organized


Hosting a party, whether small or large, formal or informal, can be stressful.  The key to reducing your stress is all in the preparation!  Try to do as much as you can ahead of time.  Enlist help if you need it.  Make lists and set dates to accomplish everything on your list prior to the party date. By doing so, you will feel more relaxed during the party and have the opportunity to have fun and enjoy your guests.

3.  Make Your Guests Feel Welcome


When your guests arrive, make sure you greet each one warmly and genuinely.  If a guest has brought you a bottle of wine or host gift, be sure to thank them.  If they have brought you flowers, have a vase ready so that you can place them in it immediately and display them at the party. Focus on making your guests feel welcome throughout your party.  Keep an eye on their beverage and refill their glass when it is empty; introduce your guests to others they might not know; take time to have a conversation with each and every one of your guests.

4.  Always be Gracious

It is not unusual for unexpected issues to arise during your party.  Keep calm and carry on – graciously.  If a guest should cancel at the last minute, thank them for calling you and let them know they will be missed.  If an invited guest arrives with an uninvited guest, smile and welcome the newcomer.  While it is rude of an invited guest to spring such a situation on you, being a polite host is always the route to follow.  Make the best of it.  If you are hosting a cocktail party, this really should not be a huge issue.  If you are hosting a sit down dinner, discreetly set another dinner place and take a little less food for yourself (same goes for the rest of your family) to ensure the additional guest will have enough to eat.

5.  Be Generous


When it comes to preparing the amount of food and beverage to have during your party, it’s better to have more than less. No guest should ever leave hungry or thirsty from your party.  If a situation like the one above should happen, you would be set! If you are hosting a cocktail party, ensure that there are enough hors d’oeuvres being served around on trays as well as setting up a stationary food table so guests can help themselves.  Encourage guests to visit the food table.  The same holds true if you are holding an informal buffet.  If you are hosting a sit-down meal, it’s a good idea to have enough food prepared so that you can offer your guests more food if they desire. As for beverages, it’s always good to have a sense of the preferences of your guests and have enough in stock.  Be sure to include non-alcoholic beverages as well as coffee and tea.

6.  Mingle and Make Small Talk

Take the time to mingle and converse with your guests.  Do not be a prisoner to your kitchen!  Demonstrate your interest in your guests by being prepared to ask them questions about themselves as well as being able to make small talk. Read a newspaper, watch the news, be on top of pop-culture.  No two guests are alike – be ready to tackle any subject.  Small talk is what we do to be polite and to connect to another person – you don’t need to know a subject matter indepthly – just enough to hold a polite conversation.

7.  Be Appreciative


When your guests leave your party, walk each one to your door and thank them for attending your party.  If they brought you wine, a host gift or flowers, be sure to thank them again for their thoughtfulness.


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