7 Ways to Be the Best Guest at a Party

By Tara Riceberg, Guest Contributor – Party Planning & Entertaining

It is often believed that the success of a party depends upon the host. This is not entirely true. A great event is a combination of an inspired host and a considerate guest. As Labor Day approaches and the NFL kicks off the fall party season, here are some simple rules to ensure that you’ll be a fantastic guest.

1. RSVP Quickly
There is nothing more aggravating to a hostess than to track down her invited guests so see whether or not they are attending. Remember, the hostess has to plan a menu, purchase food, and set the tables. She needs a head count. The only thing worse than not replying, is replying yes and then not attending. How rude!

2. Plus One Etiquette
Traditionally, you could only bring a plus one if your hostess addressed the invitation envelope to you and a guest. If there is no mention of a guest on the envelope, then it is inappropriate to ask to bring someone. If you discover you have a last minute visitor in town or perhaps are in a new relationship, it is better to ring up the host and with regret decline their invitation as you now have a plus one situation. This then allows her to invite your guest or say that you will be missed but invited to the next event.

With today’s technology, there are several websites that offer paperless invitations that allow you to click on how many guests you intend to bring. You absolutely must let your hostess know ahead of time who you are bringing so she can plan accordingly. Showing up with uninvited guests is the ultimate no-no!

3. Life of the Party
If you’re too tired, stressed or moody to be social, then you’ll never be the life of the party. Guests will feel your bad energy. So stay home! Better to call your hostess and excuse yourself from the evening (and risk being called a flake) than show up in a dull mood. The success of a party depends as much on you as on lots of yummy food and drink.

4. Arrive Promptly
A well-organized hostess has planned out the timing of her party. By arriving late, you will throw off her schedule and disturb the rhythm of the party.

5. Bring a Gift
Your host has carefully crafted a guest list, planned an evening, prepped her home, will entertain, host and feed you and then restore her home to a pre-party condition. She deserves a little more than a re-gift or a last-minute stop at the market for a bottle of wine or cut flowers, no? Your gift tells her how much you appreciate all her efforts to pull off a memorable event.

It is not the cost of the gift that matters but rather the thoughtfulness of it. Gifts that have purpose are among the best. Give a potted rosemary plant for her to snip fresh herbs when she cooks. Bring something for her kids, like an art kit. Treat her a new coffee table or NY Times best selling book.

Among the worst gifts are cut flowers, scented body lotions and gifts in bags with tissue. As if your hostess doesn’t have enough to do, you arrive with cut flowers so now she has to drop everything to prep and display them? No! As to personal body care items, unless you know for a fact that it is her favorite product, that lavender or vanilla scented lotion will never be used and enjoyed-not a great fate for a present. Just as you delight in beautifully plated meals, your hostess enjoys a beautifully wrapped gift. There is great joy in tearing paper and revealing the gift. Just ask any 8 years old. The item really isn’t important- it’s the process of opening it. Avoid simply dropping a present into a bag and topping it with tissue paper. It’s easy for you but not fun for her. The only times gift bags are acceptable are for bottles of booze.

6. Don’t Hog the Food
Why is there always a buffet pig at every party? This person always takes too much without considering that there are other people who haven’t had their turn to enjoy the buffet. Always take smaller portions so that there’s enough for all the guests to enjoy. You can always go back to the table to see if there’s enough for seconds.

7. Write a thank you note
Hosts work so hard to ensure you’re going to enjoy a wonderful evening. We all look for praise so support them by letting them know just how much you appreciated all their efforts in creating a memorable event. I prefer a hand written card but at the very least phone, email or text what a great time you had.

To become THE best guest and guarantee another invitation, simply remember the golden rule: Treat your host, as you would like to be treated.


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One Response to 7 Ways to Be the Best Guest at a Party

  1. Chloe says:

    This is a message that the world needs desperately to hear. Be a good guest!

    When planning my daughter’s I kept thinking, “There’s no Bridezilla, but there seem to be a lot of Guestzillas.”

    Your tips are excellent. I hope soon someone will come out with a new etiquette book that everyone will read. I can’t wait for a return to manners. It couldn’t happen soon enough.

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