I love a good party (who doesn’t?) and other than during the holiday season, summer seems like the best time to enjoy one. When you are the one hosting a party, there is always something to think about—something that you might be forgetting. When you are attending a party, however, how often do you think about what you could be forgetting?
I think it’s important to remember that when you are someone’s invited guest you have a responsibility to be considerate, gracious and well-mannered. Thus, I’ve come up with a short list of tips on how to be a good summer party guest.
1. RSVP. The hostess has the responsibility of preparing her house, kitchen, grocery list and finances for the influx of guests. Do a girl a favor and let her know ASAP whether or not she can expect you.
2. Ask to bring something. Make sure you offer to bring something along. It could be a side dish or accompaniment, dessert, a beverage, a bottle of wine for the hostess or a table linen or centerpiece. Don’t forget to check with the hostess first, however, as you may be duplicating efforts or contributing a dish that doesn’t compliment the main course.
3. Offer a small token of appreciation. It is not necessary to bring a gift to your hostess, but it is certainly a nice gesture. It could be something like a bottle of wine, flowers or a house plant or something as small as fresh herbs from your garden or a bar of fragrant hand soap.
4. Arrive on time. To a hostess, nothing is as awkward as awaiting her guests’ arrivals. Be courteous and show up on time.
5. Mind your manners. Do not bring along uninvited guests, do not bring pets, do not ask who else will be in attendance, drink responsibly, keep an eye on your children and avoid bringing up controversial topics during conversations.
6. Clean up and set up. Always offer to help clean up and at the very least clean up after yourself. If the hostess refuses help, don’t overly insist on doing so.
7. Be outgoing. Chat with other guests and introduce yourself to new people.
8. Eat. Hostesses put a lot of effort into planning and preparing party food. You would expect your guests to eat, so do the same when you are invited to someone else’s party.
9. Don’t overstay your welcome. If you notice the hostess cleaning up, putting away leftovers and becoming less conversational it might be a sign that the party is winding down and it is time to take leave.
10. Return the invitation. Remember to invite those who invited you when it is your turn to host a party.
Have a good time, but remember this, “After all, what is your host’s purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi.” – P.J. O’Rourke