There is a lot of info on how to be a great host but very few articles on how to be a good guest. Your host spends a great deal of time putting together the perfect party for you. The host wants you to have a good time and feel welcome but there are some tips for you to have good etiquette as a party guest as well. So what is exactly expected of you?


Even at the most casual parties Emily Post says there are just some things a polite guest must do.

For the love of all mankind please, please RSVP: This is especially important if this is stated on the invitation itself. To you this might be a minor oversight but to the host this can be quite aggravating to not know who is coming and who is not. As a fellow frequent party planner I know first hand that not having a headcount or unexpected guests at certain themed events can be nervewrecking!! You may not have enough favors/food/place settings etc. It can drive you nuts. Especially if you are party obsessed like me. It is the most easy and polite thing you can do. Text, call, tweet, email, pin me, facebook inbox, messenger…something…geez

Be On Time: This is quite self explanatory. If it says 1:30 that doesn’t mean your target time should be 3pm. I know there are those who like to show up late to make their “grand entrance” or like to be late to make sure others will already be there but throw all that at the window and be on time. I know I am guilty of showing up late to things these days with kids, hair, pregnancy. It’s rough but I do at least try. By all means though do not be that person that shows up early either. That is also a no no.

Be Helpful: If you see that the host is running around still trying to get things prepared politely offer to help him/her out. Believe me, your offer will be very much appreciated. Even if the host refuses it will still be noted.

Mingle: You don’t have to wait for the host to introduce you to the rest of the guests. If your host is running behind (which I most of the time am…don’t judge) take it upon yourself to introduce yourself to other guests at the party. Don’t be the Debbie Downer in the corner eating up all the appetizers with a blank stare on your face. Get up and work the room. Make some new friends. 

Don’t Come Empty Handed: This is not exactly one of those rules that I think pertains to all parties but it is good etiquette to ask the host if they need you to bring anything. Most of my party guests always bring wine (which is very much appreciated). You can NEVER have enough wine. Maybe you can’t afford to bring a gift but can make a side dish to go with the dinner menu or something. If it isn’t a birthday party I wouldn’t worry about the gift too much BUT if you do bring wine don’t take it back home with you at the end of the night if it wasn’t opened or used…that is just TACKY!! Have some class people.

Don’t Bring Extra Guests: Or children! If your host has specifically asked you not to bring children then please honor that requests. I have seen this alot at weddings. The invite will say no children and there will always be those couples who will bring the kids anyway. It’s so rude!! If you can’t find a sitter then politely decline the invite. This also goes for added guests. Do not bring extra guests with you without checking with the host/hostess first. You never know what is planned and sometimes this can add tension at a party.

Leave All Unresolved Issues At Home: Sometimes the host can have friends who do not get along with each other. As adults I believe we all should be able to be in a room and still show and treat each other with respect but this isn’t always the case. Do not expect your host to not invite any person you are in a disagreement with just because YOU have an issue. Suck it up, get some pride and schedule another day for name calling and weave pulling. By all means if you know you cannot control yourself (especially after a few glasses of wine) politely decline the invitation.


Say Thank you: Make it a point to say a polite thank you to the host or hostess for their hospitality. They have spent a great deal of time trying to make sure you are having a good time. Say thank you and drive safely.

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