From hostess gifts to gracious goodbyes, following these dos and don’ts will guarantee you’re the best guest at the party.
1. DO RSVP. Failing to RSVP is a major faux-pas, not to mention a huge hassle for your host when it comes to planning party food and drinks. Send your RSVP as soon as possible — no later than two weeks after receiving the invitation and one week before the party — even if you aren’t attending.
2. DON’T show up empty-handed. Looking for a surefire way to be a good guest? Bring something besides yourself to the party. You don’t have to splurge on the best gift ever, but a bottle of wine or flowers is a sweet and simple gesture to show your thanks. Need some ideas to get started? Check out our hostess gift guide.
3. DO dress to impress. Whether your host wants you to show up in costume or get gussied up in a sequined dress or suit and tie, follow the dress code — even if it means forgoing your favorite pair of jeans. When in doubt, dress it up rather than down if a dress code isn’t specified. Still not sure what to wear? Clear up any confusion beforehand by giving your host a quick call or sending a simple text.
4. DON’T assume you can bring a plus one.Unless you’ve cleared it with your host prior to the party (or the invitation gives you the go-ahead), stay on the safe side and show up solo. Your hosts have already prepped and planned the menu around the number of attendees, and arriving with an unexpected guest may put a strain on supplies. If you don’t want to be upfront about asking, try this: Politely decline the invitation by saying something like, “My cousin is in town for the weekend and I don’t want to impose. Have fun!” If your host has no problem with you bringing a plus one, he or she will likely respond by giving you the OK.
5. DO arrive fashionably late.Showing up right on time, or worse yet, early, is a no-no (unless you’ve been asked to bring party supplies or help set up). Last-minute party prep is almost inevitable— don’t add extra stress by arriving right on the dot. Instead, aim to get there 10 to 15 minutes after the official start time (unless it’s a huge blowout, in which case it’s okay to come later).
6. DON’T hang on your host. Sure, say hello to your host when you first arrive, but don’t stay attached to his or her hip the whole night. Instead, make an effort to mix and mingle with other guests — that takes the pressure off your host and gives you the chance to connect with someone new. Need some quick conversation starters? Check out our top 10 things to talk about with a guest you’ve never met.
7. DO ditch your phone.Live in the moment and remember why you’re there — to enjoy the company of your friends, not check Instagram on the couch. If you’re attending a casual open-house style party, it’s more acceptable to sneak a quick peek at your cell, but as a rule, keep your ringer off and your phone stowed away.
8. DON’T get sloshed. Keep it classy and drink in moderation. If you’re expecting your evening to involve shots of Jagermeister, recruit a DD prior to the party or ask your host to confiscate your keys and plan to call a ride-sharing service.
9. DO thank your host.Don’t ghost, thank your host. You don’t have to say sayonara to every guest in attendance, but do give your hosts a proper goodbye before you head home (they did feed and entertain you all evening, after all). It might seem old-school, but you should also send a follow-up digital thank-you card, text, email or phone call within a few days of the party.
10. DON’T overstay your welcome.There’s no hard and fast rule on when to head home, but unless it’s a dance-all-night kind of rager, plan to leave when the host starts dropping hints (think clearing dishes, putting drinks away, loudly announcing “Wow, is it 1 AM already?!”).
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