Party etiquette, in our humble opinion, is one of the most important traits an individual should carry. Because, no one wants to be *that* person with ill-manners making an absolute fool of themselves at the party; we all know one and we see it all too often.
In an effort to correct these bad traits you may have (and to ensure you're never that guy), we've put together one tips to good party etiquette.
Invitations are no longer as formal as they used to be but whether your presence has been requested over email, phone, mail or social media, let the host know if you plan to attend or not! Not only is it essential in aiding party planning (food, drinks, etc) but quite simply, it’s the right thing to do, even if no RSVP has been requested.
Take the time to decode the dress code. Make sure you have dressed for the occasion. Black tie events call for tuxedos; cocktail functions require a suit; smart-casual affairs require tailored pants and a shirt. If you’re unsure of what to wear, ask. There is no shame in asking the host for direction on the appropriate attire for the occasion, if a dress code wasn't specified on the invitation.
Don't Bring your Own Guests
It's inappropriate to bring an uninvited guest along to an invitational party. If the invitation requested you and a plus one, don’t forget to RSVP for your guest as well. It may be OK to bring a friend or even a few friends along to an informal event but make sure you clear it with the host first.
For certain casual functions such as BBQs where guests are free to come and go, being on time is not mandatory. However, for more formal events like dinner parties, make sure you arrive within 15 minutes of the specified time. Having said that, don’t be too early either as this may be of an inconvenience to the host who’s making last minute preparations.
Greet your Host
Don’t go straight to the food, beverages or your clique upon arrival; go and say hello to your host and thank them for the hospitality!
Offer to Help
If you’re attending a dinner party, BBQ or Christmas lunch, offer to take the ice or drinks out. Even if your offer is refused, it will be appreciated. When the celebrations come to an end, offer to help clean up and at the very least, carry your own dishes into the kitchen.
This isn't as common anymore but it’s always nice to bring something for the host as a token of appreciation for being invited (for less formal events, that is). Bringing food or drinks to share at a casual event will suffice but for a more elaborate party, bring a bottle of wine, scotch or gourmet chocolates. Presentation is everything, don’t just leave it on the counter, make sure you personally hand it over to the host.
Don’t Overindulge on Food or Alcohol
Be mindful of scoffing down finger foods as if you haven’t eaten for months. Not only is this not a good look, but it also leaves less food for other guests. Even if alcohol is plentiful, avoid drinking too much. There’s nothing more uncomfortable and disrespectiful at a party than a drunk, obnoxious guest.
Keep Conversation Light
Avoid heavier subjects such as marriage, religion or serious politics. Keep it light and casual to prevent awkward confrontations. After all, the person in conversation is there for a good time just as much as you are.
Thank the Host
Most importantly, be sure to thank the host or hostess before you leave. Make an even better impression by following up with a thank you note.
This seems like a hefty list of do’s and don’ts but practicing good party etiquette is a sign of good manners and respect to your host, and that’s the kind of guest that will be invited to parties again and again. Be a gentleman.