You might think you are the perfect party guest and that you fully remember all of the proper party manners you should be utilizing. However, most people have forgotten at least some of these party etiquette rules for when you’re a guest at someone’s gathering. It is important to be respectful and thoughtful and be the guest that people want to have over and that they will be glad to invite over again! This is why the party experts at Cashmere Dreams wants to provide this little refresher on some of the important party etiquette rules people seem to have forgotten today:
Always Make Sure to RSVP
Formal RSVPs are seen as old fashioned and outdated today by many, but just because you might be doing the invitations and party planning over email or text doesn’t mean it is ok to just assume the hosts is planning on you being there. Even if no RSVP is requested, do it anyway- even if it is a quick text to confirm yes or no- so your host knows how many people to be planning for. Giving an RSVP is a way to show you respect the host and understand they need to know how many people to plan for when it comes to seating, venue, and food plans. So always be the decent human being, honor party etiquette, and RSVP!
Bring Something For The Host
It’s never good form to show up empty-handed. It doesn’t matter if you are going to a party hosted by your best friend or your own mother! The host of the party should get something as a thank you for being the kind and gracious host for the party. You should arrive with gifts that is memorable and nice even if it is simple and inexpensive. There are many hospitality gifts you can choose from that do not have to be expensive. Common gifts include flowers, wine, party favors, chocolates, homemade goodies, and similar items you know your host will like and appreciate!
Ask About House Rules and Routines
Don’t be afraid to clarify traditions and dos and don’ts that might be different than at your home. This is especially true when you are visiting someone’s home for the first time. Should you take your shoes off when you get inside the house? Are there pets in the house that are not allowed to get outside? Should you leave the door locked when you leave? Are dishes washed by hand or are they dishwasher safe? Are there any other similar rules that guests should know about? There is no shame in asking these kinds of questions and actually show that you are concerned about doing things correctly and making this easier on your host.
Help Out Around the House Where You Can
It can never hurt to help out during a party. Most hosts may say they do not need help with big tasks like cooking or setting the table but there are other things you can do that can help make things easier on them. Make yourself useful by doing smaller tasks that can help reduce the load of work on your host- clear dishes off the table, help bring out the desserts, load the dishwasher, or be the drink runner. Don’t linger and hover to the point you are in the way, but always offer a helping hand and remind the host that you are willing to help with any task that they may need help with, no matter how small it may seem. With this party etiquette rule, at least offering to help is enough; remember if they decline your help you have done your part and should not feel bad if they do not accept your help.
Ask Before Using Their Belongings
The next party etiquette rule is also a big one. It’s easy to feel comfortable when you are a guest in someone’s home, especially if they are wonderful hosts and make you feel welcomed and relaxed. However, it’s always nice to ask before touching their stuff. Inviting you to visit their home is not the same as inviting you to take control and get access to everything in their home! Be sure to ask first if you need or wish to use something belonging to your host. They likely have plates and cups and silverware set out so if you need something that has not been put out for the party, be sure to ask before you go rummaging around trying to find it!
Don’t Smoke if the House is Non-Smoking
Not even outside! Respect them enough to not even smoke outside or before you arrive so you are not bringing in the smoke smell when you come into their home. It is a major slap in the face of your host to smoke when they do not smoke or if they ask you not to smoke. Even going outside to smoke can still bring smoke smell into the house on your clothes or is someone opens the door while you are still smoking. It is more than just a matter of someone not smoking or liking the smell- for many people smoke can make them sick. So be a good guest and do not insult your host by smoking.
Ask Before Bringing A Guest to the Party
Some parties are super casual with it being more like a friendly gathering and others are more formal where things are more carefully planned. This is why it is always polite to ask about bringing guests. Never just show up unannounced if you are the one who found out about a party from another friend and never just show up with the unexpected guest in tow. Doing this is beyond inconsiderate and is rude to the host who has made special plans. Even if it is your best friend, your husband who suddenly is free the day of that party or your kids you are unable to find a babysitter for. Never add uninvited guests to the party or you will be guilty of breaking one of the party etiquette rules!
Ask Before Bringing Your Dog or Cat
When you are going to a party at someone else’s home, it is best to leave Muffin or Fido at home. Do not bring the pets to the party with you unless the host specifically asks you to. If you normally bring your pets with you when you are away from the house be sure to ask well ahead of time if they can come and if the host says no then respect their wishes. This can be a terrible imposition to bring pets into a house where people are not used to being around animals. And if they have pets, you will likely spend the party playing referee at least one dogfight. Always respect wishes and don’t bring pets uninvited!
Never Discount the Hosts’ Time and Plans
When your host gives you a time for the party to start, it is usually best to arrive on time- a few minutes early or a few minutes late is fine. This is one of the big party etiquette rules that many seem to forget or ignore! If you are told to arrive at a certain time such as just in time for dinner to be ready, then you need to be there early enough to get washed up and help set the table. Never show up late and expect the host family to wait for you. If you are running late and are able to, call to let them know so they are not sitting there waiting and wondering where you are and putting off other plans in order to wait for you. Tell them what is going on and tell them to start without you and you will be there as soon as you can.
Don’t Ask For Something Not Set Out
If it is small things that are commonly used with the meal or a party then you should be ok asking the host for it. If there is no salt and pepper or it seems the ketchup was forgotten with the other condiments on the table then ask the host where you can find it and help them get things for the table. However, if there are more specialized items you are needing it may be best to avoid asking for them. In most cases, your host will have put out the things they want to use for the party. So, avoid asking for a special type of glass or mug for your drinks or for other items that no one else is using. This is a big taboo and breaks one of the party etiquette guidelines that used to be firmly entrenched in party protocol.
Try to Mingle With People You Don’t Know
It can be difficult to socialize with people you do not know well. Many people find it hard to break the ice and talk to new people, but it’s important to make an effort to get out and mingle with people at the party and not to be cliquey. Few things are worse for a host than watching their guests conversing in little cliques and not including other people. They have put all this time and effort and money into making a great party and people are just sitting and talking in groups and no one is really having a lot of fun. This puts a lot of pressure on your host and cam make them feel like they didn’t plan well enough.
Make Sure You Do Not Stay Too Long
If there has been no set time established for how long the party will last, try to be open to signals that the host is ready to get their home back and wind down for the night. It is always better to leave while your host is still wishing the party would continue another half hour than to stay an hour past the point where your host wishes they were in a quiet empty home. Always be mindful of your Host. They have been planning and working before the party even started and the entire time the party has been going on so treat them with respect and be mindful of how long you are staying and hanging out. Common courtesy is a big part of honoring the party etiquette rules that make a party enjoyable for all.
Thank Your Host Before You Leave
There are many great examples of party etiquette tips to keep in mind when attending a party adn they even extend to after the party. When the time comes to leave, make sure you do not just slip out the door. Also, do not just yell out a quick goodbye as you are standing in the doorway either. Find and thank your host for the gathering. Shoe appreciation for the time and effort they put into hosting the party and mention something specific about the event that you enjoyed. It could be the food, the décor, the music, or anything else that you really liked. Be authentic in your praise and depart on a high note. It will help your host feel good and will also put you in a good light and on the ‘invite again’ list!
Send a Thank You Note After the Party
If you want to go the extra mile and show your appreciation to your host you can send them a nice thank you letter or card after the party. Just like sending a thank you letter for a nice gift doing the same for a nice party can be a great way to show your gratitude. Thank them again for inviting you to the party and for a wonderful time. Write a personal note about something you really liked or appreciated or mention who much you appreciate the time they took to plan such a wonderful event. It does not have to be anything long or fancy but taking the time to send a card with a handwritten note can be a nice touch after a great party. This is a forgotten party etiquette rule that needs to make a comeback!
Contact Us For More Party Etiquette Tips
Worrying about the venue, the decorations, the food, the event, and everything involved with a large party can quickly overwhelm even the most determined hosts. But thankfully there is a way to save yourself from the stress so you can enjoy your party even more- work with a skilled and experienced party planner! Following these basic but important party etiquette reminders can help make the party great for all. Cashmere Dreams is ready to help with your event planning and coordination and we invite you to call us today to learn more about how we can help make your planning less stressful. Let us help you be the talk of the town and throw the party everyone will be talking about for all the right reasons!