Let’s face it — there are two kinds of people in this world: those who host parties and those who don’t.
If you’re a host, odds are you know what you’re doing. You’ve read the guides. You’ve pored over Pinterest. You’ve perfected your style through bashes aplenty.
But if you’re a serial attendee, there’s a good chance you’ve never put a passing thought into guest etiquette. What’s the big deal, right? You show up, mind your alcohol consumption, say thank you and leave. Simple, right?
Throwing a party is expensive and time-consuming. And, as some Twin Cities party people confirmed, being a good guest means more than avoiding getting smashed and not spilling red wine on the white sofa. With holiday fetes just around the corner, it’s time to get serious if you want those invites to keep rolling in.
Our guide on the best guest dos and don’ts will transform you from an ill-mannered invitee into a punctual, gift-carrying, coaster-toting gala hero — and will likely get your name on the guest list at many soirees to come.
The faux pas: Neglecting to RSVP.
Why it’s a problem: If hosts don’t know you’re coming, they can’t plan for seating, plates and glasses, food and drinks.
Expert says: Don’t assume the host knows you’ll be there and don’t make them track you down for an answer.
“With technology now, so many people do paperless posts,” said Amy Fuerstenberg of Mi Mi Design, a Minneapolis wedding planning company. “And it still astonishes me that folks don’t RSVP. It’s so easy! Click, click! Done.”
The faux pas: Arriving early.
Why it’s a problem: The minutes before a party is set to start often are the most hectic for the host, who is probably not quite ready to entertain you yet.
Expert says: “That’s the war zone,” Fuerstenberg said of the hour before a party starts. “Just don’t come early.”
The faux pas: Staying too late.
Why it’s a problem: The host is trying to wrap things up and start post-party cleanup. Hanging around after the fun is done is simply impolite.
Expert says: “It’s the classic ‘Just one more, man,’ ” said Jesse Held, the bar director at Jester Concept restaurants, who works many private events. “And I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m trying to clean up and get out of here.’ ”
The faux pas: Loitering in the kitchen — without offering a helping hand.
Why it’s a problem: If the host is trying to prepare drinks or finish last-second dishes, you’ll likely be in the way or, worse, keep other guests from getting their cocktails or food.
Expert says: “I love talking to people,” said Becky Harris of Event Lab in Minneapolis. “But the kitchen during a party is not always the place.”
The faux pas: Acting a little too much like you’re at home.
Why it’s a problem: A party is essentially a home invasion that comes with enough work as it is.
Expert says: Held has seen people move furniture and dig through bathroom amenities like makeup and hair products. But one of the most common blunders, Harris said, is neglecting to use a coaster for drinks.
“It’s rude to assume the host will just clean up after you,” she said. “Take your glass and wadded-up napkin to the kitchen.”
The faux pas: Mumbling gratitude on your way out the door.
Why it’s a problem: Saying “Thank you!” is great, but it’s important to make it meaningful.
Expert says: “You should always thank your host twice,” Fuerstenberg said. “You thank them that night and then you follow up the next day just to let them know you’re still thinking about it and that you really appreciate it.”
You can call, text or e-mail. You don’t have to send a card. But it would be nice. …
The faux pas: Asking uninvited friends along.
Why it’s a problem: Springing an extra attendee on a host might not seem like a big deal, but it can throw party preparation — drinks, food, seats, etc. — out of whack, for gatherings large or small. Besides, many hosts carefully select guests based on space and the chemistry of the group.
Expert says: “It can be a game-changer,” Fuerstenberg said. “And there might be a method to the madness of why the host didn’t invite them.”
The faux pas: Never returning the favor.
Why it’s a problem: Best tip for being a good guest? Be a host every once in a while.
Expert says: “It doesn’t have to be a dinner party if you’re not really a cook or a planner,” said Mpls.St.Paul magazine’s Stephanie March, who throws and attends plenty of parties. “It doesn’t have to be at your house, even. We could go have a cocktail or eat somewhere else. Just make the effort to say ‘Come join me,’ and take care of the bill. It’s the actual invitation that matters.”
Amelia Rayno • 612-673-4115