I think I may have mentioned it once or twice before but I love to entertain. Unfortunately, I don’t get to nearly as often as I would like. There is something so lovely about having friends and family over to your home to share a meal and a fun evening with. Equally, I love to receive an invitation to dinner and enjoy a dinner party as a guest ! But being a host or guest isn’t without its trials 🙂 Here I’ve put together a list of tips to help you be the perfect dinner party guest.
How to be the perfect dinner party guest before the dinner party …
Always accept or decline the invite promptly.
[If accepting] When doing so advise the host of any dietary requirements you might have. Remember an aversion to something is not a dietary requirement.
Ask [multiple] times if there is anything you can bring to the dinner party.
The host’s response of ‘no, no – just yourselves’ translates to – a bottle of drinkable wine each please.
Bring a thoughtful gift.
[The above] Wine can certainly be considered a gift. If its white, pre-chilled is a super thoughtful gift.
Flowers are only great if they are already in a vase. There is nothing more inconvenient than handing a host a bunch of freshly cut flowers when they are in the midst of entertaining and they have to stop everything to go in search of a vase.
After dinner chocolates are a crowd pleaser too… but think beyond After Eights, Roses, Celebration and Quality Street. Think something artisanal – and if you’re coming to mine that contains salted carmel !
Something from your local Farmers Market is always a great talking point… perhaps some nice cheeses or chutneys that could be added to the cheese course [if there is one].
*A note of host/ess gifts… it’s the host’s prerogative whether or not to open your gift and share during the dinner party. They may keep it to enjoy themselves when you’re all gone.
But only by a maximum of 15 minutes, 10 is ideal. We’re all familiar with that last minute dash to throw on some makeup, hide the cats vomit covered cushions and light the scented candles just before your guests arrive. This is what we all do at 8.05pm when the guests were supposed to arrive at 8pm. Give your guests that much-needed breathing space…. but be no later than 15minutes… because then, you’re just rude !
How to be the perfect dinner party guest during the dinner party
Although not all at once. Throughout the evening remember to compliment the host[s], the house, the food, the drink, the other guests and anything else that will endear you even more.
Throughout the evening remember to compliment the host[s], the house, the food, the drink, the other guests and anything else that will endear you even more.
Be witty and fascinating.
Don’t dominate the conversation and don’t only talk of or about yourself. But do come prepared with a selection of conversational topics that are both witty and fascinating. Engage people in conversation and never exclude someone from a conversation – even if they are dull. Never start a conversation about Politics, Religion, Habits of your Children or your latest medical procedure. Also aim, to ‘wittily’ help, whoever does begin a conversation like this, to sa speedy and amicable end!
But not too much. Don’t get obnoxiously drunk and rude – or [god forbid] both ! Be merry, but not embarrassing.
Leave your phone alone !
Don’t even take it out of your pocket/ bag. [ It’s only acceptable to do so, if you simply must Instagram the table setting or food because its insta-worthy – this is an ultimate compliment [ to the right host ] but put your phone straight back away again – immediately.
Wait to be seated at the dinner table.
The host has most likely given a great deal of consideration as to who will seat where. Or at the very least, where they will sit so as to easily serve everyone. Wait to be instructed where to seat or consult the placename cards.
Keep the [cooking] host company.
If the host is off in a separate kitchen join them with a glass of wine. Help if needed. If the kitchen looks like a bomb site, and the host a little frazzled, read the room and see if they need help or would prefer for you to leave [ do as appropriate] and then keep everyone away from their dirty little secret.
How to be the perfect dinner party guest, after the dinner party.
Help with the cleanup.
Bring things to the kitchen. Wipe counters and help fill the dishwasher.
Don’t outstay your welcome.
If the host appears tired, or yawns, turns off lights or starts standing nearer and nearer the door get the hint !
Say thank you…
Within 24 hours, or at most 48 hours send a quick thank you text or message to your host. If you want to win a couple of dinner party guest awards a hand written note or thank you card will probably get you into the hall of fame.
Do you have any tips to add ? What do you like to do before, during or after a dinner party invitation that makes you the perfect dinner party guest ? Let me know in the comments below.