Dinner party etiquette tips for a successful bash

Modern dinner parties have become less formal events. It’s no longer mandatory for guests to dress to the nines, since these occasions tend to be much more casual. However, it’s fun to bring back some of the conventional aspects of dinner parties. For example, printed invitations are a thoughtful step that sets the mood for the entire evening. Here are a few more ways to incorporate traditional etiquette into a modern party:

Guest list
It’s fine for casual parties to include friends of friends. But for an intimate gathering you should invite people you are acquainted with so you can apply any known dietary restrictions to the menu. If you are unsure if any of your guests have food allergies or preferences, you can pick up the phone and ask.

As previously mentioned, for a truly unique party, send out customized invitations. Print them on a postcard or save-the-date card for a fun way to invite guests to your celebration. There is no need for mailed RSVPs, just have everyone send you a confirmation email if they will be attending.

Recruit help
Don’t overexert yourself by trying to be the “hostess with the mostest.” It’s fine to call friends to ask for their assistance setting up for the party or picking up supplies along the way.

Take extra steps
If needed, rearrange the furniture to provide a more comfortable space. If you don’t have a dining area, set up a table in the living room. Be sure to do this before guests arrive so you aren’t scrambling to set up while everyone is waiting.

Set and maintain the mood
Creating an inviting atmosphere filled with libations and tasty drinks is just half of the hostess’s duty. You must also work to keep the conversation flowing so everyone is entertained. Start as soon as guests arrive by meeting them with a drink. Also, volunteer a topic of discussion if people haven’t begun conversing yet. Additionally, you don’t want to monopolize the conversation, so ask open-ended questions.

When you’re the guest
The cardinal rule of attending a party is not to arrive empty-handed. But you can go a step further and phone the host a few days ahead of time and ask if he or she needs any help. It’s likely you’ll get “no” for an answer, so offer examples of ways you can give your assistance, such as bringing the dessert.

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