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11 Things To Know To Be the Perfect Dinner Guest

Updated: Apr 22

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together? Do the different generations get along? What personality types will enjoy interacting? When an invitation is extended it is expected those invited will elevate the atmosphere and be joyful participants in the celebration. When a guest shows up late or stands in a corner and does not mingle, this causes undo stress for the host. Listed below are a few obligations of a party guest.

1. Decide if you WANT to attend. If you want to attend, then decide if you CAN attend.

2. Respond (RSVP) to the invitation within 24-48 hours, and respond in the manner the hostess requested: email, phone call, etc.

3. Pick your outfit. If attire is not listed, ask the hostess what she is wearing.

4. Prepare your hostess gift. Some quick ideas: stationary; favorite wine; seasonal candle; homemade item.

5. Brush up on your dining etiquette with a quick tutorial.

6. Be on time to the party, which means no more than 15 minutes after the start time. (Open houses are different, as they are come and go.)

7. Once you arrive to the party offer to help the hostess with her duties. If she declines do not interfere. She may have a certain way she likes things managed, and your help could be a hindrance.

8. Introduce yourself to others at the party. When introducing two people, choose which person you want to receive the honor, and state their name first. Then proceed by introducing the other person to the honored person. Example: Your college roommate would be introduced to your grandmother (who you chose to honor with the introduction). “Grandmother (state the honored person’s name first), I would like to introduce to you my college roommate, Suzy. Suzy, this is my grandmother Mary Smith.” Most importantly, whether you remember the order or not, just make the introduction!

9. Socialize with the other guests. You were invited for a reason. Do your part and initiate conversation with others.

10. Participate if there is an activity planned. As an invited guest, share in the fun.

11. The day after a party, send a thank you note or make a phone call to say how much you appreciated being included.

There is nothing wrong with declining an invitation to an event you just do not wish to attend. The hostess has gone to a great deal of effort to put together a wonderful evening, and if you are not prepared to fully participate, it is better for you and the hostess if you stay home. When we are a guest, we have a responsibility to be a welcome addition to the party. This is the best way to show your love and gratitude for a wonderful evening!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou


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