Quick & Simple Etiquette Tips For Dinner Parties
Need To Impress Your Host At A Dinner Party? Follow These Tips And Be On Your Way!
Dear April Masini,
I've just started working at a new company which has a very formal work environment. I'm a bit nervous because one of our managers has invited the whole staff to a dinner party at her house. I don't know how to act or what to do and how to dress and I really don't want to make a fool of myself or commit any faux pas! Help me impress the hostess with the proper etiquette, April!"
Need To Be Etiquette-d Fast
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Need To Be Etiquette-d Fast,
When it comes to attending dinner parties, receptions and formal events, it is good to learn the proper etiquette, and it all starts with a response to the invitation.
Always respond to the invitation by letter or a phone call — as indicated by the invitation itself. Let your host know who will be coming to the event, and if you’re not sure of the attire required, ask at the time of response. If you want to bring a date and have not been invited to, this is also the time to ask — not the week before, or worse, the night before.
Dress according to the invitation. If you’re not sure, veer toward conservative dress rather than risky, provocative or sexy. A little black dress ALWAYS works for women and a suit or khakis and a button down shirt ALWAYS works for men. Black tie on an invitation means a tuxedo. Formal attire means a suit for men and a dress, makeup and heels for a woman. If you’re not sure, ask — ahead of time, not the day before or the day of.
Arrive on time. It is not polite to arrive an hour late to a sit down dinner party. It is fine to arrive within a half hour of the announced starting time to a large cocktail party or some other large gathering, but if a meal is being served, it is impolite to arrive late. If you have to arrive late, notify your host and/or hostess as soon as possible with your schedule.
Bring a hostess gift. Flowers are appropriate. A bottle of wine is appropriate. A box of bakery cookies is appropriate. Anything that is approximately $20 or more and is not risque or edgy in any way if you don’t know your host very well, is appropriate.
Say goodbye when you leave, and thank your host. Slipping out unnoticed rarely works unless there are more than 150 guests at the event.
Write a handwritten thank-you note within the week following the event. If the event is informal, like a barbecue, give your host or hostess a follow up phone call instead of a handwritten note, thanking them for their hospitality.