Entertaining Etiquette: Four Tips for Being the Best Guest

Entertaining Etiquette

By: Mary Sue Somyak

As the weather is finally warming, you may find a number of invites flooding your inbox and mailbox. With barbecues, showers and weddings on the horizon it may be difficult to juggle your schedule and know what commitments you can confirm upon receiving invitations. When you can attend, you might as well make it memorable, right? Whether you party hearty or keep your cool at social gatherings, here are four etiquette tips to ensure that you – and your host – have a great time.

1)    RSVP. Your friend was kind enough to invite you to her home, so please respond if you can attend or not. There are typically three options: yes, no and maybe. Please pick one. Don’t leave the invite idle in your Facebook Events, inbox or on your counter. If you aren’t sure, reply with a “Maybe” and follow up the week of the event. Even a last minute change is appreciated. Put yourself in the host’s shoes: wouldn’t you want to know how many drinks and grill items to buy and how many appetizers and sweets to make? Sure a “No” is a hard click or call to make, but it helps the host as they plan. Your host will understand, so please respond.

2)    Mingle. Have you ever been somewhere full of small circles of people chatting and you’re the odd one out? It’s the worst! If you are able, try to circulate among the groups to bring people together. If the host is busy, perhaps carry a tray of appetizers, offer to lead a game or man the music. It can be intimidating to meet new people, but if you feel that way then there are most likely others in the same boat. Grab a drink or a snack, smile and say hello. Take a chance. You never know who you may meet and what you may have in common.

3)    Don’t Arrive Empty-handed. Hosting a party can be an expensive endeavor, so it is respectful to arrive with a contribution. Maybe if you are known for your baked goods or dips offer to bring your best treats. If you don’t have a signature dish, the host will probably welcome you to add to the drinks or snacks stash, especially if the party lasts well into the evening. Of course there are extenuating circumstances, like arriving late after another event, for example, but for the majority of the time, it is a polite practice to bring something with you.

If you need some recipe inspiration, some of the Honey Good gals have you covered, including Chocolate Chip Cookies, Easy Layered California Guacamole or bring the ingredients to make fun drinks like The Dirty Monkey.

4)    Lend a Helping Hand. Do you notice that your host is a bit stressed? Offer to help, especially if people are coming in the door and food needs to come out of the oven. Your host may enjoy doing everything, but if you have exhausted your mingling and if you see her sweating she may need you. Whip up some drinks, refresh the chip bowl, clear empty plates and cups or help answer the door. Your host will be forever grateful.

No matter the gathering, a little effort to show some respect for your host can go a long way. Enjoy your upcoming parties and stay tuned for more in the Entertaining Etiquette series!

What am I missing? Have any etiquette tips to share for attending a party? Tweet us at @_HoneyGood!