I host a lot more dinner parties than I attend, so it’s always a refreshing pleasure when I’m a guest at someone’s house for dinner. I love to see how other hosts put on a meal — what sort of food they serve, how many courses, what they pour to drink, which flowers they decorate with. To be a phenomenal hostess, I believe you also have to know what it takes to be an exceptional guest. I try to act like I want people to behave at my parties — that is engaging, interested, and effervescent. Here are some tips on how to be a good dinner party guest. Remember, practice makes perfect, so get out there and socialize!
• Make sure to RSVP in a timely manner. Even if you’re declining, always reply to a dinner party invitation because it’s respectful to let the host know you can’t make it.
• Ask if you can contribute anything. Simply say, “can I bring something?” Be it a bottle of sparkling rose, a cherry clafoutis for dessert, or a wedge of pungent creamy cheese, a sensational hostess will known exactly what she needs and she won’t be afraid to tell you to bring it. Respect her wishes and bring what she wants!
• Often times a host will say they don’t need anything, however as a guest, I still like to bring something small to show my appreciation for the invitation. If I’m dear friends with the host, I’ll select a little surprise I know they will enjoy. If the host is more of an acquaintance, I’ll bring a bottle of alcohol or a bouquet of flowers already in a vase.
• Unless advised otherwise, do not arrive early to the dinner. Come 10-15 minutes late, but not later than 40 minutes, which is about how long cocktail hour will last.
• Do dress up! It’s a dinner party, why not wear something fabulous and chic?
• Put your cell phone away. It’s just plain rude to talk or text in the middle of a dinner party. I recently went to a dinner where one of the guests was on his cell phone, texting and social media-ing, the entire dinner party. It was disgusting! It wasn’t my party, so I didn’t say anything, but if it had been an event at my house, I would have confiscated his phone. If you must use your phone, excuse yourself quietly and talk in another room.
• Be willing to sit wherever the host wants you to sit. He has your best interest at heart.
• Have fun. Make new friends. Bring up provocative topics of discussion. Be happy.
• The next day send a thank you note (or text or email) to your hostess letting them know what a splendid time you had.