The invitation sets the tone for your party.  An informal invitation via email sets the stage for pizza and beer, however, a personal invitation to a birthday lunch at home, sets the stage for a more festive occasion.  Of course, a formal invitation sends the message of a formal affair.  It is always best to put the expected “attire” on the invitation.

Offer free standing platters of hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail portion of the dinner so that guests may mingle and you can take care of last minute disasters, such as an entree or a broken oven.  Don’t despair, good guests will understand and even laugh with you (tomorrow) and drive for pizza (tonight)! 

A good host never leaves her guests for longer than ten minutes intervals.  Hire neighborhood teens to assist you if you are unable to prepare in advance or need extra hands during the meal. 

Details such as flowers and candles always add a special touch to any event.  An hour before your guest arrive, be dressed and ready to do any last minute checks such as toilet paper in the powder room, clothes hangers for coats and spare umbrellas in the event it rains on your parade. 

Host Faux Pas

Saying “No Children Please” and then allowing some children and not others. 

Cleaning up and washing dishes while guests are still seated at dinner. 

Saying “Yes” when guests offer their help.  A good host washes dishes after her guests leave.
hostess etiquette
The Perfect Host

Submitted By: Diane Gottsman
"Nationally recognized etiquette expert".  protocolschooloftexas.com

The fundamental role of a good host is to make sure her guests are comfortable and enjoying themselves while also hosting a dinner or party that they will remember.  If you are not comfortable with entertaining, it is best to start small, rather than inviting one hundred of your nearest and dearest.  There are a few more tips on the Dinner Party page of this web site. 

Being prepared is the key ingredient to a successful affair. A small cocktail party or dinner party for two is a better way to transition into larger events in the future if you not a seasoned host.