Minding Your Manners - Tips for being a great guest!

by Holly Brown

The holiday season means more parties to attend and host. Throwing a party can practically induce an anxiety attack on the part of the host, especially if it’s not something they do often. Whether it’s an intimate dinner for 6, or a lavish affair for 100, the planning, organization, and execution of a party require time and effort. Anyone who’s ever had a party knows what it takes. Planning the theme, inviting and confirming guests, developing the menu, purchasing food, wine, flowers, candles, etc. is hard work. Then, of course, there’s the cooking and cleaning. If you have the good fortune to be an invited guest, it’s practically your duty to be a great guest, and show your appreciation for the invitation! Mind your manners by following these simple tips, and you’ll be invited back again and again!

RSVP – This should be the simplest thing of all, but I’m often amazed when people don’t respond or wait until the last minute. Worse yet, they don’t show up after they’ve said they’ll attend.

Don't be a maybe – It’s not polite to leave your host guessing. Let them know how many to plan for, so food and drink can be plentiful for all.

Never show up empty handed. Ask the host what you can bring. If cooking isn’t required, it’s easy to come with wine, flowers, or a small host/hostess gift. A kind gesture, not big expense, will make your host feel appreciated.

Know if it’s a kid friendly event – Dinner at someone’s home doesn’t mean it’s automatically a kid friendly party. Ask ahead, and then offer to bring something for kids to eat (and do) in case there’s no kids menu or activity planned.

What to wear – Dress as if you’re going out! The party description should give you a hint. If in doubt, ask the host. You can’t go wrong with “smart but casual.”

To clean or not to clean – Don’t start cleaning up unless or until the host is doing so. While your host will appreciate your help, he or she is probably just beginning to relax toward the end of the evening. If you start cleaning, they’ll feel like the party is over!

Show your appreciation with a hearty thank you – A card is nice, but a simple and timely text, e-mail, or call the next day will make your host feel the love after the event. Simple gestures have big impact.

Table setting tips (for guests and hosts alike) - visit TheBrownLounge.com, check out my blog post, “Anatomy of a Dinner Party, or find our photos on Pinterest. You’ll see how to set a lovely dinner table and be sure you know which utensil to use when!

For entertaining ideas, menus, recipes, seasonal specialties, and our FoodieTV show visit TheBrownLounge.com. It’s where food, wine, and friends meet!

Here’s to your next dinner gathering!

Holly Brown, Publisher, Foodie, WebTV Host

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